Review Summary: Chevelle shows they are ahead of the radio-rock pack with one of the 2000's best hard rock albums.
Like most people, a majority of the music that was shown to me as a kid was introduced to me through the radio. I grew up listening to the likes of Linkin Park and Korn and that was really the only kind of music that I really knew the existence of. Going into high school I quickly outgrew listening to mainstream rock and metal in favor of "softer" rock music, but one band that I didn't stop listening to was Chevelle. Everything that I seemed to hate about radio-rock I had some kind of exception for Chevelle. There was always something that I couldn't put my finger on, as I didn't want to compare Chevelle to other mainstream bands (much like I don't think of Nu-metal when I think of Deftones). So really what made this album so special to me? Five years after my purchase, I look back on "Wonder What's Next".
Listening to Chevelle, you probably couldn't tell they're a trio. They sound just as powerful as a four piece, or even a five piece band. The instrumental work is basic, but gets the job done. Pete Loefflers' riffs are extremely heavy but remain catchy. However, one of the biggest drawbacks of "Wonder What's Next" is that the songs consist of power chord riffs with almost no variety. When the bass is heard, it is simple but sometimes carries the verses ("Don't Fake This") or the entirety of a song ("An Evening With El Diablo"). The drum work is never fancy but impresses in a few spots ("Send The Pain Below") but mostly just plays rhythm. "Wonder What's Next" is Chevelle at their heaviest. "Family System" is one of the most aggressive songs Chevelle has ever recorded, but "One Lonely Visitor" catches them at their most delicate and fragile.
The biggest asset to the band is Pete Loefflers' style as a vocalist. Many compare him to Maynard James Keenan but I have never really seen this comparison. He often sings in a hushed whisper but he can surprise you with a scream at any moment. Sometimes he will remain calm even with the band exploding behind him. His scream isn't the greatest but he doesn't resort to it often enough to be a blemish on the album. However, Pete's scream at the end of "Grab Thy Hand" and "Closure" are incredible and really show his skill as a vocalist. As a lyricist Pete confuses though, as many of his lyrics are so cryptic it's near impossible to figure the meaning of a song. But this is barely a major complaint.
While not being the most innovative album, "Wonder What's Next" really benefits from it's catchy songwriting and the aggression the band shows. The album showcases the bands talent as ultimately was the reason for the bands success spawning the huge singles “The Red” and “Send The Pain Below”. "Wonder What's Next" stands as one of the better hard rock albums of the 2000's but suffers from not showing a lot of variety. If only the band had resorted to more than only straightforward riffs would the album have a little more replay value. However, it is merely a small complaint because "Wonder What's Next" is easily enjoyable from beginning to end.
Send The Pain Below
An Evening With El Diablo
One Lonely Visitor