Chevelle
Hats Off to the Bull


3.0
good

Review

by Eli EMERITUS
December 3rd, 2011 | 490 replies | 66,862 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Hats Off to the Bull" succeeds in most respects, but is indicative of a band that is slowly losing faith in themselves, and the music they create.

Fifteen years into their career and Chevelle are still one of the few hard rock/alternative metal acts still worth a damn. While many bemoan the stagnation of the genre of music that for all intents and purposes peaked somewhere around the 90’s, Chevelle just keep on trucking with their patented brand of bass heavy, radio friendly rock. And it’s difficult to argue that this has not worked in their favor, as for over a decade fans and critics alike have aggrandized the band’s obscene consistency and ingenuity with each record and single released. Their consistency, however, is met only by their unabashed unwillingness to evolve and progress, as the Chevelle that released the bombshell hit, “Send the Pain Below” are the same damn band today. Hats Off to the Bull, despite being an all-around solid hard rock release, is the first egregious display of Chevelle losing touch with what made them so great, and a sure sign of the band’s stunning refusal to move on.

Hats Off to the Bull, like all Chevelle records, is truly a solid album if there ever was one. It opens up with the heavy hitter, “Face to the Floor,” and largely keeps the energy flowing from there. At that moment, when the bold Tool-esque bass riff enters, the listener knows just what they are in for. The entirety of Hats Off to the Bull is indicative of classic Chevelle: dense, melodic, and surprisingly welcoming. As always, the band does a pretty decent job at playing up their strengths, with gimmicky-albeit popular-acoustic segments and power ballads steering clear and well-constructed rock pieces being plentiful. Verse-chorus stuff makes up the bulk of the record, but the band is charming enough to pull it off beautifully. The pairing of Pete Loeffler’s wonderful vocals and the rest of the band’s adequate instrumentation, per the usual, is very enjoyable, and is still excellent to hear all these years later.

Hats Off to the Bull is executed fairly well, but the presentation is rather lackluster in regards to the band’s discography. Whereas every Chevelle record up to this point has had some sort of killer track, the album in question lacks any sort of defining song. Remember “Vitamin R,” or perhaps “The Red"? Said songs damn near defined their respective albums, and were superb tunes in their own right. Yet with Chevelle’s latest, there really is not a clear standout. Sure, the mysterious and elusive “Envy” is pretty great, and “The Meddler” is a catchy bit of heaviness that is also excellent, but that lovely little bit of character each Chevelle record up to this point has featured is missing here, and that is in the form of a few sure-fire hits that make the album worth investing some time into. The entire track list suffers from a bit of blandness as well. Each song is “good” to an extent, but it really feels like the band just went through the motions. A few nifty riffs here, and some impassioned vocal sections there, and bam, a song is born. The “in-your-face” moments Chevelle has sort of become known for really don’t rear their heads, and because of this, much of Hats Off to the Bull is regrettably forgettable.

Chevelle’s sixth proper full-length is a well-produced and overall very enjoyable rock album. However, the band is starting to show age in their formula, making Hats Off to the Bull feel like it's been down a very, very well-traveled path. What’s here makes for a fine experience, but for listeners who have been waiting for years for Chevelle to take some kind risk are certainly going to be left wanting.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenophanes
Emeritus
December 3rd 2011



10585 Comments


Sorry, I enjoy this, but I can't jump on the hype train that is Sci Fi Crimes pt 2.

Digging: United Nations - The Next Four Years

Relinquished
December 3rd 2011



24398 Comments


pos'd for similar feelings towards the album. but I wouldn't really call this just "hard rock". led zeppelin was hard rock.

theacademy
December 3rd 2011



28232 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i feel like you're trying to think up a good reason for why you didn't love it when "i didn't love it" would have been more than good enough... i don't believe anybody could actually believe what you convey in your first paragraph. the rest of the review is great. pos.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
December 3rd 2011



10585 Comments


Thanks for the criticism acad. I understand where you're coming from, but honestly I did mean what i wrote, although it may come off as a bit contrived I suppose : /

Xenophanes
Emeritus
December 3rd 2011



10585 Comments


"but I wouldn't really call this just "hard rock". led zeppelin was hard rock"

Yeah I meant to edit in alternative metal somewhere to be more specific. Fixed!


Well shit, I'm an idiot. Yeah I've since found my mistake. Will fix post-haste, thank you Jom!


pizzamachine
December 3rd 2011



12571 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review, and I totally agree!

iambandersnatch
December 3rd 2011



1464 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"Remember “Vitamin R,” or perhaps “The Clincher”? Said songs damn near defined their respective albums"

Not trying to hate, but those are on the same album ("respective" implies that they are on diff albums) :P
Maybe change "The Clincher" to "Seeing Red" or "Send The Pain Below" so that this sentence makes more sense.

Relinquished
December 3rd 2011



24398 Comments


it's The Red, not Seeing Red

Xenophanes
Emeritus
December 3rd 2011



10585 Comments


"Remember “Vitamin R,” or perhaps “The Clincher”? Said songs damn near defined their respective albums"

Not trying to hate, but those are on the same album ("respective" implies that they are on diff albums) :P
Maybe change "The Clincher" to "Seeing Red" or "Send The Pain Below" so that this sentence makes more sense.


Good point, but I believe it's The Red? Thanks!



Xenophanes
Emeritus
December 3rd 2011



10585 Comments


Lol I read through this review more than usual and here I fucked it up worse than any other review I've written. Oh well, c'est la vie

Eons
December 3rd 2011



444 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

With all due respect, you're expecting too much from an average mainstream rock band, Xeno.

Digging: C.A. Quintet - Trip Thru Hell

1SecondToDie
December 3rd 2011



35 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Need add prog. metal to their alt. sound and we`ll get the best thing in genre.

iambandersnatch
December 3rd 2011



1464 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yeah it's the red, sorry. lol @ me messing up while correcting

aok
December 3rd 2011



4279 Comments


review's got flow man. you always have flow lol

LG
December 3rd 2011



3049 Comments


i like this

greg84
Staff Reviewer
December 3rd 2011



7306 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

I totally agree with this review. Their worst album since their debut.

Digging: Dog Fashion Disco - Sweet Nothings

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
December 3rd 2011



8317 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review Xeno. I haven't heard this yet, but I expected this to be just another Chevelle record anyway,. Luckily, I am a-okay with that so I'm sure I'll like it based on the songs they've already released.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
December 3rd 2011



8317 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh and after giving this its first spin, about this album not having a standout cut that defines it, I do think that Clones could theoretically be that cut. Absolutely loved that closer.

1SecondToDie
December 3rd 2011



35 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Their worst album is the previous one. Maybe that`s not Chevelle`s best work, but as was said in this review there are some excellent songs like Envy and The Meddler. This band makes a solid music.

bloc
December 3rd 2011



34667 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Good album

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn



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