Chevelle
Hats Off to the Bull


3.0
good

Review

by Elijah K. STAFF
December 3rd, 2011 | 471 replies


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 
Relinquished
December 3rd 2011


29408 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
Staff Reviewer
December 3rd 2011


29145 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.

pizzamachine
December 3rd 2011


12633 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review, and I totally agree!

iambandersnatch
December 3rd 2011


1519 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


29408 Comments


it's The Red, not Seeing Red

Eons
December 3rd 2011


486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

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

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


1519 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

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

aok
December 3rd 2011


4492 Comments


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

LG
December 3rd 2011


3050 Comments


i like this

greg84
Staff Reviewer
December 3rd 2011


7519 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

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

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
December 3rd 2011


8504 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


8504 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


35675 Comments


Good album

Emim
December 3rd 2011


26717 Comments


This is the best review written of it so far. I can definitely see where you're going with it, but I would probably hold off on feeling that way until they release another samey album.

AlexTM510
December 3rd 2011


1422 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

"Fifteen years into their career and Chevelle are still one of the few hard rock/alternative metal acts still worth a damn"



This 10x



finally listening to this, initial listen suggests this is better than sci-fi crimes for sure. Envy is reallyyy awesome

Digging: Dumbsaint - Panorama, In Ten Pieces

UnnamedOcean
December 3rd 2011


3982 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I think the standout tracks are what really make Chevelle good. Vitamin R and The Clincher, Send the Pain Below and Closure, Sleep Apnea and Letter From a Thief, Brainiac and Straight Jacket Fasion... I can't name 2 songs on here that are on the same level.

tiesthatbind
December 3rd 2011


7382 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"It's largely alright"



123

hawtspices
December 3rd 2011


1 Comments


The meddler is such an awesome song my favorite on the album!



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