Chevelle
Hats Off to the Bull


4.0
excellent

Review

by Pistol Pete USER (28 Reviews)
December 6th, 2011 | 23 replies | 4,494 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: In Chevelle we trust.

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

Let me start out with saying it’s going to be a tough sell this time around for Chevelle. If you’ve stuck with them since the beginning, it’s going to be a tough sell because although the hype train correctly described this album as “back to their roots”, it is still an album that lacks many of their signature breakdowns and truly timeless moments. If you’ve never given a rat’s ass for Chevelle and simply dabble in hard rock occasionally, it’s a tough sell because Chevelle simply has never been mainstream enough to be accessible, and Hats Off to the Bull is not going to be the album to change your opinion. This aside, their newest offering somehow feels fresh and demonstrates that Chevelle are alive and kicking. What is going to set this album apart is the fact that Chevelle now have proven they have no need for juicy riffs to write songs with impact.

One of the key differences in Hats Off to the Bull is how much the riffs have taken a back seat. While still meaty, they are more subtle than in recent albums and rarely what are the memorable aspects of each song. What has taken their place? Two words...Pete’s voice. The longtime front man now adds value to the band beyond just his guitar playing. Does this mean Pete’s voice has always been terrible? Absolutely not. Pete's voice has always suited their hard rock style; however, up until now he's had to rely on screaming to really make his presence felt. “The Meddler” is one of the strongest tracks on the album due to Pete Loeffler's ability to ferociously deliver the chorus. This album is the wackiest you will ever hear Pete sing, throughout most verses he constantly oscillates his voice from high to low. The way he adds that weird jumpiness to his voice when he chants “You are the same old trip” is such a laughably unnecessary addition to the line, yet it is the most memorable part of the song.

Chevelle has also been criticized for its bassist, brother-in-law Dean Bernardini. I believe it was Jom from this site who rightly pointed out that Dean simply follows Pete’s lead through older songs. This time, Chevelle let Dean breathe a bit. The almost Mastodon-like song “Ruse” sees Dean contribute much more to the verses than before.

The album as a whole feels much more layered as well. It was always difficult to believe that there were only 3 people in the band given the explosion of sound these guys are capable of. This album, while less intense as mentioned before, somehow further extends this claim. Many times there is quite a bit going on in each song simultaneously; quivering guitars, rhythms, bolder bass, and drums. It makes the album the first from Chevelle that forces itself to grow on listeners. Before, it was a simple “If you don’t like this riff/chorus, you won’t like the song”. Now, songs are listened to with different results each time, there are more sections of songs to pick from and that standout with each new listen. “Piñata” deviates from its strategy many times, quickly switching from rapidly paced guitars and drums into an almost slow and groovy Sublime-style tune.

But yes, there are aspects to Hats Off to the Bull that are unquestionably Chevelle. The intro riff to “Same Old Trip” is just as arrogant and in-your-face as past songs, not a bad thing. The undisputed highlight of the album is the climactic chorus of the title track that teases with a poppy and tamed intro, and then blasts you with a gorgeous riff that begs listeners to crank the volume, easily one of their best songs to date. This also raises a few drawbacks, you can tell Chevelle is just not being as creative anymore with their riffs. The song “Envy’s” climax almost 3 minutes in borrows almost too obviously from the chorus in “Mexican Sun” off Sci-Fi Crimes. Listen to both and tell me I’m wrong, I dare you. It in a way hindered what should have been a standout track and beautifully progressive song.

Hats Off to the Bull is a solid album by honestly the most consistent hard rock band there is. If you’re into them, Chevelle simply does not disappoint...ever. It’s gotten to the point where it’s a bit scary. What I will admit is this album is simply not up to par with their older albums. You are not going to get another “The Red” or “I Get It” here, and when the album trails off, that’s just what goes through a fan’s mind. It’s also less insane than fans will be used to; the highlights here feel almost weird alongside some older highlights. For instance, the acoustic track “Prima Donna”, the only noteworthy acoustic song they have ever made shines as a highlight. It makes me wonder whether this is it for my favorite band. Have they burnt out, is the mediocre “Clones” really the last new song we get? Whether this is Chevelle slowly showing signs of wear or finding a new personality and style is irrelevant when you consider one thing: Chevelle just came out with a new album, it’s still excellent, so go listen to it and be happy that the band is still as pleasant a listen as ever.

Recommended Songs:

Face to the Floor
Same Old Trip
The Meddler
Hats Off to the Bull



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user ratings (596)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Bwgrotha1s (4)
    The new tricks this old dog learned in 2009 haven't been forgotten.....

    fromtheinside (1.5)
    Chevelle making music. So cool...

    Tim Dodderidge (2.5)
    Chevelle is past their prime....

    whitecastle142 (3.5)
    Though the band's self-proclaimed return to their roots supplies some solid tracks, it see...

  • Thomas Harrison (3.5)
    Chevelle is back and ready to rock with another solid release, but don't expect anything m...

    StlPaulL (3.5)
    I hope this "radio rock" is exactly that, perhaps I'll have a reason to turn on my radio....

    Axel (2.5)
    Chevelle do nothing in 2011...

    Eli Kleman EMERITUS (3)
    "Hats Off to the Bull" succeeds in most respects, but is indicative of a band that is slow...

  • Alex Carlson (4)
    Chevelle's superb return to their roots abandons goofy lyrics and experimental composition...


Comments:Add a Comment 
PistolPete
December 6th 2011



3462 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Please ignore the fact that my reviewer name is "Loeffler Industries" haha they are my favorite but I made a point of trying to show as little bias as possible, hopefully it reads that way.

You had to think I was gonna write one for them eventually.

Digging: Jolly - The Audio Guide to Happiness (Part 1)

KjSwantko
December 6th 2011



8721 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pretty good review. The 2nd half seemed to read a lot smoother for me than the first half though. But I'll pos it

PistolPete
December 6th 2011



3462 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks! What was it about the first half that didn't run smooth, maybe it's an easy fix?

fromtheinside
December 6th 2011



16382 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I.... I'm sorry I don't like this review. maybe I'm the only one and I hope relinquished will pop in soon too to agree but this their most dynamic work to date. the album is beyond dense. I still don't know what to think truly but its better than their last three.

Digging: Lord Mantis - Death Mask

Ignimbrite
December 7th 2011



5228 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

SO HATS OFF TO THE BULL

toxin.
December 7th 2011



11807 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This band. Listening to the title track and it sounds exactly the same as their old stuff (granted I'm not too familiar with them).
Their music is really dense but I've never gone past the surface. I find the lack of hooks in their music a major turnoff. Probably a 2.5; the one album I heard that I originally liked also grew off me.

KjSwantko
December 7th 2011



8721 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not sure exactly, but here are a couple little things that seemed a little awkward, and few ideas for smoothing it out.

The man who has essentially been the frontman since forever now adds value beyond simply his guitar

The longtime front man now adds value to the band beyond just his guitar playing.

Absolutely not, Pete’s voice has always suited the heavier rock music he creates; it just has never quite had this magnitude of impact in songs unless he screams

Absolutely not. Pete's voice has always suited their hard rock style; however, up until now he's had to rely on screaming to really make his presence felt.

“The Meddler” is one of the strongest tracks on the album for the sole reason that Pete Loeffler’s delivery of the chorus is ferocious.

“The Meddler” is one of the strongest tracks on the album due to Pete Loeffler's ability to ferociously deliver the chorus.

This album is the wackiest you will ever hear Pete sing, throughout most verses he constantly oscillates his voice from high to low.

To this point in his career, this is the most creative and engaging vocals we've heard from Pete as he routinely oscillates his voice from high to low during the verses.


couple ideas

fromtheinside
December 7th 2011



16382 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

xtoxin the hooks on this album are abundant and the best of their career.

toxin.
December 7th 2011



11807 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@fromtheinside, listening at the moment.
Sounds like the same old, same old from the band.

They've always had this distinct sound of a certain guitar tone and the lead singer just kind of wailing over them. I don't really know how to describe them.

But the song that just came up (Ruse) seems pretty good so far. Chorus was actually pretty memorable.

I'll listen to this thing as a whole, since Chevelle's never been bad or even forgettable. Their sound just usually doesn't suit me.

fromtheinside
December 7th 2011



16382 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

ok so you were 2 songs in and chimed in? I implied the whole album btw

toxin.
December 7th 2011



11807 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

...Yeah? And? I didn't say I planned on judging the album based on those two (three actually) songs but just wanted to input my opinion that it sounds like the same old Chevelle stuff.

I see where you're coming from that this is more hook-y (maybe I'm just looking for it?) even though it still has that same kind of brooding environment my (possibly inaccurate) generalized viewpoint of their music has.


toxin.
December 7th 2011



11807 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

And this is pretty good actually, a low 3.5. Don't know how much it's gonna move up although I might have to eat my words about there not being that many hooks

PistolPete
December 7th 2011



3462 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fromtheinside i really could not get myself to slap anything more than a 4 on this, not when i consider how highly I think of their past four albums, i'm srry you don't agree, was it just the last paragraph you didnt agree with? =(

this album is fantastic regardless though, just in a very different and unexpected way.

PistolPete
December 7th 2011



3462 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

also Ignimbrite sums up the album I think as best as anyone could possibly sum it up

someguest
December 7th 2011



18878 Comments


this bull stepped in his feces

i love this stupid sport

defecation, he's peein

the stupid fuck gored me I'm bleeding

Digging: BABYMETAL - Babymetal

PistolPete
December 7th 2011



3462 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@KjSwantko: yeah man those were fine edits, i fixed them all except the last one which i kinda wanted to keep the same, 3/4 ain't bad though? Thank you!

KjSwantko
December 7th 2011



8721 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Np bro! I just wrote my first 2 reviews so go check em out when you have some time and give an opinion if you wouldn't mind

Scoot
December 7th 2011



17481 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Awful Votes: 1

1
1
1



Digging: Acme - To Reduce the Choir to One Soloist

KjSwantko
December 7th 2011



8721 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It was that fuck, someguest.

Although his poetry he posted was cute.

Andrewffcc
December 7th 2011



171 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

careful not to feed the troll



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