Chevelle
Stray Arrows - A Collection Of Favorites


2.5
average

Review

by Alex Carlson USER (53 Reviews)
December 7th, 2012 | 50 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: While the songs are still good today, Chevelle's "collection of favorites" pushes re-packaging to bitter heights.

Starting off, it can be safe to say that the songs on Illinois hard rockers Chevelle’s first compilation album, Strays Arrows, will be familiar. If you’ve been a listener of alternative rock radio stations or a follower of the hard rock festival circuit, Chevelle have become a mainstay. But while their immediate peers like Seether and Three Days Grace have taken grunge as their influence, Chevelle have followed the metal monikers like Tool and FireHouse as influences, relying on melodic vocals and thunderous hard rock instrumentation. Even more so is Chevelle’s recurring theme of consistency. After six studio albums, the band still refuses to step outside their comfort zone. Is that bad? Not necessarily, but this is stunningly clear on Stray Arrows. Chevelle’s “collection of favorites” compiles many of the band’s most successful singles into a surprisingly brief and ultimately underwhelming package.

Across the 15+ years of Chevelle’s activity, the band continues to pursue the gravity-packed heaviness heard in their influences like Helmet and Tool. The singles take that weight and mix it into something hooky and incredibly apropos for radio airplay. The band’s trademark track “The Red” is furiously instrumented, but guitarist/vocalist Pete Loeffler still adds an intimacy in his soothing singing to the screaming. You’ll hear more tracks from the later albums as well, including the softer Sci-fi Crimes (“Sleep Apnea”, “Jars”) and the band’s most recent outing Hats Off to the Bull. These are all respectable tracks and even if the music starts to blend together after a while (this is a band whose goals are rooted in consistency), Chevelle has made their formula work even after such a long time playing together.

Firmly note that the album is a “collection of favorites,” and a brief one at that, with only eleven singles to listen to. The tracks are “re-mastered”, but the difference from the original recordings is negligible. The album cannot with any circumstance be called a retrospective, as the band’s debut album, Point #1 is ignored entirely. To be fair, the starting album wasn’t as successful as the sophomore entry Wonder What’s Next (and not as true to the band’s lurching heaviness), but introducing listeners to the older tracks in Chevelle’s discography would’ve been a welcome addition. This is essentially a singles collection, so if you call yourself an avid fan of Chevelle, you already own the albums that the tracks are already on. Under those conditions, this can only be recommended to either the most diehard Chevelle fans or those first getting into the band’s music (which is already played on rock radio incredibly frequently).

Alongside the eleven radio-friendly tracks lies a lone new track, “Fizgig.” A crunchy grind of a track, “Fizgig” would fit in well among the Wonder What’s Next tracks. Behind echoing guitars and the spectral gasp of Pete Loeffler is a heavy song, but one without the texture or atmospheric tension heard on their most recent studio album, Hats Off to the Bull. “Fizgig” also lacks a catchy chorus or radio-friendly qualities in general, leaving it in the obscure “b-side” category. Is it a good track? Sure. Is it worth buying an entire new album for? Absolutely not. For Chevelle fans, “Fizgig” is, once again, a consistent track. There are no surprises with it, so it’s hard to justify a purchase of Stray Arrows when the only new material is so traditional and baseline for a band priding themselves on that sense of consistency.

Stray Arrows really has no proper place in Chevelle’s catalog. If you fell in love with the band’s radio singles and want to have most of them together on a single album, this is fine, but the lack of any significantly impressive new material or comprehensiveness makes the album feel vacant and unneeded to anyone else. Maybe someday we’ll get that expanded Chevelle compilation, one that doesn’t ignore the starting motions, perhaps adding some rarities in between. For now, though, we have a collection of singles that while decent, don’t do much at all to justify their purchase.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
CK
December 6th 2012


4930 Comments


Band is definitely one of the better ones you hear on modern alt stations

Digging: Death - Human

Emim
December 6th 2012


26646 Comments


u dum?

CK
December 6th 2012


4930 Comments


I no listen to radio much no more. And yeah the band is cool. They don't rule or anything

FearThyEvil
December 6th 2012


12629 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I love Chevelle but these pick of songs are the worst. Jars is one of their worst songs too. I loved Fizgig though.

Emim
December 6th 2012


26646 Comments


it's not a bad set of songs, i imagine most people will buy this just for fizgig.

which is a pretty great song

CK
December 6th 2012


4930 Comments


If you're doing a comp, you gotta do it right!!!

FearThyEvil
December 6th 2012


12629 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

It really annoys me that they just picked their singles.

Emim
December 6th 2012


26646 Comments


meh, i don't really care. not like i'm going to buy this for one new song

FearThyEvil
December 6th 2012


12629 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

That's why I don't see the point in this. W.e. I'll just wait for them to release a new album.

Cipieron
December 6th 2012


3508 Comments


no Letters From a Thief

no deal

ashcrash9
December 6th 2012


391 Comments


Now if they released a B-Sides collection I'd buy that, but this seems pointless.

Ecnalzen
December 6th 2012


6706 Comments


Letters from a Thief is awesome. Where it be?

tiesthatbind
December 6th 2012


7378 Comments


Family System

Digging: Poets of the Fall - Signs of Life

Apollo
December 6th 2012


10336 Comments


Surprised record labels agree to bands still releasing compilation albums...in this day and age I don't see how and an album like this would make either the band or label any money at all. As you said in the review (very good btw) if you like this band chances are you already have most or all of the albums.

Cipieron
December 6th 2012


3508 Comments


how do compilation albums not make money?

they aren't recording new music (save for maybe one or two new tracks), just making a new playlist for a burned cd with new artwork.

seems like something they make a lot of money on considering the costs

Apollo
December 6th 2012


10336 Comments


In this day and age with record sales at an all time low, I was wondering how making a product that very few would seem to buy could make the band or label money

Sapient.
December 6th 2012


1109 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

it depresses me that they never give any credit to their album Point #1... that's one of my favorites by them, severely underrated (even if it basically just sounds like a lo-fi Tool cover)

GringoSuave89
December 6th 2012


1042 Comments


"Surprised record labels agree to bands still releasing compilation albums...in this day and age I don't see how and an album like this would make either the band or label any money at all"

I'd reckon it's to complete their record contract.

Digging: Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 2

Ponton
Emeritus
December 7th 2012


5804 Comments


should have been acoustic versions, would have been sooooooo good

DrGonzo1937
December 7th 2012


5974 Comments


Can't see myself buying this, but I don't mind them.

Digging: Ilenkus - The Crossing



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