Chevelle
Sci-Fi Crimes


3.5
great

Review

by Mark A. USER (55 Reviews)
April 18th, 2013 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: With the exception of a few stellar songs, it falls short of expectations and unfortunately feels like a missed opportunity for the band to realize their full potential.

Chevelle fill an interesting niche in popular alternative rock music; while they enjoy a moderate level of success, they have not allowed that level of success to force them to gravitate towards putting out the same recycled drivel that most of their peers do. Though that may be the case, that in itself does not mean that they are by any means experimental with their sound. They simply deviate a small amount from the constants of their formula to create slightly different-sounding albums. It’s simply what’s expected of them at this point in time, and there honestly is no reason for them to do anything differently. They have progressed steadily from album to album, with each being better than its predecessor. Vena Sera was an immense step forward from This Type of Thinking, adopting a slightly more aggressive tone in the songwriting and benefitting quite a bit from the presence of more apt bassist Dean Bernadini. Sci-Fi Crimes sees Chevelle making a similar leap, albeit in a different direction. Pete Loeffler, vocalist/guitarist of the trio mutes his screams and focuses on creating a much more vocally diverse, melodic record. This is Chevelle at their undeniably most mature with them even churning out a strong acoustic track (“Highland’s Apparition”), something that has eluded them for years. Loeffler masterfully uses his enigmatic vocals to match the equally confounding lyrical subject matter on Sci-Fi Crimes, this time focusing on subject matters such as UFOs and the paranormal.

“Sleep Apnea” starts the album off with thunderous double bass, something that hasn’t been very prevalent in past albums; other than that, this song unfortunately just doesn’t do anything new. It doesn’t go anywhere exciting or explore any new avenues of sound, and that honestly is the downfall of Sci-Fi Crimes in general. There aren’t too many fans of Chevelle expecting them to re-invent the wheel at this point, but the most frustrating aspect of that is the fact that they show so much promise on the stronger songs of this album. “Shameful Metaphors” starts off as an unassuming mid-paced track that morphs into one of the best in their discography when it hits the incredibly strong chorus. Loeffler does not trip over his generally cryptic use of words and ends up creating a very transparent, emotionally relatable song. “Fell Into Your Shoes” plays with an ethereal guitar line that explodes at the perfect moments into a muscular riff while Loeffler employs a falsetto that keeps it vocally interesting as well. One could certainly give credit where it is due in terms of what Chevelle have accomplished here; instead of gravitating towards writing the same song ten to twelve times and calling it a day, they went outside their comfort zone and created a few gems that will give listeners a more rewarding and varied album.

Alternative rock is a tricky thing; it is a genre tag that reeks of staleness and repetition. Trapt becomes Three Days Grace becomes Breaking Benjamin, and at the end of the day they all start to bleed into one another seamlessly. Chevelle have thus far successfully avoided being lumped in with bands of that caliber, but that is truly only half the battle. Their safe songwriting is slowly leading them down the path of anonymity, and fans that were expecting a huge leap forward will surely be disappointed with the final product. With the exception of a few stellar songs, it falls short of expectations and unfortunately feels like a missed opportunity for the band to realize their full potential.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
thelastsignal
April 18th 2013


1505 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So...many...reviews of this. I know, I know. But I am still working on my writing style, and I wanted to write about an album that I thought was good but still disappointed me. Constructive criticism if you guys see anything worded strangely.

Digging: Achilles - Hospice

Ecnalzen
April 18th 2013


6787 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Trapt becomes Three Days Grace becomes Breaking Benjamin, and at the end of the day they all start to bleed into one another seamlessly."

I enjoyed this line, lol. Very nice review. You sum up the band and their career up to this point very well. Sometimes I think they should just give up the acoustic songs all together. I don't think I have really liked any of them.

I love New Momentum and Letter From A Thief from this.

thelastsignal
April 18th 2013


1505 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, Ec. The frustrating thing about most of the acoustic songs sucking so bad is that I feel like Pete's vocals are complemented very well by an acoustic guitar. There is just always an awkward verse or chorus.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
April 18th 2013


20077 Comments


very nice review pal glad you're still writing...pos

Digging: Circa Survive - Descensus

Ecnalzen
April 18th 2013


6787 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, he has a pretty versatile voice. They just can't seem to figure out how to transfer from electric to acoustic.

I've always wanted them to go a bit heavier than they tend to stick with, at least with the vocals. He has a great scream, but I don't think he has ever really let loose on a song. He kind of does on Grab Thy Hand and Don't Fake This from their debut, but he mostly just does it on the tail end of his vocal lines or as a transitioning period from one section to another.

thelastsignal
April 18th 2013


1505 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Atari, thanks dude! Trying to find time with a more stressful schedule, it's just hard to balance right now. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it.

@Ec, and that scream at the beginning of "Well Enough Alone"? So raw and powerful, he definitely has a strong scream that is underutilized.

Sapient.
April 18th 2013


1109 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice review, this album was the first I bought by them, and while I enjoy it from time to time, it doesn't even come close to touching WWN by them

Ecnalzen
April 18th 2013


6787 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I have always liked Chevelle, but they have never really wowed me with an entire album. They tend to have some really great songs that are always put with some not so great songs. WWN and Vena Sera are their best imo. I at least like every song on both of them except for the crappy acoustic track at the end of WWN.

thelastsignal
April 18th 2013


1505 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@sapient Thanks, man!

I like Vena Sera quite a bit, but I don't see what everyone else sees in WWN. There are some quality tracks, but I think that they've grown leaps and bounds since then.

What do you guys think of Hats Off To The Bull?

Sapient.
April 18th 2013


1109 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I really liked HOTTB, it felt like a return to their heavier roots while also retaining the polish of the more recent releases. The track Envy from it is one of my favorite Chevelle songs

Ecnalzen
April 18th 2013


6787 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I wasn't that fond of it. It really seemed like they were just going through the motions on that album. I tried for a couple of weeks when I first got it and just didn't find it all that appealing except for the title track and Face To The Floor though. I have been meaning to give it another shot as of late, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

I also really like This Type Of Thinking... but it has a couple of stinkers on it like this one does. But the highlights of Thinking are pretty great which makes me like it more than Sci Fi.

nononsense
April 18th 2013


3429 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Vena Sera was an immense step forward from This Type of Thinking

I don't agree with this particular statement, but all their albums are rad.

BillTheButcher
April 18th 2013


289 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

love chevelle but you nailed it with this review. Some great songs but doesn't meet what they were aiming for.

fell into your shoes, this circus, letter from a thief, and shameful metaphors rock.

Hats off is awesome

Sapient.
April 18th 2013


1109 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

agreed with This Type... the first of that album had me believing it was going to be their best, but after the middle of the record, it keeps losing momentum (also, I usually disagree with the statement with these guys sounding like a Tool rip-off, but the song To Return from that album definitely takes a lot from them)

thelastsignal
April 18th 2013


1505 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I absolutely love Envy, hands down my favorite Chevelle song. I like HOTTB a lot as well, quite a few of the songs have a really anthemic feel to them.

thelastsignal
April 18th 2013


1505 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, Bill, appreciate it! I think that Vena Sera was much more consistent than This Type of Thinking, although the highlights of This Type were better than the best off of Vena Sera.

Ecnalzen
April 18th 2013


6787 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Are we playing favorite Chevelle songs? Alright, then.

An Evening With El Diablo
I Get It
A New Momentum
Another Know It All
Emotional Drought

I also really like Letter To A Thief, Saferwaters (that chorus...) and Family System (that fucking monstrous intro). An Evening With El Diablo and I Get It are my absolute favorites though.

thelastsignal
April 18th 2013


1505 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like all of those except A New Momentum; Family System is a really amazing song (that monstrous riff holy shit), and Saferwaters is a near-perfect song by them.

loneNLwolf
April 18th 2013


141 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really nice review, even though I don't entirely agree with it. I think this is Chevelle's best album. "Roswell's Spell" and "This Circus" kick ass. Can't stand "Shameful Metaphors", although the intro is pretty cool.

thelastsignal
April 18th 2013


1505 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, wolf. This is one of their more consistent releases, and one of my favorites, but I guess I was just disappointed with the overall album. I thought that it would be a stronger album.



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