Chevelle
La Gargola


2.0
poor

Review

by Mike Denison USER (24 Reviews)
April 9th, 2014 | 49 replies


Release Date: 04/01/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This type of thinking (did them in).

Chevelle's name is inseparable from the alt-metal genre -- they're always the exception, the band that defied the stereotypes of a whole genre. Did they bring innovative and new material? Not really. But during their heyday, the then-band of brothers relied heavily on Pete Loeffler's remarkable (for the genre) vocals to create soaring choruses with just a hint of atmosphere. It wasn't strictly speaking innovative, but it was consistently well-executed.

But as time went on and "The Clincher" and "Send the Pain Below" left the radio waves, Chevelle seemed to start losing its touch. Every few years, they'd write another album, and every time, Pete's voice soared less, the choruses were less catchy, the detractors who cried "stagnation" gained ground on supporters who shouted "consistency." Hats Off to the Bull seemed to be the band's rock bottom -- but there were flashes of brilliance where the band seemed to recapture its glory. In short, there was hope.

And La Gargola managed to crush that hope in one fell swoop, re-damning this band to mediocrity.

Much has been made of the more aggressive approach that predominates Chevelle's latest effort, and there's no denying it -- the band hasn't sounded this blunt and punchy in years. "Ouija Board"'s feverish intensity make the cries of "We're growing a fire" all the more appropriate.

But underneath the crunchy guitars and Pete's snarl, La Gargola is seriously lacking in substance. Don't expect to find it in the lyrics -- Pete's writing has been getting more self-servingly nonsensical for a decade now, and this is no exception. Chevelle made a name for themselves by fusing atmosphere and aggression, by putting a little bit of intelligence into their straightforward power chord-fests. You might not have understood what Pete was talking about, but you knew how he felt, and you knew his bandmates, while clearly playing second fiddle, at least agreed with him.

Now, Chevelle's writing songs like the horribly stilted "Take Out the Gunman," which seems permanently stuck in second gear thanks to its plodding chorus. Then there's the sly, cocky "Jawbreaker," lacking in any sort of musical direction and further derailed by lyrical gems like "You bother them, you bother me, are you part of them or part of me?" and the "chorus" of "Jawbreaker, jawbreaker, jawbreaker, you're like a jawbreaker."

Traditional song structures aren't followed rigidly throughout, but this actually works against the band. With memorable melodies few and far between, songs pass by in a shapeless mush. When the band dials it back, the results are still a mixed bag; the restrained, reverb-heavy "One Ocean" and breathy "Twinge" conjure up some atmosphere, but both constantly feel on the verge of an eruption that never comes.

While no song compares to the highlights of the band's discography, there are a few modest successes. "Choking Game" could pass for a Vena Sera b-side with its driving chorus that at least comes close to the soaring Chevelle choruses of old. "Under the Knife" is furious, a concerted effort that doesn't sound like it's trying to sound aggressive, but actually is aggressive. But it's the exception that proves the rule. The rest of the album sounds like Chevelle is going through the motions, blindly stumbling toward something they've been told will work, desperately trying to capture their former glory. Everything is loud and aggressive for the sake of being loud and aggressive. There's no gripping melodies, no bombastic climaxes, no soul. There's nothing to convince me that Chevelle is worthy of being an exception anymore.



Recent reviews by this author
The Classic Crime What Was Done, Vol. 1: A Decade RevisitedFrom Indian Lakes Absent Sounds
Yellowcard Lift a SailManchester Orchestra Hope
Fallujah The Flesh PrevailsAdebisi Shank This is the Third Album
user ratings (617)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
ProjectFreak
April 8th 2014


1438 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Album's more of a 2.3. Will edit this later

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
April 8th 2014


11346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

SO harsh and reads much lower. Btw something about that first sentence just
doesn't read right to me... But decent review.

Just curious, you ever listen to The Autumn Effect by 10 Years?

SnakeDelilah
April 8th 2014


8653 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

goodbye 4.0 average D:

Digging: Casualties of Cool - Casualties of Cool

KjSwantko
April 8th 2014


9446 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I find this record is significantly better than a 2.5; I'll probably decide on a 3.5. But that said, I can't argue with any of your points, and this is well written. Pos'd.

Salvidian
April 8th 2014


752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The last paragraph needs to be separated. You started it by giving the album some credit and finished it with a review conclusion. The middle of that paragraph also has a really weird transition. You sorta-kinda said it was good (as implied by the first sentence of the paragraph), but then you said it was an example of a large fault. Which is it?

Anyway, the review is solid logically and structurally even though I disagree with a lot of points. I originally had it at a 4.5 and it's currently at a 4, so who knows. Maybe I'll end up at a 2.5 one day. The lasting appeal does kind of suck.

If you want to know, I did end up giving the review a neg because the last paragraph was just... blech. That and the disagreement thing, yeah.

fromtheinside
April 8th 2014


19029 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

this reads like a guy who listens to chevelle through EA sports games.

"but the melodies in songs like "An Island" are so forgettable that it doesn't do the band any favors."


so wrong, what

"You bother them, you bother me, are you part of them or part of me?"


this is inaccurate

i'm mostly confused by what you wanted from this release. you say -

There's nothing to convince me that this is a Chevelle album and not just another faceless one-hit wonder alt-metal act.


it comes across as if you want to have this crucially unpopular opinion because fuck it man opinions. saying things like pete's voice soared less over the years doesn't help because, well, it's false since his voice has steadily grown higher in register as he's focused more on actual singing and less on mood and aggression. i just read this and think, do you even know what you're talking about?

Digging: Ibex Throne - Ibex Throne

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
April 8th 2014


11346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yea I'm kinda confused by what you mean in the first paragraph. You say that they brought nothing new,
but then you say that they have qualities that most bands can't touch.

"In a sense this is true; the riffs are easily digested because they're so mind-numbingly repetitive.
Traditional song structures aren't followed rigidly, but the melodies in songs like "An Island" are so
forgettable that it doesn't do the band any favors."

I have an issue with this. So just because the riffs are repetitive that makes the riffs easily
digestible? And as for the second sentence I fail to see how one has to do with the other. Not a
terrible review, but you need to articulate your points a little better.

iswimfast
April 8th 2014


1340 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

well written for the most part but you make some assumptions that are pretty baseless. like these:

"One could argue, perhaps, that this is a more accessible, catchier Chevelle."

"recalling the fact that Chevelle hasn't written anything approaching a "fast" song in a while."

"the riffs are easily digested because they're so mind-numbingly repetitive."




fromtheinside
April 8th 2014


19029 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

"recalling the fact that Chevelle hasn't written anything approaching a "fast" song in a while."

because on just the last album there was pinata

Salvidian
April 8th 2014


752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm glad you guys acknowledged the points I left out. Thank you.

iswimfast
April 8th 2014


1340 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

the exact song i had in mind.

PistolPete
April 8th 2014


3642 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You know what, it's healthy for this record to finally have a review that counters the praise a bit and offer a fresh opinion. But, like fti, I'm confused about what exactly you expected this to be. Chevelle has always thrived off of repetitive riffs, it's kinda their style. Even on WWN and TToT you saw a lot of that.

Digging: Skyharbor - Guiding Lights

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
April 8th 2014


11346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yea this needed a more critical review, definitely. This just needs a little work.

SomeGuyDude
April 8th 2014


89 Comments


I'll bet most of the negs here are people whiny about it being a bad review. I agree on all points.

TheSupernatural
April 8th 2014


1268 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Pos'd even though I disagree with pretty much everything you said

iswimfast
April 8th 2014


1340 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

"I'll bet most of the negs here are people whiny about it being a bad review."

uh

Salvidian
April 8th 2014


752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"I'll bet most of the negs here are people whiny about it being a bad review."

Well a few of us explained why we disliked the structure of it. But yeah, you're always going to have those people who neg a review ultimately because of a rating. But then again, if they believe the rating is wrong then what's wrong with neg'ing?

(Bad terminology, sorry)

ProjectFreak
April 9th 2014


1438 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

wow i angered everyone. ok ok i'll actually edit reviews instead of rushing them out the door...

"Just curious, you ever listen to The Autumn Effect by 10 Years?"
Nope. Only heard Feeding the Wolves...sounds like something I might dig though.

Salvidian...negs are supposed to be a way of saying the review is poorly written, not that it's contrary to your opinion. Also, the deal with my last paragraph was Under the Knife was an exception to the rule...but that was a legitimate point, so I'm not mad. Thanks for the tip.

fromtheinside. Hoo boy.
"so wrong, what" -- see there's this thing about opinions
"this is inaccurate" -- that's what I'm seeing and hearing so...
"it comes across as if you want to have this crucially unpopular opinion because fuck it man opinions. saying things like pete's voice soared less over the years doesn't help because, well, it's false since his voice has steadily grown higher in register as he's focused more on actual singing and less on mood and aggression. i just read this and think, do you even know what you're talking about?"

So yeah um. I didn't enjoy this album. I wanted to discuss it. Pete's voice may have gotten technically better but that doesn't mean the choruses soar any more. He's not putting the same amount of passion into his voice that I'm used to hearing.

"because on just the last album there was pinata"
Pinata has a pretty slow chorus, tbh...

" So just because the riffs are repetitive that makes the riffs easily digestible? And as for the second sentence I fail to see how one has to do with the other. Not a
terrible review, but you need to articulate your points a little better."

I will address this in edits. Thanks.

"Chevelle has always thrived off of repetitive riffs, it's kinda their style. Even on WWN and TToT you saw a lot of that."

At least they were interesting in their repetition.

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
April 9th 2014


11346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No problem man. Definitely try The Autumn Effect though it blows Feeding The Wolves away in every single aspect. One of the best and most passionate alt metal albums I've heard so I hope you enjoy it.

TheSupernatural
April 9th 2014


1268 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I've always preferred Division to The Autumn Effect. And I really enjoy Feeding The Wolves too. All three of them are great alt rock



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy