Chevelle
La Gargola


4.1
excellent

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
April 13th, 2014 | 241 replies | 29,895 views


Release Date: 04/01/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Chevelle tweak their sound, and come up with their most engrossing album in years.

In an age over-burdened by data from a multitude of sources, it's quite an achievement when a band whips up even an ounce of excitement in the second decade of its existence. Chevelle are this very band as their new release debuted in the top 3 of Billboard charts, marking their highest grossing first week thus far. Along with Deftones, the Chicago outfit have always been ahead of the game when it comes to ambitious alternative metal with massive cross-over appeal. Their 2004 album This Type Of Thinking (Could Do Us In) remains a staple release for the genre due to its superbly maneuvered juxtaposition of heaviness and melody. Even though La Gárgola rarely reaches the dizzy heights of that album, it still ranks as one of the group's most commanding endeavors to date. What makes this statement rather surprising is that the record comes hot on the heels of the uncommonly tepid Hats Off to the Bull that began the trio's cooperation with Joe Barresi. The new album is definitely a way more engrossing showcase of the outfit and the coveted producer's collective talents, paradoxically not catering to the mainstream tastes so much.

Deriving its title from a grotesquely carved figure, La Gárgola is by far the trio's darkest release, and the darkness suits them. Chevelle set paranoia and unease surging, which swamps the music in a tense atmosphere similar to the output of their primary influence, Tool. The esoteric lyrics only enhance the ominous quality of the record, evoking plenty of creepy imagery and genuine unrest. The trio blend these qualities with sinewy guitar riffs and sturdy rhythms. The decision to tone down the melodies in favor of a heavier, more riff-driven approach may appear risky from a commercial standpoint, but it's also cleverly calculated to create a cohesive concept without having one song outperform the rest. The heavy rock tracks, which permeate through the record, are shrewdly composed and punchy enough to achieve a visceral impact on the listener.

Opener 'Ouija Board' resorts to frenetic, ultra-fast riffs to bracing effect, while 'An Island' grooves deeply with guitar work that's at once totally fuzzed-out and smooth. Meanwhile, 'Take Out the Gunman' houses tribal rhythms and psychedelic leads wondrously interspersed with a ferocious chorus. On the other hand, the massive stomp of 'Jawbreaker' sees the trio embracing industrial metal influences for the first time. 'Hunter Eats Hunter' is both hook-laden and complex, featuring This Type Of Thinking-echoing chorus that fluidly coalesces into an elaborate bridge. When the trio strip their sound back to make the album more diverse, they are hardly as impressive. 'One Ocean' is a pretentious pro-environment anthem that fails to pick up despite a finely honed chorus, yet 'Twinge' is thankfully far more intriguing, utilizing ambient soundscapes to close the disc on a truly unsettling note.

It has always been clear that Chevelle is primarily Pete Loeffler's outfit, and expectedly his contribution to La Gárgola's triumph is paramount as his voice range, lyrics and guitar tones continue to set the band apart from their peers. Pete's versatile vocals shine through the entire record, swiftly oscillating between serene crooning, soaring harmonies and feral screams. There's no shortage of unbridled aggression and anger here as the furious onslaught of 'Under The Knife' attests. But the allure of the seventh Chevelle album mainly lies in the trio's penchant for expanding their sonic palette through various tweaks to their established sound. Pete's ingenious guitar layering is clearly the key component that pushes the other two members to experiment with their instruments as well. To redefine their sound fully, though, Chevelle need to take a risk of incorporating more adventurous song structures into their music. For now, this is a step in the right direction.




Recent reviews by this author
Kimbra The Golden EchoDog Fashion Disco Sweet Nothings
So Slow DharaviMastodon Once More 'Round the Sun
Fire! Orchestra Enter!Ought More Than Any Other Day
user ratings (575)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
greg84
Staff Reviewer
April 13th 2014



7365 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

Hurray. I've finally reviewed this.

Digging: 68 - In Humor and Sadness

Cygnatti
April 13th 2014



21350 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

i'll probably finally listen to this later today

Tyrael
April 13th 2014



20829 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

eh

Salvidian
April 13th 2014



752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think this review was more or less a culmination of the others, which was nice. Can agree.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
April 13th 2014



7365 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

I haven't read the other reviews on purpose, but I can imagine there's nothing new here.

EvoHavok
April 13th 2014



1353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

THE definite review! Excellent job!

Salvidian
April 13th 2014



752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Aside from Mike Denison's, this is pretty much another way of wording the others. It's probably more "overall" though. So it
was good, as one would expect.
Edit: darn editing system!

Toondude10
April 13th 2014



3814 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

And Nick is knocked out. Great review!

Digging: Olafur Arnalds - ...And They Have Escaped The Weight Of Darkness

Toondude10
April 13th 2014



3814 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

And a great album

Gwyn.
April 13th 2014



15018 Comments


"i'll probably finally listen to this later today"

It's basically a masterpiece when compared to shitty "alt. metal" stuff that comes out these days but still don't look like ur typa thing

Digging: diSEMBOWELMENT - Transcendence into the Peripheral

RangerTaffles
April 13th 2014



256 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

One Ocean is amazing. I don't get the hate for it.

But great review Greg.

Toondude10
April 13th 2014



3814 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, One Ocean is great.

KerfuffleinaHussle
April 13th 2014



759 Comments


its balanced on the eheeeeeddgee

greg84
Staff Reviewer
April 13th 2014



7365 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

Thanks. To each his own. The track kind of grew on me a bit at some point, but yeah... it's the only track on here I don't like, which can only mean they'll release it as a next single.

Cygnatti
April 13th 2014



21350 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

"It's basically a masterpiece when compared to shitty "alt. metal" stuff that comes out these days but
still don't look like ur typa thing"

perhaps not. I only vaguely remember listening to a song or two by this band, so i don't know what to
expect. oh wells, would've listened to it weeks ago but it wasn't on spotify x_x

Toondude10
April 13th 2014



3814 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Greg hahaha, I wouldn't be surprised. Though I really want Ouija Board to be a single. It is such a great track.

AlexTM510
April 13th 2014



1400 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I'm but This Type Of Thinking is ridiculously overhyped....it's way too one dimensional in sound.

That being, I agree otherwise.

Toondude10
April 13th 2014



3814 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Alex, I actually agree with that. I didn't like This Type of Thinking that much. There were good songs, but nothing really surprising.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
April 13th 2014



7365 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

This Type Of Thinking has better songs, and a much stronger focus on melodies and hooks than this. This is more riff-driven stuff. So, it boils down to what you like in music more, I guess.

Toondude10
April 13th 2014



3814 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

like you said before, to each his own. I thought it was kinda boring but oh well.



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