Chevelle
The North Corridor


4.1
excellent

Review

by Raul Stanciu STAFF
July 9th, 2016 | 573 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: By catering to their fans' wishes, Chevelle have released their heaviest album...

Looking back on the nu-metal scene that flourished during the mid-to-late ‘90s until the early ‘00s, the bands that still exist or most importantly sound relevant can be counted on one hand’s fingers. Chevelle have been catapulted to stardom with Wonder What’s Next and its string of hits. The album is a heavy, tensed affair, but at the same time, criticized for keeping things simple and radio-friendly at times. Otherwise, for such a young band back then, it was and remains a surprising achievement. Lucky for us, the Loefflers decided to use that constructive criticism and add layers or expand formulas on following records. With such rarely seen consistency, instantly recognizable and groovy features, This Type of Thinking (Could Do Us In), Vena Sera & Sci-Fi Crimes cemented their reputation as one of the best acts of the genre (perhaps surpassed only by Deftones at their finest hours). A couple of years ago, the guys managed to once more impress and even surprise everybody with La Gargola, their best effort in a long time. One of their heaviest affairs at the moment, the LP saw them focusing on riffs more than melody, while also creating a horror-inspired theme throughout. More than ever, it felt conceived as an album rather than just standalone tracks.

As fans fully embraced its dirty grooves and uncanny vibe, Pete & Co. catered to their wishes and rapidly compiled a new set of songs whose starting points were the current level of distortion. I insisted above on the breakthrough record, because I’d describe The North Corridor as Wonder What’s Next filtered through La Gargola’s sound. Of course, there are features from other LPs, however, the attention clearly went again on the riffage, yet the tone often harkens back to the former. Plus, the band switched back to openly discussing several social/media issues hidden beneath sub-plots created in the latter. Opener, ‘Door to Door Cannibals’ is a perfect example of the mix I wanted to emphasize on. Starting like an old-school nu metal track, Chevelle rapidly jump to the present with grinding verses, stop-start choruses all with a fat, fuzzy tone. Then, a cool wah solo takes over the middle 8, before reverting to the main rhythm. Moreover, ‘Enemies’ turned out as one of the most manic cuts in their catalog. The punk-inspired drums and staccato guitar lines burst into a syncopated riff, whereas the frustrated ditty, ‘Young Wicked’ rids the brooding segments to boot-stomp your face. Pete has always brought forth issues of the modern world, whether it was about the environment, dark corners of people’s minds (such as depression, anxiety and the consequences of pushing someone to the limits) or media’s influence (among others), but lately his message has become increasingly adamant to stick in your head, akin to the heavier music. He rightfully complains about organized religion brainwashing people, old/new generations not giving a *** about ecological disasters affecting us all, as well as the faulty nature of relationships between people. Still, there’s always enough room for interpretation in the lyrics, so that you can find different meanings on subsequent listens.

On each album there were small experiments that kept things intriguing and thankfully, The North Corridor shares a couple of rather new sonic wanderings for Chevelle. The only quiet track here, ‘Punchline’, boasts a synth bass line over electronic drum patterns. On top of them, a banjo was added, along with some harsh percussion to augment the dark atmosphere. There’s an unusual, interesting futuristic sound created by this mix of instruments that we haven’t witnessed before. On the other hand, you have the schizophrenic ‘Rivers’ that jumps from clean, flamenco-tinged guitars accompanying Pete’s wailing croons, to some of the most bludgeoning riffs on the record. The vocal performance is arguably the most dynamic and the man chose really well where to overdub them. Although an excellent track as a whole, the intense last minute is one of the main highlights of the album. Meanwhile, ‘Warhol’s Showbiz’ is a strong, driving rocker sharing a smooth main groove (bringing ‘A New Momentum’ to mind) and sharp leads that have already become a trademark of the band’s. The infectious, straightforward chorus is somewhat relatable to most acts in the mainstream scene, as the man screeches it. Dean steps up too, delivering some cool bass lines on the slick first single, ‘Joyride (Omen)’ or epic closer, ‘Shot from a Cannon’, whose repetitive nature of its marching rhythm was set to a story that seems to resemble the summary of a wasted life. The track slowly grows through a second guitar adding leads and powerful choruses, each time sung at a higher level of distortion. Halfway, the front man indulges in a prolonged, feedback-drenched solo, while the others stay locked in a groove for a few minutes. The song slowly fades out, feeling like an appropriate, deconstructed ending to an album that runs over you like a truck.

So, these three sweethearts responded to fan’s desires and created their heaviest LP so far. The North Corridor soars like never before, surpassing This Type of Thinking & La Gargola without feeling one-sided. Personally, I would’ve asked for at least another toned down reflecting tune much like ‘Twinge’ or, let’s say, ‘Panic Prone’, yet I understand it would’ve considerably distilled things around. Again acting as a cohesive unit, the record plays best when listened to as a whole and even those who complained about ‘Joyride’ will see how well it fits within the track list. Should we call it their best achievement so far? Coming from a band that for me already has 4 best albums (see the ratings on the website actually reflect this opinion), it’s safe to say this one proudly sits among them. It doesn’t get on top since it expands on previously laid foundations, however, it displays the tightest features. It amazes me how Chevelle manage to maintain such a consistent output. They never sound boring, always tweaking the overall sound in small amounts, so that you’ll be constantly surprised. Dig it!



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user ratings (487)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
trackbytrackreviews
July 9th 2016


3130 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Waiting for that 3.8 average

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
July 9th 2016


4233 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

Awesome album, one of the best this year. Curious to hear the deluxe edition bonus track too, 'A Miracle'. Couldn't find it so far.



'Door to Door Cannibals' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zp4GjDAWkKQ

'Enemies' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wvJRo3W3Yo

'Joyride' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=710aT-Uj_7c

'Rivers' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QW0tYd4n5I

'Last Days' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1G9YceXmyA

'Warhol's Showbiz' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFMF6bSiXLA

'Young Wicked' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uTrXBQ3k2I

'Punchline' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYN157idKN8

'Got Burned' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pb34R-823Bg

'Shot From a Cannon' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jw_v8Bd4Fnw

Digging: The Black Angels - Death Song

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
July 9th 2016


4233 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

La Gargola held a 3.9 rating for a while, unfortunately it dropped to 3.8.

SowingSeason
Moderator
July 9th 2016


23381 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I think La Gargola is slightly better than this.

Digging: The New Year - Snow

trackbytrackreviews
July 9th 2016


3130 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Also sweet mother of long ass paragraphs

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
July 9th 2016


4233 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

@Sowing - Yeah, so far this comes very close behind La Gargola, Vena Sera and This Type of Thinking. I have those rated a bit higher and I can't choose which one I dig most tbh. Each of the three is awesome.



@track - I tried, but couldn't split them. Also, for a few weeks now I can't edit my reviews lol. Must be a bug or something

FullOfSounds
July 9th 2016


14698 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Fantastic review. I agree with your statement that the last minute of Rivers is one of the highlights.

Digging: Satellite Jockey - Modern Life

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
July 9th 2016


4233 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

Thank you!

Tunaboy45
July 9th 2016


14552 Comments


So fucking excited to hear this now, great review!

Digging: Gorillaz - Humanz

FullOfSounds
July 9th 2016


14698 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

No prob!

trackbytrackreviews
July 9th 2016


3130 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Rivers is fucking amazing





EvoHavok
July 9th 2016


6553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Awesome read, Raul! I'm really pleased with this record, which is to be expected since WWN and La Gargola are my favs.

Digging: Dir En Grey - TOUR16-17 -mode of ??-

Tunaboy45
July 9th 2016


14552 Comments


I know they've always been good but man they've really come into their own recently.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
July 9th 2016


4233 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

Thanks! Yeah, it seems they can't go wrong with any of their ideas.

SnakeDelilah
July 9th 2016


18956 Comments


in no rush to listen to this at all

Digging: Remo Drive - Greatest Hits

Tunaboy45
July 9th 2016


14552 Comments


Who knows Snake you might just like it.

Toondude10
July 9th 2016


10837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think La Gargola is slightly better than this. [2]

Digging: Ulver - The Assassination of Julius Caesar

Shoegazefan9789
July 9th 2016


456 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is better than La Gargola imo

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
July 9th 2016


18394 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Slightly is an understatement

Shoegazefan9789
July 9th 2016


456 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's really a shame that 'A Miracle,' the bonus track isn't on the album. It would be the best song on the album and possibly the best song in their discog



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