Review Summary: Back off peer, I'm on the top of this.
Every band has a past. Shows for 15 people with poor equipments, without earning any money. They're there for one reason: the love for music. Everyone that someday made a show, knows how the feeling is, and there's nothing better than feel your own music and show it to the world, even if it sucks. But isn't every band that sucks in the beginning, and one of those is Chevelle. From their first demos, you can see their talent, even if it's a little derivative from the band's influences.
In 1999, after some time doing little shows and recording some demos, Chevelle signed to a Christian label(but their music wasn't really religious) and recorded their first album, produced by the legend Steve Albini, which produced some of the best albums of the decade. A band that showed so much potential before, with a great producer like Steve, is a recipe for success.
However, like I said, the band's sound still is derivative from their influences. Songs like Skeptic and Anticipation sound just like Tool, and SMA and Prove To You sound like Helmet. But, these songs are so well constructed that you ignore these things. The influences flow together in the rest of the album, and Chevelle start to craft a sound of their own. The album starts with Chevelle's best song, the title track. There's nothing too much technical or complicated with the song, but there's so much emotion flowing with the track that it's hard to dislike it. Some songs like "Dos" and "Peer" come close to the same emotion, but they don't reach the high bar that the title track set in the beginning.
There's some other gems here too, like "SMA" and "Blank Earth", that are highlights of their career(even if they're from the beginning). But, the album is flawed by its repetition: almost every track follows the same formula, and while it works almost every time, it can be a thing to turn off some people from it. Its sound quality isn't too good compared to their later releases too.
The band's chemistry is undeniable, and every member has place to shine, thanks for the Albini's production too. Pete's vocals can be soothing or chaotic in some tracks, and it can remind you of Maynard James Keenan of Tool, but for me they're two different beasts. Pete rely too much on the same type of riffs here, but all of them are great, even if a little repetitive.
Chevelle's first album is just as great as their latter material, and it shows some of the band's best songs, and how bright their future can be. And it is.