Review Summary: Simple yet intriguing, Wonder What's Next is a solid effort from an often overlooked band.
In 1999, a trio of brothers under the moniker ‘Chevelle’ released their first album, titled Point #1. They found modest success on radio with the title track and the catchy single ‘Mia’. Their aspirations, however, were to attain success on a level more comparable to newcomers like Linkin Park and Disturbed. After signing with Epic, Chevelle’s wish was granted in the form of platinum selling sophomore album Wonder What’s Next.
Wonder What’s Next wastes no time in getting into the Chicago trio’s loud/soft dynamic. Family System glides effortlessly between falsetto crooning and devastating riffs and harsh vocals. Comfortable Liar, track number two, does much the same, albeit with a slower, steadier build up to the cathartic release, which makes said release all the more rewarding. The next three tracks comprise the album’s singles. Send the Pain Below opens with a Deftones-esque riff and, while it isn’t necessarily innovative, remains catchy enough to satisfy the listener. Closure is both more subdued and more intense, taking its time in building up to a fierce scream punctuated by equally heavy instrumentals. The Red, arguably the band’s biggest hit to date, is a mediocre track tailor-made for radio. Things pick up again with the title track, a rant against the music industry’s propensity to suck the life out of the bands it controls. The next several tracks exemplify the Tool-meets-Helmet mindset out of which the record was made. Forfeit, in particular, is a crowd-pleasing treatise on overly macho mosh pit occupants, once again building from palm-muted riffs into full blown yells from lead vocalist and guitarist Pete Loeffler. An Evening with El Diablo is an interesting track, opening on a catchy bass guitar riff and staying more contained for its duration than most of the previous songs. Finally, One Lonely Visitor, a serviceable but hardly special acoustic track, closes out the album.
In a sea of hard rock/nu metal bands posing as macho men, Chevelle’s mainstream-outbreak stands out as a good example of what can be done with the proper blend of melody and ferocity, not to mention lyrics that never delve into whining about ex-girlfriends or hard upbringings. Wonder What’s Next is hardly innovative, but it stands as an above average record that anyone interested in the genre would do well to give a listen.