Almost twenty years in the music industry and the hard hitting rock band Chevelle continues to provide powerful albums with keen lyrics and even more piercing sounds. Their seventh studio album released April 1st, ‘La Gárgola,’ brings their fans a whole new set of songs to get lost in.
The album begins with the hauntingly appropriate track “Ouija Board” that incorporates eerie percussion with the powerful guitars and vocals that the band is known for. Having the bassist, Dean Bernardini, play drums on this particular track brings in a different element and shows how multidimensional the band truly can be. Setting the tone early, “Ouija Board” kicks off the album in grandiose fashion.
The next track, “An Island,” is named after a favorite bar from the band’s hometown. The strong pull and builds in this song are classic Chevelle showing us exactly why it got a spot on the album. The fuzzed out tones (I can’t help but get a TOOL feel from the main riff) are an early delight and certainly a welcomed addition to the Chevelle arsenal.
Lead single off the album “Take Out the Gunman” hits next, and this particular track written by Pete can allude to many things in our current society. The pointedly masked “Gunman” may be talking about current events, but it also alludes to anything that causes us to “have to shoot, have to fight.” We’ll leave the lyrics open for your own interpretation, for now just sit back and soak in this tremendous track.
Chevelle – Take Out The Gunman (Lyric Video):
“Jawbreaker” seems to have more instruments involved than any other track on the album. Back are the fuzzed out tones and the industrial elements bring something to the album that complements the other tracks well without standing out like a sore thumb. The outro of this song leads us well into the next track.
“Hunter Eats Hunter,” originally called “Gargoyle,” is the second single off the album. This particular track slows things down a bit and brings us into a story about a mystical creature lurking about. The listeners may think they know the truth, but the dark feel of this song bids us to “be careful where the mind goes.” The rise and falls in this song match the content brilliantly, and when you reach the twist found in the bridge it may make you think twice about who the creature really is. This is one of our favorite tracks on the record. The groove sounds like a continuation of some of the songs from Hats Off To The Bull and that’s quite alright by us.
Chevelle – Hunter Eats Hunter:
“One Ocean” is one of the more serious tracks to be found on the album. The focus here lies within the strength of Pete’s vocals and how he manages to carry the weight of the topic at hand. The health of the ocean and how it all connects seems to be what they are seeking to communicate to hopefully foster more discussion and awareness. The track is a bit lighter and atmospheric than most from Chevelle, with an ambience similar to 30 Seconds To Mars.
“Choking Game,” originally titled “Feel the Rush,” brings us back up to speed with a lot of the fast-paced riffs and sounds that we as listeners expect from Chevelle. The energy of this track is a nice and welcomed shift from “One Ocean” and leads us well into the next.
Zombies make their way onto the album in “The Damned” as we hear the music keep pace with the cursed journey playing out through the lyrics. This track brings about inner turmoil over what the listener may really feel versus what they expect in regard to the undead. Musically, it’s a return to the sounds, counts, beats and groove that have provided the foundation for the band.
“Under the Knife” was actually the last song written for the album. After piecing the tracks together, the band realized there needed to be another song added. This song appropriately compliments the undercurrent nature of this entire album with the instruments and lyrics surrounding the vocals. It may have been a late addition, but it’s a welcomed one.
“Twinge” is affectionately coined the “babymaking song” by the band due to its rhythm and feel and I can see why. It is a song that has been in the making for years. Finally finding its place at the conclusion of this album. It fits beautifully and is actually my favorite song on the entire album. Though this track has the least amount of lyrics, I feel it carries the most weight out of any track from this album. The mood and ambience are brilliant and they are the direct result of the many revisions of this song finally paying off.
While producer Joe Baressi was able to pull a few different sounds out of the band, musically speaking, the Chevelle familiarity is still overwhelming and will not alienate any fans of the last few records. Atmospherically speaking, the overall dark nature of this album is attractive and very appealing to the senses. I can see several songs, riffs, and lyrics from here easily being used in say, a horror film. The songs bring about that feeling you get when you feel someone watching you, but the twisted part is that you actually LIKE it. The aptly chosen title and album art (Seemingly somewhat influenced by fellow Illinoisans Janus and their Nox Aeris release) all work well along with the tracks to meld together a musical experience that I highly recommend, especially if you’re a fan of the band. If you’re new to the scene, don’t miss this album, and be sure to take heed of the content. You may surprise yourself in what you find.
Unsung Melody Score 8 out of 10
Preview or purchase La Gargola below: