- Artist: Chevelle
- Title: La Gárgola
- Released: 2014
- Format: Digital Download
- Genre: Hard Rock/Alt Metal
- Beverage of Choice: Bourbon and Ginger Beer
Despite having to stave off the inevitable comparisons to Tool over the years, Chevelle have managed to remain relevant and consistent with a distinctive energy and songwriting ability that many of their alt metal peers probably envy. This, their seventh album, displays that cohesive vision and expands on their sound with , I dare say it, funk and pop elements that serve to elevate and expand the music and gives La Gárgola a more radio-friendly and crowd-pleasing sound than many other records in this genre.
The songs are all tightly constructed around a punchy rhythm section, syncopated vocals and riffs that are familiar but also creative and fresh to my jaded ears. I find myself returning to this album when I want a energizing jolt of heavy rock to clear my mind. It’s in the same class as many of the other great metal albums I love but also separate, modern and undeniably ‘different’. Something to do with Chevelle’s take on song structure, ambient space in their layering of guitar, bass, distortion and percussion and even the placement of instruments across the stereo space. Songs like “One Ocean” hint at a potential alternative career in pop, sounding eerily similar to U2 circa “Joshua Tree”.
The heavier tracks like “Jawbreaker” and “Under the Knife” are balanced by the melodic and singalong “Take Out the Gunman” (one of the catchiest and likable ‘metal’ tracks ever), the 90’s-sounding “Twinge” and the aforementioned pop-new-wavy”One Ocean”. Chevelle are no one-trick-pony, that’s for sure.
The band has promised a new album in 2020 and I, for one, can’t wait to hear the progress that they will have made, each album building on the previous , expanding their range and creativity. If you haven’t heard any of Chevelle’s music before, start with La Gárgola but do go back and take a listen to ‘Hats off to the Bull‘ and their debut album ‘Point #1‘ to get a sense of their depth and progression since 1999. They will definitely surprise you and maybe, just maybe, extend your musical appreciation and preferences a tiny bit. Let me know what you think?