New Chevelle Recaptures Old Sound

By Dan Poskus

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La Gárgola is the seventh album coming out from Chicago based hard rock band Chevelle. First coming onto the radar in 2002 with their album Wonder What’s Next, Chevelle has since established themselves as a prominent band in the industry. If you listen to Q101 or WIIL Rock, you have probably heard at at least one of their many hits. Following the release of their 2011 album Hats Off To The Bull, La Gárgola brings 10 fresh tracks spanning more than 47 minutes.

Fans of the band haven’t forgotten about  Hats Off To The Bull which was considered to be a turning point in the bands career. The album brought a very different sound than what we have seen from Chevelle in the past and many people were disappointed about that. I think the album in its own right was pretty solid, but it was a step away from the raw power we are used to from Chevelle. La Gárgola goes back to the bands old sound with songs sounding like they could be off of Point #1 or Vena Sera.

With Chevelle back in their element, it is no wonder why people are so happy with this album. The album opens with “Ouija Board” which immediately lets the listener know what they are in for. After an eerie opening, the song launches you into the riff driven, head banging album that is La Gargola. The next track, “An Island,” is probably my favorite track off the album. The main riff drives the song forward with powerful vocals backing it. By the time the breakdown starts, you can’t help but get amped.

The two singles off the album are “Take Out The Gunman” and “Hunter Eats Hunter,” both of which are fantastic. “Take Out The Gunman” starts off slow enough with a steady guitar riff and Pete Loeffler describing a scene. After a few lines the riff gets driven harder with the addition of a bass and an increase in the volume. The chorus is catchy and memorable and the breakdown is strong. I think it is definitely one of the best songs of the album and was a great choice for a single. “Hunter Eats Hunter” has a raw chorus that leads into a frantic verse. The drumming on the track is the highlight for me. “Hunter Eats Hunter” is also one of the better tracks of the album.

The album slows down with “One Ocean” which is about the pollution of our oceans and how they are all connected. The track has a very relaxing verse driven by a distant guitar and a very smooth bass line. The chorus is very spacey and you can get lost in it if you just close your eyes and listen for a second. The track picks up later in, but still maintains the spacey feel, and I really do like this track for the relaxing sound and strong message. “Choking Game” picks up the pace again with a fast paced verse and chorus. I don’t think the song is that memorable until you get down to the breakdown which is driven by a strong riff that can easily get stuck in your head and an ending which is definitely one of the best parts of the album.

“The Damned” is a really strong track on the album. The verse is driven by a strong bass line and the chorus provides another strong riff that seamlessly flows back into the verse. My only complaint is that the song may run a little bit long for the amount of content it has. “Under The Knife” has a pretty boring verse without much of a driving factor. Once you break into the chorus, the song starts to gain some traction. The bridge and the interlude following are both exceptional and make up for what I think was a very slow start. Not one of the best tracks on the album, but still very good.

The last song, “Twinge,” is a very unique song that I think is different than anything found on any of their other records. It starts off slow and gets into a very mesmerising bass groove. The verse does a good job at submerging the listener into the track, much like “One Ocean.” The chorus picks up the song a little, but not enough to break the groove the song has going for it and then transitions back into the verse groove. After the song picks up and drops off a few more times, the song drifts off, closing out the album. This song is definitely something special off the album and I am very glad it made the cut.

La Gárgola exceeded my expectations in every way. Memorable riffs and powerful breakdowns line the tracks and create an amazing album that any hard rock fan should check out. If you are new to the genre or only want one track to get a feel for the band, I think “An Island” is the song to check out.  La Gárgola is streaming now on Spotify and available on iTunes.

 

4.5/5 Stars