Tuesday, May 13, 2014

La Gárgola | Chevelle

About a month ago, the American rock trio Chevelle has released a new album entitled La Gárgola, which is filled with cool guitar riffs that put a bit of a heavier spin on their music.

Throughout the years, I've heard some of Chevelle's singles on the radio and enjoyed them, but I've never been able to really get into their music until the summer of 2012 when I saw them live during the Carnival of Madness Tour. I was so impressed by the music and how well they performed that I went out and bought a few of their CDs, and I've been hooked ever since. While I must say that I love this band overall, sometimes their albums will only have a few songs I really get into while nothing else truly jumps out at me. This is kind of the case for La Gárgola. I've talked about this scenario quite a few times on this blog, where an album isn't bad at all, it just isn't grabbing me the way I'd hoped. But, a lot of these songs needed time to grow on me.

"Ouija Board" kicks the album off with a series of creepy bells that perfectly suit the creepy album art before diving into the full sound. We're one track in and this album has already caught my attention for being noticeably heavier than their recent material. The energy's high and the lyrics are abstract as hell (a common characteristic of Chevelle songs). There a few parts of the vocal line that especially catch my attention (in terms of both the lyrics and melodies themselves). Pete declares "Self explore your egoism" in both verses, but the last two ear-catching lines of the chorus display a major volume change: "Right or wrong if the world explodes / Well you and I are one."

As much as I enjoyed "Ouija Board," a couple of other songs made me just as enthused. "An Island" is easily one of my favorites from La Gárgola; the verses are incredibly catchy with the synthy guitar line, but it's still true to the album's heavy style. Pete Loeffler's vocals are able to suit the peculiar sound as he's able to fluctuate between higher, smoother notes and lower, rougher notes. But "Choking Game" also serves as one of the best songs of La Gárgola... Honestly, the more I listen to it, the more I like it. The vocals are especially nice in this track; they're so smooth with so many longer notes. In some way I can't put my finger on, this song reminds me of This Type of Thinking (Could Do Us In), which happens to be my favorite Chevelle album.

"Hunter Eats Hunter" has great opening riffs with an intriguing chord progression, which is amplified in the chorus. Its bridge is especially heavy due to the pounding guitars and Pete's screaming ability. But "The Damned" has more cool, dangerous guitar riffs and a darker feel in the verses, and while the two songs aren't immediate favorites, they've managed to grow on me with each listen. The same may be happening with "Under the Knife" and its crazy, heavy feel.

Unfortunately, not to many other songs could really jump at me, but the other tracks do have a certain quality to them that would prevent me from skipping over them if I just needed some background music do listen to while cleaning or something. This is the case for "One Ocean" and "Twinge," which serve as the slower tracks, and they're more atmospheric than the rest of the album.

So, La Gárgola isn't bad at all. Not every song caught my attention right away, but honestly, they're all growing on me to some degree. It's an album that may need a little time to really be able to appreciate. The type of intriguing lyrics that make this band seem particularly intelligent are ever-present as usual, and of course, the Chevelle trait of ending lots of songs with guitar feedback also took precedence on this album. I think fans will be quite happy overall, and despite not loving it quite as intensely as I'd hoped, I'm relatively content too.

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