Published Apr 01, 2014The world needs its fair share of songs for movie trailers and entrance themes for wrestlers and baseball players, and Chicago's Chevelle are more than happy to deliver. Since the band first hit pop paydirt in 2002 with Wonder What's Next, their driving drop-d numbers have regularly strong-armed their way onto stadium sound systems and Billboard's Top 20. In Canada, we're somewhat isolated from the pervasiveness of American rock radio, where Chevelle have actually ruled for more than a decade.
La Gárgola is the band's seventh album in the span of their nearly 20-year career, and the second in a row where they've worked with producer Joe Baresi (Tool, Isis). They've brought him back for a reason — while Chevelle have traditionally sounded pretty clean and clinical production-wise, Baresi's style pushes the band toward a warmer, grittier sound. Still, all of the signposts from early '00s rock radio are here: the band ride those guitar harmonics and thematic solos like nobody's business. Inventiveness and originality aren't in Chevelle's playbook, which should surprise no one, but it still makes it difficult to want to come back to this rather front-loaded album for repeat listens. What we have here is competently made, combustible radio rock. (Epic)