I've been a fan of Chevelle for a while. Not a die hard fan, but they've never made a bad album in my opinion. Chevelle are sort of in an odd place for a lot of people. Their Tool influence is pretty obvious, both musically speaking and in terms of Pete Loeffler's vocal style. Many have passed them up as a band sucking up to Tool, which is most unfortunate, because if you dig deeper you'll find that on the surface they might be taking a number from Tool's sound, but overall they are their own band. Chevelle has crafted their own sound and in my book they are one of the best Alternative Metal/Rock outfits today.
So now we come to today. They've released their sixth album Hats Off To The Bull, which is a follow up to 2009's Sci-Fi Crimes, which was also a pretty good album. First I'll start off saying that Hats Off To The Bull is not their best album. But if you like Chevelle you will most definitely enjoy this album.
The main problem I have with this album is that they don't seem to be pushing the envelope. They've crafted a style, as I mentioned before, but they don't seem to be trying to push it much farther. Maybe they are getting a bit comfortable with themselves? Who knows.
It's still a solid album though. One thing I've always loved about these guys is the emphasis they place on the bass guitar. Dean Bernardini is a pretty skilled bass player, and does far more than just support the rhythm guitars.
While I said they don't push the envelope, their is one song that sounds a bit different for them. It's called Envy. It's a slower more ambient feeling song that has a really cool and eerie bass line in the beginning. (I think it's the bass playing that rhythm in the beginning. someone correct me if I'm wrong.) And the chorus has these cinematic and epic sounding drums. The change in sound definitely catches your attention, and makes the song one of the more standout tracks on the album. About halfway through the song the whole band comes in making it sound a bit more like a Chevelle song, but the first half is really intriguing. It's ends off with the bass line from the beginning and sort of warbles out creepily. I sort of wish they played with this kind of stuff more throughout the album.
The title track is a pretty good track. It's got all the good elements of a Chevelle song, driving bass, verses with the drums in a mode like a boxer dancing around waiting to take a swing, which brings us to the chorus which is catchy and allows all the members to get a bit heavy. The guitar has a really crunchy and pretty cool hook. It's a thoroughly enjoyable track.
There is also an acoustic track on the album that changes things up a bit, called Prima Donna. It's slower and a bit darker, but it provides a nice break of sorts in the album.
The album is pretty good. It's a bit of a disappointment in a sense that it could have been more, but I don't think any fans will hate the album. It won't beat out Vena Sera or This Type Of Thinking Could Do Us In, but it's a solid entry overall, worth a few spins for sure.