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Carving out an
aggressive niche

Chevelle - Vena Sera
(Epic Records)
4 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: April 14, 2007

Review by Andy Argyrakis

From its early days of playing the independent scene in Chicago to scoring the production prominence of Steve Albini in 1999 though a mainstream breakthrough with Epic Records three years later, Chevelle has consistently developed with fierce rhythms, neck snapping beats and fiery vocals. Along the way, the band's also amassed an amazingly dedicated fan base, thanks in part to support slots for Audioslave and Ozzfest, not to mention headlining jaunts with 30 Seconds To Mars and Taproot as openers. As a result of all the fanfare and seemingly endless miles logged on the road, the group saw several of its singles race up the charts, including "The Red," "Closure," "Send the Pain Below" and "The Clincher."

On Chevelle's latest effort Vena Sera, the guys take another aggressive step forward, while once again teaming with producer Michael "Elvis" Baskette, who previously worked behind the boards on the Epic albums This Type of Thinking (Could Do Us In) and Wonder What's Next. Like those two popular projects, Vena Sera is loaded with monstrous guitar chords and throaty screams, sure to translate to both radio and concert settings. And those who do catch the group live (or look carefully at the liner notes) may notice the trade-off of original member/bassist Joe Loeffler for newcomer Dean Bernardini, though thankfully that shift hasn't hindered the trio's chemistry in the least.

Tracks like "Saferwaters" and "Paint the Seconds" sear with piercing power, but they also possess mounds of heavy hooks and accessible structuring. "Humanoid" is an all out rough and tumbler, while "I Get It" tips off as a softer spoken jam before diving deep into the delightful depths of hardcore. The album's finale "Saturdays" best showcases Chevelle's balance of both worlds, merging melodic tension with menacing guitar grinds. No matter what the method, the band remains a favorite for followers of Helmet and Tool, while carving out even more of its own aggressive niche.

Listen to Chevelle's - "I Get it"

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