Review - Chevelle: The North Corridor
Chevelle is one of the most consistent bands around today. Just about every one of their records is on the same level quality-wise and they all are released about two to three years apart. The band also tours consistently and it seems like they're always around in some shape or form. They've also never been particularly innovative musically. They literally are the safest band I know; which is good and bad.
With 'The North Corridor' the band finally innovates a bit...on like two songs. That's not to say that the rest of the album is mediocre, it's just what you've come to expect from the band. Yes, there's a bit more of an edge to the music on this disc than on previous releases, the guitars are a little chunkier, the drums hammer a bit harder and Pete screams a bit more.
I will say that Pete Loeffler sounds better than ever on vocals, and that the band has an earthier, more live sound on this release which I can get behind. However, for the life of me, I still can't figure out Loeffler's lyrics, I get the impression that he is more focused on how the flow of the lyrics sound rather than what they mean. Who knows though, maybe I'm missing something. The album's also a bit short at 10 tracks, but almost every song delivers in some respect.
The album is kicks off with 'Door to Door Cannibals' a song with a simple but stomping riff that's an effective opener. 'Enemies' follows, and while I don't like some of the distortion techniques utilized on this track I appreciate how dirty and aggressive it is. 'Joyride (Omen)' gives me huge Undertow-era Tool vibes, it's always cool to hear how well Loeffler channels Maynard, but it also ends up feeling a bit recycled. Still it's quite a catchy song that I've been coming back to more than some of the others.
'Rivers' and 'Last Days' are like brothers as they both kind of blend together as two harder-hitting songs with some great hooks and strong riffs. I really didn't care for 'Young Wicked' when I first heard it because it sounded like every single Chevelle song I've ever heard, but it's grown on me a bit. I'll admit; I hear "Yes sir!" shouted in my head every time I hear someone say it. 'Warhol's Showbiz' is honestly a bit forgettable, but nowhere close to being bad. Chevelle takes a hard left-turn with 'Punchline'. It's the only slow song on the disc, but it's got bite and the cold synthesized nature of it is very effective.
'Got Burned' is another catchy but typical Chevelle track that keeps the boat afloat but doesn't do any rowing. The album closes with 'Shot From A Cannon', which is in my opinion the only truly heavy song on the album, it's got a badass, heavy, sludgly, slow guitar riff all throughout, a slamming drum beat and some of Loeffler's best screaming displays on the entire album. It had me wishing the rest of the songs had a similar edge, even though this album as a whole was technically harder-hitting than previous releases.
It was nice revisiting Chevelle, I was suitably entertained if not blown away by 'The North Corridor'. I got to hear some progression on a couple of tracks and left for the most part satisfied. I just hope they give us more than just hints of forward progress on the next album because I can hear an amazing band in there somewhere.
Written by Rhys Paine on 7/14/16