Despite record sales of over four million to their name Chicago, Illinois alt metal trio Chevelle are little known outside the United States. The trio’s seventh studio album ‘La Gargola’ (Spanish for gargoyle, obviously) occupies a sonic sphere that combines elements of major outfits such as Tool, Filter and A Perfect Circle, successfully at times, whilst occasionally adding a smattering of industrial vibes to the barrage of detuned guitar riffs. It’s a recipe which yields the best album of their career. However it’s far from perfect, veering past planet predictable more than once.
As with most bands of their ilk they struggle when the riffometer goes below 100 – whether the distortion pedals are switched on or not – and attempts to be earnest invariably leave a cheesy taste in the mouth. But thankfully ‘La Gargola’ is more about meat supreme than margherita across its ten tracks.
Ouija Board and An Island are pit circle ready with head bop-inducing riffs from the outset exploding out of speakers like a shelling sequence in a war movie. It’s unclear whether Take Out The Gunman is pro- or anti-gun control but regardless it’s good to see such issues being pondered by a metal act. Likewise, One Ocean tackles the global warming epidemic in a track reminiscent of Incubus. It’s also the most palatable of ‘La Gargola’s’ slower moments.
Unfortunately for Chevelle the well sculpted riffs evaporate on tracks such as Under The Knife and their lacklustre attempt at an atmospheric album closer Twinge which seem flabby, lazy and ill-conceived compared to the earlier highlights of the album. In the end there’s just one or two weak tracks on ‘La Gargola’, making it a decent album rather than a good one. Still there is enough here to indicate that album eight will be worth a listen.