- Wonder What’s Next
Best Nu-Metal Album
The following was originally published in our Artist of the Month section.
Before I get into Chevelle’s
new album “Wonder What’s Next” and how they came to be artist of the month,
I’d like to give you some background on my experience with Chevelle’s music.
I first heard this band when
their debut album, “Point #1” was released by Steve Taylor’s Squint Records.
To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t exactly blown away by that CD. I liked
it but after a few spins it was replaced by other discs in my collection
and I quickly forgot all about this band named after a classic car by Chevrolet.
Fastforward a few months
and our Special Features editor, Debbie Seagle, calls me up one night and
said she had an extra ticket to Anthrax, who were playing literally down
the street from me. She asked me if I wanted to come down and check out
the show and help her out by keeping an eye on her photo case while she
photographed the bands. My answer, “is the Pope Catholic?” Pass up a chance
to see Anthrax, who I hadn’t seen live since ’88 when they opened for KISS?
I was so there!
That was a pretty busy tour
for Anthrax and they had something like four bands on the bill that night.
The opening local band was a laugh riot. It was almost painful watching
them use every cheesy cliché in the book for an 80’s style metal
band. But the next band was explosive! They charged out and grabbed the
audience's full attention and we forgot for 45 minutes who we had actually
come to see. The music was metal in the tradition of Biohazard meets Tool.
I was duly impressed and after they finished their set I asked Debbie if
she know who they were? She didn’t know, so I asked someone who worked
for the theatre and they responded, “Oh that was a band from Chicago called
Chevelle”. Imagine my surprise to hear this, I mean at that point
I remembered hearing their album and not being blown away, it appeared
like the band that just played was a totally different group!
So later that night when
I got home, I searched for the Chevelle CD and popped it in and low and
behold I was able to appreciate for more after witnessing their live assault.
However, it still didn’t come close to measuring up to the energy of their
live show. But my interested was piqued and their CD started to receive
regular rotation in my CD player.
Fastforward to the Summer
of 2002. I open up my email one morning (ok afternoon) and there
is an email from Epic publicity that had a listing of upcoming releases.
Scanning the email, I came across a familiar name, Chevelle. According
to the email the band had their major label debut “Wonder What’s Next”
scheduled for release by Epic in the Fall. I asked our managing editor
if he could ask his contact at Epic to send an advance copy of the CD.
I knew I wanted to write something on them, since the memory of that live
show still lingers in my mind and I was curious to hear what kind of changes
had overcome the band with their move to a major label.
Before we continue let's
talk about the Sophomore Albums, which are always hit or miss affairs.
In some cases, when the band records their debut album, it is the culmination
of years of being together and gigging to land the deal, so they had a
long time to fine tune their music and know which songs would be best received.
Unfortunately for some bands, when it comes time to write music for the
follow up CD, they rush to write the material, not having the long period
of time to fine tunes the songs and the second album just doesn’t measure
up to the debut.
On the other hand, some bands
take a giant leap forward with their second album, utilizing all of the
experience gathered from recording and touring behind their debut and the
resulting album takes them far beyond where they were with their debut.
Once I received an advance of the Chevelle’s new CD, “Wonder What’s Next”,
I quickly saw that they fell into the “great leap forward” category.
Frankly, I was amazed at
this album, even without comparing it to their debut. This time around
Chevelle managed to harness the energy that I had witness during their
live performance. Because this album is heavy and modern, some will automatically
lump it into the nu-metal category. Not so fast! Yes it is heavy and yes
it has certain elements that we have come to expect from “nu-metal” bands
but Chevelle also goes far beyond those constraints with songs focused
on dynamics not crunch. True, the songs are heavy but they also have a
progressive nature, not quite in the territory of Tool but skimming the
edges. The most inspiring thing about this album is the songwriting. From
start to finish, Chevelle takes the listener on a music journey into different
realms, and to be perfectly honest there doesn’t appear to be one weak
track on this album. The overall message of the lyrics is positive as well,
so this isn't one of those cry baby, "my daddy didn't love me because he
didn't spoil me rotten" groups. Each song has it’s own compelling nature
that makes it stick in your mind like you’ve been hit in head with a sharp
object! In other words, the appeal is hard to ignore and the songs stay
with you long after the CD has ended.
One of the key selling points
of this band up until this point has been that it features a trio of brothers.
Musical siblings are nothing new in rock. Jjust look at Oasis, The Black
Crowes, The Beach Boys, Nickelback... the list goes on. Maybe knowing each
other so well, is the magic ingredient that puts it all together for Chevelle.
No matter, the bottom line is this band has found something from within
that allowed them to create one of the best hard rock albums of the year.
So even if Chevelle’s first album didn’t really do it for you, “Wonder
What’s Next” has a lot going for it. It will be hard for Chevelle
to top this effort but until we reach that point we can rock to this CD
and we won’t need to “Wonder What’s Next” for quite a while. Chevelle is
Ok I did just spend 90% of
this article talking about my personal experience with Chevelle's music.
What can I say, it was the only way to make the point that this album hit
home and made an impression and with every new exposure to this band's
music I have, the more I appreciate what they are doing. You want a to-the-point
review of this CD? IT ROCKS! Plain and simple, no need to elaborate on
that. So now that you've read about my experience with Chevelle,
you should go out and check this album out and begin your very own experience
with Chevelle's music. Come on what else are you gonna buy? Kenny G? j.lo?
What are you still doing here? Run along now before the record store sells
out! Remember the album is called “Wonder What’s Next!” and the band
is called Chevelle and the music is "kick ass"!
This CD online and Listen to Samples
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