Chevelle - Sci-Fi Crimes (2009)


In a wash of mediocrity in hard rock (Breaking Benjamin, Nickelback, Theory of a Deadman), there is Chevelle. There has always been Chevelle. Theyve stuck around churning out ridiculously consistent albums (even if they never really stretched any boundaries), and have found moderate success with this formula. Yet, on Chevelles latest release, Sci-Fi Crimes, its a bit different for Chevelle. Theyve torn down a lot of these clich boundaries that has burdened them, and ended up releasing one of the most solid consistent, and strong hard rock albums in recent times.

Nearly abandoning their clich loud/soft rock dynamics and angst-ridden vocals that theyve literally worked over throughout their career, Chevelle has evolved into something no one expected. Suddenly, Chevelle is brooding dark, aggressive, and completely immersive. The track all still sound pretty
obvious at first, but songs like Sleep Apnea and Roswells Spell have this slickly hidden, darkened tempo that includes, dare I say it, a bit of rhythm. The albums most unexpected tracks, the completely acoustic Highlands Apparition and the short Interlewd just expel this uneasy foreboding tone that is absolutely surprising, especially coming from Chevelle.

With all this progression, Chevelle hasnt necessarily forgotten how to make a smash hit radio single, however. Shameful Metaphors and A New Momentum are classic Chevelle material destined for radio exploitation. Yet Shameful Metaphors is just too damn good to ever become radio trash. Itd still be amazing even if Kidz Bop covered it or it ended up on Now! Thats What I Call Music. The constantly building groove, Tool inspired guitar riff, Petes heartfelt vocals, and the unusually dark lyrics just altogether form the best song Chevelle song of all time. In fact, Shameful Metaphors is so good the rest of the album tries it's damnedest to stay on the same level raised by this song. The typical rocker,Jars, which keeps the album from being perfect, would have been amazing on a different album, but when you have songs as strong as "Shameful Metaphors" it's nothing. Looking on to
the rest of the album, the quick-sped grit of Mexican Sun just exhumes pure adrenaline (its a hell of a workout song), and Letters From a Thief is a great track that has a pretty awesome guitar solo with an oddly dark atmosphere surrounding the sound

My biggest problem with Chevelles past albums is that they always seemed so mechanical. It was hard to hear a band through all the slick production Sci-Fi Crimes has all the trademarks of the polished classic Wonder Whats Next, the noise and human sound of Point #1 without the ridiculously
mechanical sound of Vena Sera. Vena Sera-not to say it wasn't good-suffered from the same issues the Smashing Pumpkins ambitious MACHINA album had. That album was just so produced it didnt have any spirit. Whether it be Petes unrestricted vocals, the vintage guitar sound, or Chevelle
actually making an album that sounds like an album and not just a collection of ***-kicking songs. But This Circus finally shows Chevelle developing an ability to make an epic closing track as they slowly strip away instruments towards the albums end. Its the first Chevelle album in which the closing
track actually sounds like it's actually supposed to close out the album Theres plenty human touch, as Pete sings unrestrained and the guitars roar sloppily, similar to their debut. Even then, this album is so much more refined and eclectic then, for example, albums like their repetitive debut

At the end of the day, Chevelle have settled into a niche, and found that much like the Deftones found with White Pony, hard rock isnt a black hole Instead, the Loefflers discovered that if you play hard rock right, it can be accessible and lead to stardom but still kick plenty of *** while sounding experimental. Chevelle essentially just blew the doors off of the hard rock scene and made life a whole lot harder for their peers. Thats how awesome Sci-Fi Crimes is.

Sci-Fi Crimes
Album art: 
Release date: 

1. Sleep Apnea
2. Mexican Sun
3. Shameful Metaphors
4. Jars
5. Fell Into Your Shoes
6. Letter From A Thief
7. Highlands Apparition
8. Rosewells Spell
9. Interlewd
10. A New Momentum
11. This Circus

Music label: 
Epic/Sony BMG
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Average: 5 (11 votes)
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