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Category: Music Reviews
Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Chevelle: Vena Sera
Epic Records
Past Ozzfest headliners and Chicagoans Chevelle have recently released their fourth album, Vena Sera, which should bring them a great deal of commercial appeal. Band members Pete and Sam Loeffler (brothers) and Dean Bernardini (brother-in-law to both), have maybe given us the best Chevelle has to offer, but I am left wondering if this release will find the band any new converts?

Vena Sera feels like it was conceived for the masses, i.e., metal fans looking for another decent album with a few catchy tracks. There is nothing wrong with creating such a radio-playable album, however, most fans might have a hard time hearing much more than white noise on Vena Sera. For Chevelle fans, this is a heavier album with more of a pulse than Wonder What’s Next or This KInd of Thinking. There are some great screamo moments on the album and little jewels where surging guitar riffs spill over onto a haunting chorus like on “Humanoid.” The addition of Dean Bernardini on bass gives a charge to the trio’s sound and highlights Pete Loeffler’s lingering vocals. There is fullness in the band’s effort, particularly on “Saferwaters” and “Midnight to Midnight”—two of the best tracks on the album.

My favorite track is “Straight Jacket Fashion,” for two reasons — one, because here, Chevelle sounds sooooo much like Tool and well, I really like Tool. It’s been well-publicized that Tool and A Perfect Circle are influences for the band, but Loeffler is definitely channeling Maynard here, and does it (to his credit?) flawlessly. The second reason “Straight Jacket Fashion” is my favorite track has nothing to do with the song itself. It is because this song title summarizes, in my opinion, the band’s identity — they seem to have surrendered the idea of having a distinct personality and are okay with their label dressing them up as they see fit. It would be great to see them take their talent farther, wider, deeper, in a way that didn’t “bind” them into being compared to better bands that preceded them or “imprisoned” them in metal monotony.

“Antisaint” and “Get It” are both worth a listen but may not leave you changed. Hopefully, on their next effort, Chevelle will discover themselves.

- Rachel C.

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