Chevelle Release Another Winner: The North Corridor

Chevelle, The North Corridor2016 (Epic Records)

Door to Door Cannibals (4:36), Enemies (3:29), Joyride (Omen) (3:37), Rivers (3:59), Last Days (4:12), Young Wicked (3:06), Warhol’s Showbiz (4:30), Punchline (5:11), Got Burned (3:39), Shot From a Cannon (8:12), A Miracle (CD only bonus track) (5:32)

chevellethenorthI’ve been a fan of Chevelle since I was in 7th grade (2007 or so), and while they aren’t prog, neither are they your typical mainstream rock or metal band. They are often compared to Tool, who are often lumped under the wide prog banner, but I can’t really comment on that since I am unfamiliar with Tool. All I know is, Chevelle has been consistently making very interesting and compelling rock music since 1999.

I absolutely loved their last album, 2014’s La Gárgola. It had such an awesome horror and heavy feel to it. In my review of that album, I said that it was the band’s best album since 2002’s Wonder What’s Next. Well, The North Corridor is a more than worthy successor to La Gárgola. It is heavy, but not in the same way as the last album. The guitar and vocals are distinctly heavier, while the last album had a thematic heaviness. There is a clear distinction between the two styles, yet the music is still familiar.

What is truly remarkable about this band is the quality of sound they can make with just three musicians! Pete Loeffler is guitarist and lead vocalist, while his brother Sam Loeffler handles the drums. Their brother-in-law, Dean Bernardini, takes care of bass, backing vocals, and artwork for the album. Being a family affair has clearly aided this band in their cohesion. They play well, they aren’t drama queens, and they focus on rock. As a group, their music sounds so full that it is hard to believe there are only three musicians. The only bands I know of that can pull that off better than Chevelle are Rush and Muse, and even Muse uses a fourth member for live shows. (By the way, those are the only two bands I have been a fan of longer than Chevelle.)

One of my favorite aspects of this band is their lyrics. They are cryptic in a way that 81At7h1zW9L._SY355_leaves them open for interpretation. They never write about relationships and lame topics like that. In some ways, their approach to writing lyrics reminds me of Haken. They won’t explicitly tell you what their songs are about. They leave it up to the listener to figure it out and bring their own interpretation to the table.

Musically, Bernardini’s bass really stands out to me on this album. While he has always been excellent, he really takes center stage on this album. The bass is loud in an almost Squire-esque fashion, and he definitely reminds me of Chris Wolstenholme from Muse.

Currently, my favorite song on the album is “Got Burned.” It is a straight up, in-your-face rocker, but Pete’s way of singing the lyrics is just a bit different than he normally does. I dig it. While most of the songs are three and a half to four and a half minutes in length, Chevelle manage to make it seem like the songs are much longer. I think they accomplish it by having their own way of organizing their songs. They have a main verse at the beginning of the song, which is followed by a lengthy bridge/chorus. They never really return to another verse, so their songs aren’t cyclical. Interestingly, prog songs follow a very similar style, but they are usually much longer. Chevelle manage to get a similar feel without writing long songs.

While they typically write short songs, they decided to write their longest song to date with “Shot From a Cannon,” which is over eight minutes long. So there ya go. The proggiest song on the album is “A Miracle” (listen below), which only comes on the CD version. It reminded me instantly of a quiet Muse song, because it has synths overlaying the music, and it has backing vocals from Dean that sound just like Chris Wolstenholme from Muse. It’s a great track, and it is definitely worth the extra money to buy the cd just for this song.

Chevelle have released another fantastic rock album that should appeal to a wide variety of rock fans. This is a band that has proven many times over that rock is far from dead, despite the prolific nature of dog crap inspired pop, hip-hop, and country that tend to dominate American music charts. Long live Chevelle.

5 thoughts on “Chevelle Release Another Winner: The North Corridor

  1. specimen2511

    Chevelle is my favorite band, and this album is phenomenal! It’s funny that you say Dean reminds you of Chris. I’ve heard Dean learned to play bass by listening to Muse.

    I have to say I really hate that the guys get compared to Tool. I get that there was a definite Tool influence on Point #1, but they stomped that out on WWN, and they’ve come even farther since that.

    Anyway, great review. I love stumbling across other fans of this sorely under appreciated band.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bryan Morey

      Thanks! I didn’t know that about Dean learning by listening to Muse, but it doesn’t surprise me at all. Dean really stepped it up a lot on this album, and I’m really impressed.

      I must agree with you that I’ve grown tired of all the Tool comparisons. It reminds me of Muse always being compared to Radiohead. Chevelle and Muse have both clearly defined their own sound and aren’t copying anybody else. Those comparisons are really just reviewers being too lazy to take the time and actually analyze the music for its own value.

      Always nice to find another Chevelle fan – the band is far too underrated in the metal community. Everybody fawns over the bands that rewrite the same song 10 times for every single album, but Chevelle has never fit into that mould.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Bryan’s Best of 2016 | Progarchy

    1. Bryan Morey

      I bought the CD when it came out, and I enjoyed it, but it didn’t stick with me. I really liked the instrumental first track, and I wish the album had gone more in that direction. Perhaps I should have given the album more of a chance, but I suppose I was bummed that Dean Bernardini wasn’t on it. I’ll have to return (see what I did there) to it.



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