The ninth album from Chevelle might be their heaviest one yet and therefore the most appealing to metal fans so far.
At this point, it is almost thirty years that Chevelle has been making music. In that time, they have sold more than four million album in the US. There first full-length album came out in 1999, Point #1, but they had to wait all the way until their second album, Wonder What’s Next, to sell in platinum numbers. They offer a guitar-driven, pop-oriented rock approach, and the new album, especially, leans in on the heavy and will have a broad appeal to metal fans.
I had not followed Chevelle very closely until a couple years ago when I saw them perform live at Aftershock in Sacramento. I found out two things: they have a lot of dedicated fans and they put on a great show. When I read the announcement for the new album, my focus sharpened with the memory the band playing in the California sun.
Niratias has thirteen tracks, including a transition bit or two. The opener is an instrumental, “Verruckt,” and it is a compelling piece that sounds like the process that goes on inside the CPU of an angry robot if it was thinking about heavy metal. “So Long, Mother Earth” is more pop-oriented and catchy, making it a go-to track for fans of yore. And then you are hit with “Mars Simula” and its aggressive stabbing riffs. The variety in the songs starts to make itself known, settling the idea of what kind of a record this will be.
Throughout the album there are tracks that stand out for me like “Pisstol Star,” which is claustrophobic and tense, and “Peach” with its excellent lead guitar work. The set closes down with the big statement of “Ghost and Razor” showing off a low, heavy sound that is burgeoning with angst (my favorite track) and walking off stage with “Lost In Digital Woods.” That last one is a quiet downer of sad poetry and piano for two minutes, then nature sounds or possibly screaming, and finally there is an echoing guitar that warbles in (and then out) in the final 75 seconds. Make what you will of that.
Niratias is out now. Hit the store link below to peruse the versions. It is a big album from every angle. Recommended.
Live band photo by Wayne Edwards from Aftershock 2019.