Chevelle

Vena Sera

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Despite Chevelle undergoing its first lineup change since the mid-'90s (trading out bassist brother Joe Loeffler for brother-in-law Dean Bernardini), not much else has been drastically altered in camp Chevelle. The loud/soft dynamic and angst-fueled vocals that nod heavily towards Tool, and which have always been the group's trademark, arrive in full force on their fourth album Vena Sera, but it's not enough to make the proceedings any more interesting than anything they've recorded in the past. Every song seems to be set up in the exact same manner; guitars lurch forward, diminish and eventually swell into choruses where Pete Loeffler's emotional vocals (ranging from shrieks to tuneful cries) take center-stage over a backdrop of steady yet dense rhythms. "Brainiac" and especially "Midnight to Midnight" take a noticeably heavier angle, the latter song running on a nice urgency that so many of Chevelle's other songs lack, instead choosing to lumber along in a murky sense of despair. First single "Well Enough Alone" emotes and then emotes in that way so perfect for the airwaves, and though it's a decent song -- the opening shriek is especially nice -- it more so highlights the frustrating aspect of Vena Sera. The album is good enough, but too much of it simply sounds like rewrites of songs from the band's past. "I Get It" has a relatively lighter underbelly than the rest, which is a nice change of pace, but it's ultimately too little, too late. However, Vena Sera probably won't disappoint fans, if for the sole fact that it basically sounds just like Chevelle's other albums, so that if they liked those, they'll like this one. But anyone looking for a little more, well, they'll be left looking.

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