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La Gargola


Pete Loeffler – vocals, guitars

Sam Loeffler – drums

Dean Bernardini – bass guitar, live backing vocals


            Hailing from the suburbs of Chicago, Chevelle has been rocking stages since 1995. The band began as three brothers, but in 2005 one of the brothers left and was eventually replaced by the remaining brother’s brother-in-law. The first recordings from the band were a demo known as The Blue Album which arrived in 1997. The first full length album was released in 1999. Point #1 was released on Squint Entertainment and was recorded in 17 days. In 2002 the band signed to Epic Records after their prior label shut down. That same year the guys released Wonder What’s Next which peaked at #14 on the Billboard 200 charts while the single “The Red” reached #3 and “Send the Pain Below hit #1. September 2004 seen the next release from Chevelle. This Type of Thinking (Could Do Us In) debuted at #8 on the charts while the lead single hit #1. The first album with new bassist Bernardini arrived in 2007. Vena Sera debuted at #12 and tours followed with Evanescence, Finger Eleven, and Strata. The next album reached fans in 2009. Sci-Fi Crimes again did well on the charts and actually took the band in a different direction lyrically. Their sixth studio album, Hats Off to the Bull¸ hit stores in late 2011 and debuted at #20. The new direction was taken even further with this release as it was more dramatic than the rest. The band is back in 2014 with their seventh record. La Gárgola features 10 tracks that spread 47 minutes. The album gets going with “Ouija Board.” The song glides in for a few seconds then explodes with a huge sound and a bolstering voice. The track drives furiously with hammering drums and heavy guitars while the vocals rip through line after line. The track opens the album up nicely and moves right into the next offering. “An Island” isn’t has hard as the first track music wise, but the vocals will beat the shit out of your with the attitude that they bring to the forefront. The guitars soar in places while the drums strike with conviction. The instrumental sections of this track are great and you can really jam to them. They throw a variety of things at you during the sections and I feel that in a live setting this number will get the crowd going into a frenzy. The tune spreads a tick over 5 minutes and it’s not even the longest number on the release. “Take Out The Gunman” steps up next with a slow moving track that sounds more like the old Chevelle. The tune offers up huge moving pieces with instrumental sections, high flying guitars, pounding drums, and an almost evil sounding set of vocals at times. They also add some backing vocals in this one to spice things up. They do repeat a lot towards the end, but that seems to be their M-O a lot of the time. “Jawbreaker” wastes no time in getting going, however the vocals are a little hard to hear at first. They toss some cool sounds at you during the tune while the vocals wage on and drums hit hard. This number is one you play when you are pissed off. It could be one that stirs up the crowd at a live show and really gets them into the action. “Hunter Eats Hunter” opens up slowly, but builds as it does it. The track has a nice little groove to it as it and grabs your attention well. I really like nearly everything about this one. The vocals are clear and offer up the lyrics in just the right way. The music comes in strong and fades out numerous times. The lyrics are a little strange at times, but oh well I guess. The track as a whole is solid. “One Ocean” skates along with ease. The vocals are clear and offer up deep lyrics. The music is a bit boring as it seems to play the same progression over and over again. The tune really didn’t do much for me, but might for someone else. “Choking Game” is the forth and last of the 5 minute tracks. This one wastes no time in getting going with huge guitars, pounding drums, and clear vocals. The track continues on the same path much of the time it has with minimal changes or twists in it. I like the overall sound of the tune, especially the instrumental section, but it does tend to get a little old and stale after a few plays. “The Damned” opens up with a great intro before the vocals come strolling in and captivate you. There are spots that are a little odd and a little stale, but the overall vibe of the track is solid and will have you coming back to it. I really like the guitars in the track as well as the changes within the track. “Under The Knife” is a decent tune that rages along with a heavy vibe and dark vocals. This one gets your heart thumping, head moving, and those horns flying high. It sounds solid on the record, but I felt that it was restrained a little bit and once it gets the chance to spread its wing live the song will be taken to the next level. I really like the guitars in this one as they rip through cords while the drums slap you upside your head. “Twinge” wraps up the album on a super slow note. It slides along like a snail with creepy low key vocals and music that whispers behind them. It’s not my cup of tea and might get lost with some of the other powerhouses before it. I do like the change of pace, however I think it would have worked better in the middle of the track and not the very end. Overall this is a decent record. I believe that there are several tracks on the album that people will pick up and run with. There are however some tracks that seems to just fall short and just pull a gab and add extra time to the record. With that being said, I really think this is a strong album musically as well as lyrically. You really have to dive into those lyrics head first and soak them up. Vocally I feel that the album is pretty strong as well, but I think some extra backing vocals and more changes of tone within songs would help out some as well. This is high on the list of Chevelle records for me and I think fans would have to agree with that statement.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Tracks to.The Damned, Under The Knife


Track List:

  1. Ouija Board
  2. An Island
  3. Take Out The Gunman
  4. Jawbreaker
  5. Hunter Eats Hunter
  6. One Ocean
  7. Choking Game
  8. The Damned1
  9. Under The Knife1
  10. Twinge


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