Chevelle – Vena Sera
Label: Epic Records
Released: April 3, 2007
Before my days of forced labor in an un-air-conditioned paint warehouse, my summers were filled with embarrassing sports camps and lots of clandestine MTV watching (my mother referred to the channel as “Trash TV”). One of these usually forgettable summers was a bit different, however, due in part to a music video called “The Red” and a particularly bad case of athlete’s foot. I had never much been a fan of hard rock or alt-metal, so I was very surprised to become addicted to the megahit by Chevelle. The song held a lot of meaning for me with its cries of being a freak and whatnot. Fearing the rest of Wonder What’s Next would let me down; I never searched for another song by the band… until now. With their 4th album, Vena Sera, Chevelle have set out to create more of the same that made me love “The Red” so many awkward years ago.
Vena Sera will not stun anyone with its creative approach to rock or metal or alternative music (depending which song you hear or who you ask). But what the album will do is have you coming back more than a few times to engulf yourself in the heavy riffs and manly baritone of Pete Loeffler.
Most songs feature semi-random and high-pitched screams that, while downplayed, still feel awkward and forced. “The Fad” is a perfect example of too much scream and not enough sing, while single “Well Enough Alone” is a smart balance. Opening with a throat-piercing wail, the rest of “Well Enough Alone” is a catchy rock song with just enough mix between Heaven and Hell (if Heaven was run by Tony Brummel). Opener “Antisaint” utilizes some of the heaviest guitars on Vena Sera along with those distorted vocals that sound as if Loeffler is singing through a 1930’s telephone. Perfect music for the revival of Are You Afraid Of The Dark? I think so. Nickelodeon, make it happen.
The choruses on Vena Sera are very worthy of a dirty sing-along with all your dirty friends. Anger works well for Chevelle, and all parts of “Brainiac”, from the chugging guitars to the vengeful chorus, create a feeling of loathing (to who or what isn’t important). “Paint the Seconds” is a slower track with screechy guitar solos and plenty of melodic bits. The track would have made a much more satisfying closer than “Saturdays”, which ends the album with an ellipsis, rather than an exclamation point.
Chevelle might never write a song as catchy as “The Red” again, but that doesn’t mean Vena Sera is bad. It’s unfair to compare that nostalgic song to these newer offerings (Bias? In a review?), but I can’t forget as easily as I remember. Their large fan base will certainly devour all the heavy and lovingly schizophrenic details of Vena Sera, while the casual “fan” won’t be disappointed either. As for me, I enjoy Vena Sera for now. But just as the automobile paint I stocked for hours on end, the shine has to go away sometime.
Recommended If You Like: (new) A.F.I., Korn, muscle cars, pleather, Marlboro Reds, Ozzfest
This CD is actually quite good. I didn't want to like it since so many CD's came out yesterday, but I listened to it and was really impressed. It's weird because it's still Chevelle for the 4th time, but their sound hasn't gotten old yet. I still like songs off their first 2 records better (Point #1 and Wonder), but those are just nostalgic songs for me. Good review.