A greatest hits usually signifies the end of an era for a band. The perfect example is Breaking Benjamin's greatest hits release that came out on Hollywood Records a few years ago. The band hasn't been heard from since then. (If there's a big announcement in three weeks, you can thank me for the reverse jinx.) Anyway, greatest hits albums can signify the end of a band or the end of the band's tenure on a label. Evidently that's not the case with Chevelle. At the end of 2012 they released their greatest hits album with Epic Records, Stray Arrows. Now in April of 2014, they're back with a new album, La Gargola - also out on Epic Records.
Chevelle hasn't changed the formula of what they do well with the past few albums. It's straight-forward hard rock with a bit of a Tool influence that's slightly more melodic and accessible to mainstream audiences. La Gargola is prototypical Chevelle in that way, but there's a little more to it than that too. The album isn't shackled by creative constraints. There's no forced single here. There's no creative compromising for Chevelle, and you can tell this is the record that they wanted to make. There are blistering guitar solos, heavy-handed bridges, minute long instrumentals, and six minute songs spattered everywhere on this album. And while that might not be textbook Chevelle - it's what always should have been textbook Chevelle. It's not that they've never done anything like that on an album before, but they're doing a lot of it with this record. There are some other notable traits that are worth mentioning with this album; notably the guitar effects on this record are trimmed down considerably for a Chevelle record, but the key element is that uncompromising creativity.
Chevelle's latest album comes packed with a healthy amount of cool. There are songs that try and tear your speakers apart, but they're accompanied by some immensely beautiful moments too. "One Ocean" is one of the most unique and special Chevelle songs that the band has released because it's so unlike anything they've ever done and there are two or three other songs like that on the record. This album ends up being something really outstanding from Chevelle - is it the quintessential record from the band and one that everyone should listen to before everything else? Probably not. But here's the best thing about this record - it's not the Chevelle record that you've always wanted them to make, it's the Chevelle record that they've always wanted to make.