Vena Sera [Epic]

On his band’s fourth release, guitarist/vocalist Pete Loeffler cranks out a ton of the grinding PRS-into-a-Boogie power chords that his fans have come to expect. He also throws in, however, more varied timbres and dynamics than on previous records, making Vena Sera a little less bombastic and a little more accessible. The Sabbathy 6/8 intro to “Humanoid” makes for a devilish bit of distorted deception. “The Fad” features a cool wah breakdown before a sinewy dropped-D riff snakes its way around your throat. It’s the tune “Paint the Seconds” that brings in the most guitar tones, with its acoustic setup, metronomic verse chug, bouncy-but-heavy pre-chorus, and bashing refrain. Fans of Tool will either love or hate the marked similarities between the two bands, but Vena Sera should further cement Chevelle’s rep as a serious player in the hard rock genre.
—Matt Blackett