Ranking the Chelleve Albums


Parker Traman

When it comes to what is commonly defined as “radio rock”, only one band has stuck around in my general listening standards, and that’s Illinois’s own, Chevelle. Formed in the mid-1990’s by the Loeffler brothers, the band released a slew of albums that provide an astounding amount of versatility among the fields of modern rock music. In a world where Breaking Benjamin, Nickelback, Three Days Grace, and Disturbed dominated the charts, in my opinion, Chevelle dominates all of them on basically every musical level. So allow me, in all of my wisdom, to rank this fine band’s discography.

#9: Point #1 (1999):

No surprise here as Chevelle’s debut effort hits rock bottom. It’s a record with interesting choices made, clearly inspired by the various progressive and post-grunge bands of the era. The somewhat sludgy and echoed style is interesting and provides probably the most unique Chevelle listen, however barely any tracks stand out. “Open,” the title track, and “Mia” are highlights of an otherwise dull experience.

#8:) Hats Off to the Bull (2011):

This one might tick off some die hard (or basic) fans of the band, but their 2011 effort comes off as a phoned in one in an otherwise fantastic catalogue of music. Featuring a surprising lack of new creative ideas and radio friendly material, this record does little to expand upon the band’s abilities to write new and interesting music. The lead single “Face to the Floor,” the title track, and “Piñata” are the only tracks I revisit, and are quite amazing, but it bums me out that every other song doesn’t build upon that.

#7:) La Gárgola (2014):
The band’s 2014 release (whose title translates to The Gargoyle) is by far their goofiest. They experiment with what seems like a bajillion instruments and styles here, and you might think that it’s a good thing. Sadly, some of these endeavors don’t stick the landing. “Ouija Board,” “An Island,” and “Take Out the Gunman” all provide a great time however, with “One Ocean” giving us a slow burn that shifts the album away from its relentless heaviness for Chevelle standards.

#6:) Sci-Fi Crimes (2009):

A middle of the pack Chevelle record here, as while, yes, it does have my favorite song by them (that being “Jars”), it quite simply can’t compare to the next five. Lyrically, this album makes zero sense, and it seems as if that was intentional. Luckily, the instrumentation balances out the somewhat incomprehensible lyrical content, however this style was perfected upon by the band some years later.

#5:) N.I.R.A.T.I.A.S. (2021):

The band’s most recent record, which is an acronym for Nothing is Real and This is a Simulation, is that aforementioned record that perfected Sci-Fi Crimes‘s style, improving upon the lyrics and the “sci-fi” portion of the record. The band’s only concept album which details humanity’s voyage into Mars, it’s held up by a fantastic first half. “So Long, Mother Earth” and “Self-Destructor” are top tier Chevelle tracks, however the second half bogs it down. The last two tracks in particular, “Ghost and Razor” and “Lost in Digital Woods” blow. In fact they blow so much, they dropped this album from number four on this list.

#4:) The North Corridor (2016):

If I were to put the “metal” label on any of Chevelle’s albums, it would be this one. Featuring the band’s most vile riffs and powerful dynamics, The North Corridor caters to the Chevelle fan who wanted more of the alt-metal label the band got back in the day. Although this isn’t all thunderstorms and death, as the second half of the album slows down and features many electronic influences, which actually provide something interesting (looking at you, N.I.R.A.T.I.A.S.).

#3:) Wonder What’s Next (2002):

Despite the fact that this made it into the top three, and it’s the band’s most popular release to date, there was no way to jump beyond three for this little guy. It is everyone’s first Chevelle record, as it features cornerstones of the band such as “The Red,” “Send the Pain Below,” and “Closure,” but features underrated gems like “Family System,” “Comfortable Liar,” and “Don’t Fake This”. Yeah, it’s pretty dang good, but the next two are near Chevelle perfection.

#2:) Vena Sera (2007):

Okay I did lie on my last point, this was my first Chevelle album…yeah. The band didn’t pull any punches here, releasing a solid as heck album with little to complain about. “Antisaint,” “Well Enough Alone,” and “The Fad” give us that heavy flavor while “Saferwaters” and “Saturdays” give us the slower burns. This was almost number one, and on a given day it might claim that spot, but today it is not.

#1:) This Type of Thinking (Could Do Us In) (2004):

Coming off the heels of Wonder What’s Next, the band said, “Okay, time to release one of the best rock albums of our generation.” Yeah, I said it, fight me. The very best Chevelle has to offer lies within the track list of this record, with “The Clincher,” “Vitamin R (Leading Us Along),” “Breach Birth,” “Another Know-It-All,” and “Bend the Bracket” leading the charge.

Yeah, I’m done now. Eat Arby’s.