Vena Sera Review

artist: Chevelle date: 07/13/2007 category: compact discs

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Chevelle: Vena Sera
Release Date: Apr 3, 2007
Label: Epic
Genres: Alternative Metal, Post-Grunge
Number Of Tracks: 11
Despite the absence of one-third of Chevelle's trio of brothers, the band's latest album will still likely churn out more than a few single-worthy songs.
 Sound: 8.8
 Lyrics: 8.6
 Overall Impression: 8.7
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (9) 41 comments vote for this album:
overall: 8.3
Vena Sera Reviewed by: UG Team, on april 13, 2007
4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: Chevelle's latest CD Vena Sera is a milestone of sorts for the band, marking the first release since bassist Joe Loeffler was kicked out of the band by bandmates (and brothers) Pete and Sam Loeffler. Even though one-third of the Chevelle equation has been subtracted, the sound of Chevelle is not altered too much by Joe's absence and fans of hits like The Clincher should be satisfied by Vena Sera. In the opening track Antisaint, vocalist Pete Loeffler sounds eerily like Tool's Maynard James Keenan, from delivery to the slightly effects-muffled vocals (a la Stinkfist). For this reviewer, that is a compliment to Loeffler, who shows both range and passion in Antisaint. The guitar, bass, and drums never go into Tool timing by any means, but it's still a solid rock offering. The distorted, chugging guitar riff that carries the entire song is not necessarily the band's most original, but it still is memorable and a cool listen. Brainiac is one of the weaker tracks on Vena Sera, due in part to the repetitive aspects of both the vocal and guitar work. Although there is a clever little hook underneath the vocals during the verses, the song does take a huge turn in the chorus, with a grooving, slowed-down tempo. A few of the songs get stuck in the same type of repetition that Brainiac does, but the band still manages to add enough unique touches in other areas to keep listeners' interest. Humanoid shows off some of Chevelle's best work, from the introductory riff to how the song is broken up in several musical sections. The beginning riff has a grooving, up-and-down quality that is abruptly halted by the verse's entrance. Pete Loeffler's vocals are doubled by the guitar for much of the verse, and it adds some nice texture to the song. You might even want to listen through earphones to truly accentuate the vocal and guitar tracks. The chorus goes in another direction altogether, and by the end of the song you can sense the effort that was put into creating Humanoid. // 8

Lyrics: Loeffler's lyrics are particularly strong on the latest album, with no shortage of interesting imagery. Brainiac immediately displays some unusual lyrical content with Loeffler singing, Time holds us for the minute; It drives the risks like penicillin; Each of these men holds a pentagram; So recent all the surge. The metaphor for time is a fascinating one, and it adds a bit of a poetic quality to the first verse. The chorus takes a bit of a humorous turn with Loeffler singing how we miss one cell and should've combined to save brains. The term poetic might not fit with this portion, but it's actually still a bit more clever than the verse. The band definitely uses devices like similes and metaphors a lot more than the average band, and you never know what things Loeffler will make comparisons to in each song. In Saturdays, the comparison of choice is somewhat animalistic. He sings, We've lost the minds; We came to know; Like cattle out in the cold; We begged for months. There will be critics out there who think Loeffler might just be trying to be too deep, but at least he is putting some thought into what he lays on paper. // 9

Overall Impression: Pete Loeffler has always seemed to take charge of the songwriting process, so the absence of bassist Joe Loeffler has not dramatically changed Chevelle's sound. Pete shines in the moments when he takes more of a risk in terms of song formats, breaking up the songs into sections that you wouldn't necessarily expect to go together. It would be great to hear a few more risky songs on Vena Sera, but fans of the band's earlier material should find Chevelle's new material just as appealing. Vena Sera is not without its problems, but it is still generally an enjoyable rock album. Thanks to Pete Loeffler's intense delivery (the frontman doesn't even need to scream to convey the emotion behind the lyrics, either) and some inspired hooks, Chevelle will likely find it's songs finding a home once again on radio. While radio might be a horrible thing to a lot of people out there, in this case it just means that there are enough catchy rock songs to appeal to a large audience. // 8

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overall: 10
Vena Sera Reviewed by: ZanasCross, on april 13, 2007
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: For those who loved the first albums, prepare yourself. I put it in, and was almost disappointed at first, it just didn't have the same sound as Chevelle's previous efforts. Yet, the more I listened to it, the more I loved it. The sound is different, it's less melodic, heavier, and more harmony. They flirt with punk, yet remain in a league all their own as far as sound. The harmonies and different vocal styles along with the different and more hardcore and driven guitar riffs leaves me desiring more and more. I love the sound, it's my favorite of their albums. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics are much less cryptic in this album. The other ones were all metaphors, and while this isn't completely gone, there are a lot more songs, for example "I get it." which are straight to the point and are almost a direct social commentary on life and dealing with people. The vocals are more spread around in this album, with harmonies and not just the lead voice. I love his voice though, it's very distinct, and his range and transitions between screaming and singing are amazing, just as in the previous albums. Some words to seem slurred though (outside of the screaming) and I had to look up some of the lyrics to sing along. Still, classic chevelle with a more direct range and some awesome harmonies. // 10

Overall Impression: I love this album. IT's by far my favorite of theirs, and quite possibly my favorite of all time. The lyrics and guitar aggressive, flirting with punk but falling just short of that which is a great place to be in my opinion. It's very different from the rest of their stuff though. The best part is, unlike their previous albums, there really are not stand out albums. I've listened straight through this album at least 15 times and it won't be leaving my player anytime soon. There isn't any track like, "The Red" on this one that steals the spotlight, but there also aren't any I can bring myself to skip. I'd replace this album in a heartbeat. It's amazing. // 10

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overall: 7
Vena Sera Reviewed by: corhyno, on april 13, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Chevelle is back minus one loeffler brother with Vena Sera. It has been said that most of the songs are based on previous recording the band has made in the past, but really what does that matter. The sound on Chevelle's new album Vena Sera is well, what you'd expect from Chevelle. However there are some noticable differences. First off it seems a bit mellower than previous Chevelle albums on the vocal side of things. Pete tends to do a lot less screaming on this album (save for a few moments). I really like his screaming so this is a huge downer for me. The vocals are fairly clean and soft throughout. The entire CD tends to follow a made for radio kinda feel. Nothing really unexpected happens. The guitar work is classic Chevelle. Fairly heavy throughout with plenty of pick scrapes and palm muted riffs. The guitar work seems to have a bit more depth this time around. There are no fancy guitar solos still but I honestly don't think they would work with Chevelle's musical style. I've always had a certain fondness for Petes guitar playing. On the bass side of thing you once again have classic chevelle. However that's not entirely good for the bass. They did remove Joe Loeffler their previous bassist with Dean Bernardini but it makes little difference as Pete writes the bass guitar aswell (However I'm not 100% sure of that on Vena Sera) Either way bass tends to follow the guitar most of the time doing nothing realy exciting. Even then I really like the bassline during the verse on I Get It, it just has a certain groove to it. Overall the bass never does anything to stand out and that needs to change. Sam Loeffler does a good job on the drumming. Sure it's nothing astounding but he keeps the rhythm. // 7

Lyrics: Pete has amazing vocal skills. One of the best vocalists of our time in my opinion, when he hits a good high note it gives me chills, Pete's Vocals fit surprisingly well with the heavy instrumentals. Even when they are playing low and heavy his clean well sung vocals never seem out of place. It all comes together very well. There is very little Screaming on this album when compared the the others which I find takes away some of that true Chevelle feel. I've found that the lyrics on Vena Sera havn't had as big an impact on me as This type of Thinking or Wonder what's Next. I do really like the lyrics in some songs, namely Straight Jacket Fashion and Paint the Seconds. However Most of the lyrics tend to stick to a traditional formula. However lyrics aren't exactly what I listen to Chevelle for, they get the job done though. // 7

Overall Impression: If I where to compare Vena Sera to Chevelles other albums I'd say it ranks above Point #1 yet below This Thinking and Wonder what's Next. The album seems somewhat repetetive when compared to them, and a lot of the songs just don't stand out to me. I do really like Straight Jacket Fashion and The Fad, Easily my 2 favorite songs on the album. The opener Anti-Saint, and the first single Well Enough Alone are up there but not quite as good as the other 2. Overall The album seems a bit repetetive and a lot of the songs are forgettable. Petes wonderful singing skills help make some of the less inspired songs more enjoyable, but they still feel slightly hollow. I think more screaming on par with Chevelles older albums would have helped to spice things up a bit, but alas they didn't think so. The instrumentals seem a tad better with more riffs per song than their other album. Even if only slightly the instrumentals are better. I will say though that even though I seem harsh I do still like the album it's just not quite was I was hoping for. If the CD where stolen I don't think I'd make another purchase of it. After all I already got it ripped to my computer. If it where stolen and my hard drive wiped well, I'd consider it but I really think I'd just buy something else. My advice, go on itunes and get Anti-Saint, Well Enough Alone, Straight Jacket Fashion and The Fad. Leave the rest out. // 7

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overall: 9.7
Vena Sera Reviewed by: unregistered, on april 13, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: When he said they sound vintage with balls, it's true. I think that this CD sounds almost as if it should have come before This type of thinking. This CD took me a listen to get used to, because I was expecting more of an adaption of this TTOT, with more of the songs sounding like Well Enough Alone The drums and guitar are still great, but there's one more thing that shines on the cd, the bass guitar. it has a much larger presence in the songs than the older Chevelle did. If you're looking for hard Chevelle, this is the right CD to listen to. Check out Humanoid, it's one of my favorites. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics are very much the usual Chevelle. The lyrics have to be thought about, and many different meanings can be deduced from just one song. My personal favorites are Humanoid, Saturdays, and Saferwaters, with Saferwaters being my favorite lyrically. His singing has changed, maybe for the better, but I sure miss the old style like TTOT. Without another singer, his voice is layered, and I wonder how well it will work in concert. I'll see on the 12, I'm seeing them at the agora, and I'll leave a comment in here. He has cut down screaming, and expanded his singing, especially in the higher ranges. In a few of the songs, he carries a voice that sounds almost as if it were stolen from Maynard when he was making something for a perfect circle. Overall, amazing, and singable. For someone like me, this CD is much easier to sing if I want to cover it in my band, because of the decrease in screaming. // 9

Overall Impression: Well, I bought the CD the day it came out, and the next day I found it had two bonus tracks at bestbuy. I was quite pissed, so I went and bought it. It's pretty hard to pick the best songs from the album, as they are all great, but right now my favorite seems to be Saferwaters. I love the new sound. The one thing I hated was the bonus songs only at bestbuy, and there is also one on itunes. Well, if it was stolen, I'd go buy another copy at bestbuy to get the extra songs, hunt down the person that stole it, and shove the one from target down their throat. Go check out this CD, I highly doubt you'll be disappointed. // 10

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overall: 7.7
Vena Sera Reviewed by: Gakusey, on april 13, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Chicago alternative metal band's 4th album follows the formula "more of the same" rather than breaks new ground and tries to revolutionize their sound. Now is it a bad thing? It's a difficult question to answer. On one hand, if you enjoy their music you're certainly going to like this album. All that's good about the band is here in abundance: hard-hitting down-tuned riffs, Pete Loeffler's brilliant vocals, cryptic lyrics and this pure energy that Chevelle is all about. But, to be quite honest with you, I as a fan who discovered them way back in 1999 would have preferred to see the brothers' music somehow evolve. They've released a solid debut record with Point #1, established themselves as an important band with Wonder What's Next and finally solidified their previous efforts with This Type Of Thinking. Now why not try something different in Vena Sera? I guess they really like the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" formula. Or they simply enjoy the music they're making and see no need to "progress". Either way, it's a very solid effort, but the lack of any meaningful innovation (even with a new bassist) kind of spoils the picture. And the guitar work, though great, is somewhat monotonous, if I may. // 7

Lyrics: Pete's lyrics have always kind of made me wonder what the hell is it all about. In my opinion, he's not trying to convey a specific meaning or tell a mind-boggling story in his songs. Rather, the lyrics in conjunction with their heavy music creates a much-needed atmosphere, a sort of emotional aura around the songs. And goddammit, it works! Sometimes, though, the songs are a bit too meaningless, but most of the time the lyrics are just right. They don't exactly make you think, but they simply work as an instrument to create the energy and the emotion, which is certainly there. And Pete deserves credit for that. Together with his kind-of unique singing style it works wonders! Just don't try to read them as poems, listen to the songs themselves and you're going to understand what you're saying. Furthermore, his writing has somewhat evolved in comparison to This Type Of Thinking (I still hold Wonder What's Next as the pinnacle). There's a bit more consistency in Vena Sera's lyrics. Finally, how can you not like a song like Safewaters?! Who the hell cares what the actual lyrics are and how "together" (as opposed to a bunch of weird phrases drawn out of a hat and arranged in a particular order) they are. It just works, end of story. As a down point (because I can't honestly give the lyrics more than an 8), I would have liked to see at least a couple of maybe less energetic but more, well, meaningful and emotional (but in another kind of way) songs. Maybe a ballad, maybe a small story. But make no mistake, Chevelle's lyrics are much better than those of some of the similar bands because they lack a particular topic, and that's great! I would have hated to hear about parental trouble, US world dominance or whatever. Pete's singing is awesome, coupled with an occasional scream here or there which fits very well. He's actually reaching some high notes on this one. // 8

Overall Impression: It certainly is a strong album with an array of awesome hard-hitting emotional songs and, as usual, some less impressive tracks towards the end of the album. I can't imagine myself putting "Midnight To Midnight" or "Saturdays" on repeat, for example. They're there just to add to the number and showcase some good riffs. But the overall impression from some of the songs isn't good. Though the good stuff more than compensates for the occasional filler material. Songs like "Antisaint", a strong opener, "Safewaters", a brilliant very Chevelle-like track which somewhat resembles "Closure" and "Vitamin R", the single "Well Enough Alone", the action-packed "The Fad" and "Humanoid" (learn that intro riff, now! ). Another plus is that there's not a single acoustic ballad here. Sadly Chevelle have no talent in writing them because they end up a bit too cheesy. Vena Sera is heavy as hell throughout. But my philosophy is that an album is an album, not simply a collection of songs (so when you have enough, you release the album). So it should be viewed and treated as such. Remember, no two people are alike, so might simply love "Midnight To Midnight". Just listen to the whole album, maybe in halves if it's too long for you (it's not long though). Thus as an album it's definitely a solid effort. Maybe a bit on the safe side. It will certainly please the majority of the fans, but I am somewhat disappointed by the lack of any kind of innovation in Chevelle's music. Hey, it's their 4th album, isn't it about time to start thinking of maybe doing something a wee bit different? Oh well. So, the bottom line is, if you like Chevelle, you're gonna enjoy this album. It's a very solid polished effort packed with heavy riffs and distorted chords, awesome vocals and some tight rhythm work from Dean and Sam (though I was somewhat unimpressed with the latter's work on this album: no progress as well; I really liked his drum work on This Type Of Thinking). If you're new to this band, you might enjoy this album too, since it's very similar to their previous work. In fact, I doubt anyone will notice any kind of change if they create a playlist out of three of their last albums. It's good heavy music, alternative metal, post-grunge, whatever you call it. The band isn't trying to break any new ground, I guess. They just want to rock as hard as they can, which they do. Now surely no one can blame them for this? It's just that it doesn't leave this special mark, as some albums do. It's a "Hell yeah!" kind of music when you listen to it, but you'll forget most of it in 5 minutes. You know what I mean? So a solid 8 is what's it worth. Not less, but sadly not a 0.1 more. // 8

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overall: 9.3
Vena Sera Reviewed by: toolfan_121, on april 13, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: The sound is a little different from Chevelle's previous efforts. I have been a long time fan of chevelle, and I have to say, the boys sound tighter than ever on this record. The departure of old bassist Joe, and the addition of Dean on bass, may have something to do with it. The band themselves said that a lot of the problems they were having have been resolved and they had a good time recording the record. It shows. Pete himself said that he wanted to do more singing and less screaming, to try and explore the upper registries of his voice. There is still a little screaming, and by the way, his scream is the coolest I've ever heard in my opinion. The intro of Well Enough Alone shows this. The guitars are still detuned, and the riffs are angry, but the songs are now more upbeat, and you just get a cool feel while listening to the record. I'm not quite sure how to describe it, but it is really cool. I would say this is the best sound they have ever had. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics are really cool. They fit the music perfectly, and Pete's voice is awesome. One of my favorite singers. His screams are less abundant than in the past, but they are still cool. One of my favorite songs, is SaferWaters. It's about a man who is fed up with society and wants to crawl back to sea, and the origins of man. The lyrics are geniously written, and on top of that catchy. The first time I heard it, I was humming it all day. I also got an image of an ocean in my mind, which was probably the intent. All the lyrics are well written, and pete's voice is amazing, as I've already stated. You can just literally feel his emotion. There are moments when the music and lyrics fit so perfectly, I actually get chills. One example is the break in Brainiac. I would describe that as soaring. These are the best lyrics I have ever heard from Chevelle. // 9

Overall Impression: This is probably my favorite Chevelle album. They try some new things and the results are favorable. Some of the best songs are Antisaint, Brainiac, SaferWaters, Well Enough Alone, The Fad, and others. Really, there isn't a poor track on the whole album. I like how pete sings more, I do kinda miss the screams, but they're still there, and that would make it more accessible or whatever, to more people. The new bassist, Dean, is a good bass player, and you can hear the bass in more songs now. Sam is a gread drum player, and holds the guys together. This is an awesome album. If it were lost or stolen, I wouldn't hesitate to go out and buy another copy. This album actually convinced me to get heavier strings for my guitar so I could write lower tuned riffs like them. Flat out awesome. // 9

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overall: 9
Vena Sera Reviewed by: edaround, on april 13, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Well after the big smash, Wonder What's Next, chevelle get into a rock scene where is hard to keep the step, but anyways, the second major release helped Chevelle to keep the spot where they are right now, but with this third album "Vena Sera," they define and set themselves has a very mature band, and they are carving out a sound that will help you to identify them immediately, they got deep into the sound they gave in "The Type Of Thinking". The opening track "Antisaint" grabs you to never release you until the final track. The awesome guitar sound of Pete, appears once again here in the album and the drums offer an excellent sound and rhythms, including the double bass that lately is helping the songs to have another style. "Straight Jacket Fashion" And "Humanoid" are the tracks that were played in shows with Nickelback, and Evanescence, and they sound awesome live, without all the studio arranges, so now in the album the songs are pretty awesome. The style of "Straight Jacket Fashion" it's great, and don't mention the double bass in this track, I have no words. to play awesome you don't need to play as faster as you can, it's just the style and how you play it, and it's what Sam got. and well the First Single "Well Enough Alone", it really captivates yo, with the chorus style that they have been using in tracks like "The Red", "Closure" And "Breach Birth" to name a few. The "Safewaters" track features a kind of bridge that I never imagined on chevelle, it's very good, and also a great sound on "The Fad", this track keeps what the roots of the band are. Chevelle delivers a great sound, and there's no doubt. // 10

Lyrics: About the lyrics, Pete did it again, he has an awesome ability to write songs, he doesn't need love or drama themes to make the song sound great. He sings in a way that makes you believe every line of the song. I don't have much to say about the lyrics, just they are quite ok for this album. // 8

Overall Impression: I see a change in Chevelle, and I don't know if the change of the bass player had influenced on it. But I have nothing against it, the sound it's really great for their third major release. This sound fits exactly in Concert Halls, and why not Late Shows and NHL games? I recommend this album, of course, for every fan of Chevelle, also to the first metal listeners that are looking for something not too heavy and people that could be looking for something fresh. Here is the third major release of this Chicago's trio. Don't miss the chance to own this great album. really it's worthy for buying. // 9

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overall: 7.7
Vena Sera Reviewed by: Jondy, on april 16, 2007
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: I only tested this with Well Enough Alone, but from the overall sound I think all the songs are this way: Chevelle has giving up megadrop tunings. Which quite frankly I miss. I didn't think I would but I also miss their old bassist. Not just for his base, but for his backup singing. The new basist is good, but he doesn't have any/many solo parts anymore, and doesn't little/no backup singing. Overall the sound is higher, faster, and smoother. It's really a great sound, it's just a step down imo. I liked how Chevelle put empahsis on long low grinding power chords. But it still sounds really good. Really they're just trying something new, and going a new direction with a different bassist. Can't knock them for not producing a record exactly like their others. Also, lots more wah, experimentation with tones, new clean tones. // 8

Lyrics: Lyrics are same old Chevelle. Same old slightly cryptic, slightly making sense, open to interpretation Chevelle lyrics. Very good. Though nothing has struck me as quite as classic as say clincher or the red, but maybe in time. Also a notable change would be the lyrics are less repetitive. Which depending on your tastes could be good, bad, or just different. As far as the singing goes, great singer. Although for some reason, I think it might be either due to faster speed or just some sfx, his voice sounds like it fades into a sloppy spitting sound at the end of some words. Kind of weird, but it works ok. // 7

Overall Impression: I'll be honest here, I like Wonder What's Next and This Type of Thinking better, but I'm really just a sucker for megadrop tunings. So far no single songs have stuck out to me except Well Enough Alone, but I really think that's only because I heard it a million times before the actual release of the album. It's really a good record, I couldn't find any reason to hate it, just haven't adjusted to the change in sound yet. If it were lost or stolen, ok suppose I bought the CD instead of downloading it from iTunes, and I didn't have a computer, yes I would buy it again because I'm a huge Chevelle fan. // 8

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overall: 9.3
Vena Sera Reviewed by: Bizkit68, on july 13, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Chevelle are back with an album worthy to compete with their second album "Wonder What's Next". On this album, the band flourish with their heavy, alternative rock. At times, sounding like Tool. Songs like "Antisaint", which, in my opinion, is the best track on the album, kicks off the album well. It has a "Family System" feel to it (Family System is the first track on "Wonder What's Next"). Other stand out tracks include 'Brainiac', Well Enough Alone' and 'Midnight to Midnight' // 9

Lyrics: Once again, Pete Loeffler, writes some intense lyrics for this record. The opening lines on the song are, "Visit again white elephant, who sent you to the loom?" A very odd lyric, but dark nonetheless. The album has a gloomy feel to it. And it's very enjoyable. // 10

Overall Impression: Chevelle are a force to be reckoned with in the rock community. Don't put them to far away from the top of the best acts around. When this band writes, they have a flare for writing very catchy, entertaining tunes. That doesn't mean that at the same time, they don't rock the hell our of you with their heaviness. Great band, great album. A must buy for any rock fan. // 9

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