October 22, 2018 Chevelle – 12 Bloody Spies: B-Sides and Rarities (Album Review)
Multi-platinum Hard Rock trio Chevelle has made quite a name for themselves since releasing their first album in 1999. Now, with eight studio albums under their belt including 2016’s highly-regarded The North Corridor, Chevelle are taking a quick break between albums to serve their dedicated fanbase a collection of B-sides and rarities entitled 12 Bloody Spies: B-Sides and Rarities.
Due out for release on Friday, October 26th on the band’s longtime label Epic Records, 12 Bloody Spies compiles hard-to-find tracks that span the length of Chevelle’s impressive career. These sought-after tracks have all been freshly remastered and are now ready to be devoured for the first time.
Chevelle has been developing their signature sound for nearly twenty years now, so at first listen 12 Bloody Spies feels like a brand new LP. These tracks all share similar characteristics that fans have become familiar with, and though each song is pulled from a different era, the album as a whole flows together quite nicely.
The thoughtful packaging and presentation proves that Chevelle is taking great care with the release of 12 Bloody Spies. Too often these compilations can feel like a desperate money-grab, but this one at least feels artfully put together. No doubt fans will devour these remastered and now easily-accessible rarities while they wait to see what Chevelle is cooking up for their ninth LP.
Opener “A Miracle” is among the newer of these tracks, originally recorded as a bonus track for The North Corridor. It oscillates between Metal-inspired chugging riffs and melodic vocals from Guitarist/Vocalist Pete Loeffler. Loeffler’s vocals and incredible range are one of Chevelle’s main pillars, and those vocals are the driving force behind the first two singles from 12 Bloody Spies, both of which were originally bonus tracks from 2007’s Vena Sera. “In Debt to the Earth” begins with minimal instrumentals, shifting the vocals to Loeffler’s soft verses before evolving into a raw, gritty chorus backed by rumbling bass and explosive drums. “Sleep Walking Elite” brings the power from the very first notes, making it easily one of the highlights of this collection.
12 Bloody Spies does not only contain bonus tracks, however. It also features re-imagined versions of old favorites including a stellar acoustic rendering of “Sleep Apnea” off 2009’s Sci-Fi Crimes, which tones down the original’s thick riffs and turns up the vocals on Loeffler’s vocals. Following that is a brand new subdued version of “The Clincher” off fan-favorite 2004 LP This Type of Thinking (Could Do Us In). Also featured is a cover of Irish Alternative Rock band Compulsion’s “Delivery.”
Not every Chevelle track is heavy Hard Rock like “Fizgig” or “Indifference,” though. The band also tossed in “Glimpse of the Con,” a slow, airy vocal-driven effort that adds some much-needed variety into 12 Bloody Spies so that the end result feels well-balanced.
Even if you have never listened to Chevelle before, there are still plenty of songs here worth your time. Chevelle have proven over the years that they are masters of their craft, blending Hard Rock riffs and powerful lyrics with accessible vocals and melodies – 12 Bloody Spies is no exception. For these reasons, CrypticRock gives this album 4 out of 5 stars.