After a 5 year creative incubation, the beloved American rock band, Chevelle, has released their new and 9th album, NIRATIAS, which symbolically stands for “Nothing Is Real and This Is a Simulation”. The acronym itself is a foreshadow for what Chevelle has craftily prepared for public enthrallment. Recorded over a 2 year period between the years 2019 and 2020, their original release date was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, they’ve since decided “that pandemic or not, we are a rock band and writing and releasing music is just what we do. Even if it’s just for our mental health, it’s reason enough to put NIRATIAS out and feel some normalcy and pride in what we have been working on. As music fans, we appreciate this from the bands we follow and we hope our fans will appreciate it too.” And appreciate it they have: already 2 of the album’s 13 songs have reached the top 5 fan-based recommend list on their Spotify profile.
Currently sitting steady as their 3rd most popular song on said streaming service is the antagonistic number that is “Self Destructor”. It was previously released, and received with great welcome, early as a single with the purpose of whetting the appetite of hungry fans and to pave the way for the album’s full release. If it wasn’t already confirmed that the song was written in 2019, many listeners might at first glance mistakenly assume that it nods in reference towards the vociferous year that was 2020. As it is, the echoing chorus “Well it’s too much to lose/ It’s time, or self destruct/They don’t care what the science says/ They don’t want to talk” is actually a jab at those who would discredit science itself as fact — a notion the group blatantly dismiss.
Actually, like “Self Destructor”, “Peach,” and “Remember When,” there are two more gems also released as surprise singles, one after the other. “Peach” is a classic riff-heavy rock song with an unsettling edge and a definite, healthy injection of metal elements to it. One play will not only hook listeners, but is dangerously likely to get fans to crave it’s poignant urgency with the repeated inquiry “Who do you trust now?” as it’s agent. Juxtaposed with the third single release, “Remember When” is a melancholic, cautionary musing about grounding oneself when life thrusts you adrift. The lyrics, “Remember you’re souvenirs/The memory’s fuel in space/When you’re drifting off to nowhere” is the message disguised as a beautifully jarring motif.
Inspired by Elon Musk’s determination to voyage beyond planet Earth and into the stars towards Mars, comes the enchantment titled “Mars Simula”. In only 2 weeks of it’s release this hit already has almost 700,000 plays on Spotify alone. This quickly recognizable fan favorite is one to pop in some earbuds for, immerse into the simulation, and prepare to blast off into an experience only meticulous musicians can create.
While still staying true to their mission to “save rock”, NIRATIAS has added a new twist to Chevelle’s classic rock sound: a futuristic spin born of the lead vocalist and guitarist’s enthrallment with the unknowns of space and the mysteries of simulation theory. In fact, influenced by artists The Cure, Tool, and Helmet, Pete Loeffer’s vision and talent has been with the band since it first formed in Illinois in 1995. It’s safe to say that after over 20 years of music production, Chevelle has not only remained relevant but has also proven to be a trailblazer for the alternative rock and metal community. In each new song, the combination of the strings’ driving spirit, the drums riveting anthem, and the eery boldness of the vocals surmounts to something altogether otherworldly.
After all these years of silence, front-man Pete Loeffer admitted that a lot of Chevelle’s future depended on how well NIRATAS would be received. He even went as far as saying, “If people like this one, then I’m gonna continue on,” the singer he said. “And if not, it may be many years before we put out anything else. I may move on to some other side projects and let Chevelle sit for a minute. This is pretty much everything we could throw at it over four years’ time”. They then left their fate up to music lovers around the world. Their fears were quickly quieted, though, as the new album swiftly rose to the top. We don’t often see rock bands debut in the Billboard 200, but within the first week of release NIRATAS was among artists like Morgan Wallen, Pop Smoke, Dua Lipa, Ariana Grande, and Luke Combs at the top of the chart, 9th place to be exact.
Whether it be over a commute to work, a merry get-together with friends, or a new addition to a shared work-out playlist, it is not hard to believe that the composition of NIRATAS‘ chorale will unite old and new fans alike with lovers of classic science fiction. With rallied spirits and determination, both fans and Chevelle are stoked to see the new album doing so well and to hopefully hear it performed for live audiences soon.
Chevelle’s NIRATAS is now available on all streaming platforms. Listen now!