Grant Schwingle

If Chevelle’s new album The North Corridor sounds darker than the veteran hard rock group’s past few albums, that’s because the guys love playing in the dark. The follow-up to 2014’s La Gargola, due out July 8, takes listeners on a journey specifically engineered to play to the trio’s strengths as a live act.

“We have to play the singles that people know, and we always try to pepper in new stuff and stuff we like to play, which is usually heavier,” bassist Dean Bernardini, who makes up Chevelle with brothers Pete Loeffler and Sam Loeffler, tells Fuse. “I think this record was designed in a way to be more aggressive and more fun to play onstage, and that’s just going off the reactions we see from our perspective. You can tell when a crowd is into what you’re doing—I think that drove the darkness of this record. It was like, Let’s play more stuff that we love playing onstage!

The long-running group, best known for “Send the Pain Below” and “The Red,” once again teamed with producer Joe Barresi (Tool, Queens of the Stone Age) for The North Corridor, which immediately distinguishes itself as the group’s most dynamic effort in nearly a decade. That passion is fully on display in the crushing first single “Joyride (Omen),” as well as on the recently released “Young Wicked.”

“We’re anxious to play the new stuff,” Bernardini admits. “We’ve been sitting with it for over a year. It’s a defining moment for us, and [before the album release], people don’t really know what you’re playing. It gives us more freedom onstage.”

Fortunately, Chevelle will hit the road soon after the album release for a tour with rock stalwarts Bush. In addition to the live run, which kicks off on July 23, the band is playing one-off hard rock festivals across North America this summer.

“We did a couple tours with them over the last five years or so,” Bernardini says of Bush. “They’re all really cool guys, and … I grew up listening to Bush, so I always get a thrill when we get to play with a band like that.”