Chevelle might not be considered one of the top acts in hard rock. The Chicago-based trio hasn’t had multiple platinum albums of bands like Disturbed or Shinedown, and doesn’t headline amphitheaters and arenas. But drummer Sam Loeffler isn’t complaining about where Chevelle is two decades and eight albums into the group’s career.

Chevelle’s previous album, 2014’s “La Gargola,” had the highest chart debut (No. 3) of any of its releases and it produced a No. 1 single on “Billboard” magazine’s Mainstream Rock chart in “Take Out the Gunman.” Now “The North Corridor,” the group’s latest album, which debuted at No. 8 on “Billboard’s” Top 200 album chart, has produced another No. 1 Mainstream Rock single in “Joyride (Omen).” And it’s apparent to Loeffler that the group is still gradually growing its audience. With a healthy collection of top 10 rock hits in its arsenal, the group is enjoying the kind of reliable success that should be sustainable for years  to come. “Probably the best way that we see that happening is at our live shows,” Loeffler said in a recent phone interview. “We see a lot more younger people, people that didn’t start out with us or even start out in the last two records, people that just found this (“La Gargola”) record or found (the 2011 album) ‘Hats Off to the Bull.’ I think that’s sort of proof that things are still connecting because I can look out and I can see people in their early 20s, people in their teens, people in their late 20s, plus the people that are in their 30s or 40s that have been here with us for a long time and are fans of rock music. So I definitely think these records are connecting with a new audience.

“In the same way they’re finding AC/DC for the first time, they’re finding us as well,” he said. “That’s an incredible place to be.” The group got off to a particularly strong start at the outset of its recording career. After releasing its first studio album, “Point #1” in 1999 on the small label Squint Records, Chevelle signed to Epic Records. The band’s first album for the label, 2002’s “Wonder What’s Next,” put the group on the hard rock map in a big way. Featuring the hit singles “The Red” and “Send The Pain Below,” the album sold more than one million copies.

The 2004 release “This Type Of Thinking (Could Do Us In),” came next and went gold while producing two more rock radio hits, “Vitamin R (Leading Us Along)” and “The Clincher.”

The next four albums, “Vena Sera” (2007), “Sci-Fi Crimes” (2009),  “Hats Off to the Bull” and “La Gargola” didn’t match the sales of either of the first two major label albums But they achieved solid success, each selling several hundred thousand copies and adding several more top 10 rock radio hits to Chevelle’s resume.

Chevelle has continued to solidify its career while also pushing forward musically, trying to make each of its albums different and better than the last.

Getting these new dimensions into the music, though, was not easy when it came to “The North Corridor.” Several factors made the project more challenging than recent albums – beginning with the songwriting, which is handled by Loeffler’s brother, singer/guitarist Pete Loeffler.

“The main thing was we’re trying to write songs we haven’t written before – not just write songs he hadn’t written before, but also write something in a different vein than what he’s written

before,” Loeffler said. “So while maybe there’s a certain melody that comes to mind right away, he didn’t want to necessarily use that melody. He wanted to use something totally different because he wants the songs to be not only different from other songs, but different from what we’ve done in the past. So that was probably his biggest reason for sort of it taking a long time that way.” The group, which also includes bassist Dean Bernardini, also had to deal with not having producer Joe Baressi available as early in the project as he had been in producing “Hats Off to the Bull” and “La Gargola.”

With the previous two albums, Baressi was present for pre-production and took an active role with the band in evaluating and refining songs. For “La Gargola,” Baressi felt three songs the band brought in for the album were lacking and Loeffler ended up writing three new songs that strengthened that album.

For “The North Corridor,” the three band members had to do pre-production themselves and get Baressi to provide his input on the songs via the internet. It wasn’t ideal, Loeffler said, but everyone made it work.

“He probably would have liked to have gotten involved earlier than what he did, but it just wasn’t possible,” Loeffler said of Baressi. “He had some real family issues that he had to take care of. But he was still able to focus on the important stuff because we were still sending him demos. He just wasn’t sitting there with us, but he was still very, very much involved in not just from the demo perspective, but when obviously we were in the studio together, every single part of it.”

A change in the approach to recording also added some complications to the project. Rather than use Baressi’s studio, Chevelle decided to try a different facility, and Loeffler said this meant adjusting to a different environment and different studio personnel.

“It was probably unnecessary,” Loeffler said of the studio switch. “We probably could have just done it at Joe’s place. But even Joe had recommended it. He was like ‘Let’s try something different and go somewhere else, and ultimately I think that it doesn’t make that much of a difference because the production of it is the production of it, and where you do it, I don’t think it makes a difference.” In the end, “The North Corridor” came out well, and Chevelle got an album that introduces some new wrinkles. Most obviously, it’s one of the band’s heaviest albums, with many songs employing fairly abrasive guitar tones and tempos ranging from deliberate and thick – as on “Door To Door Cannibals,” “Last Days” and “Joyride (Omen)” — to fast and aggressive (“Enemies” and ”Warhol’s Showbiz”), with Pete Loeffler delivering some fierce vocals (especially on “Rivers” and “Young Wicked”). Still, the band builds enough hooks into the bracing sound to keep the songs plenty listenable. On a more subtle level, Loeffler noted, he used a variety of different drum setups (sometimes within the same song) to add rhythmic interest and left more room for guitar solos and instrumental parts. The new songs should work well live, but Loeffler said Chevelle isn’t going overboard on playing its latest material as it plays a few shows to end the year.

“We’re trying to pick out some song we haven’t played in a long time without it being too deep a cut that people don’t remember it,” he said. “So you’ve got some singles, some really deep cuts, a couple of new songs. It is difficult, because at this point we’ve published 90-something songs probably. So we really have to pick out somewhere around 18 songs to play (for a headlining set). It gets pretty difficult to write a set list.

“It’s a good problem to have,” Loeffler concluded. “High class problems we call that.”

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