The Chewers — Noise Rock at its Rawest


The Chewers is not a band for the faint of heart.

At their recent show in Nashville, recorded live as the album Live at Exit/In, they dressed up two hard-core fans as giant mouths to dance on stage as they performed. The Chewers, a self-described “off-kilter weirdo-avant-whatever rock duo” from Nashville, screamed to their fans from the stage over discordant sounds from guitar and drums for the entirety of their concert.

I’ll admit it was difficult to write about Live at the Exit/In since I’m not usually a fan of hard metal music. And hard metal music I’m not sure this even was. What I can say is that Travis Caffrey and his bandmate Michael Sadler have considerable musical talents.

The Chewers — Noise Rock Supreme

They appeal to a niche that appreciates their beats and general style. These individuals comprise a “small cult of freakish fans” that can deal with, even enjoy, the noises that were emitted from instruments and vocal cords that night. [Editor’s Note: Andrew Tobia counts himself newly among that number.]

Each of The Chewers’ songs starts off with a unique sound, which leads me to believe the musicians may have a foundational knowledge of a variety of genres. Unfortunately, all songs progress into the same headache-inducing, hell-raising din that turns off many listeners.

To elaborate, “Filthy” starts out sounding almost folksy and “Cyclicism” begins by tricking listeners into thinking it might be classic rock. Then, the cacophony takes over. I often wondered while listening to the album why The Chewers don’t have any solely instrumental tracks to showcase their natural abilities and versatility, which they clearly have. I guess they just like making noise.

Caffery has a very throaty voice, and his lyrics are awkward. His lines never rhyme and, from my understanding, have no real destination. They also paint horrible, ghastly images (but that’s not surprising given the props The Chewers used at their show). It’s also difficult for me to remain engaged when the lyrics are redundant, the vocalist doesn’t sound like he’s having a good time, and each song is absurdly and unnecessarily long.

Not for Everyone

Honestly, I’m glad I wasn’t in attendance at this show. I appreciate the loyalty of The Chewers’ fans, and I applaud them. I appreciate the musicianship of Caffrey and Sadler, and I applaud them. I can even appreciate to create something new, different, and “intentionally discordant.” It simply is not for me or, I assume, for most.

If you want to dip your feet in, prove me wrong, or simply satisfy your curiosity, you can find Live at Exit/In here.

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