noun: nostalgia; plural noun: nostalgias
a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.
This is exactly what listening to the new Atreyu album does to me. Brings back that feeling of sheer ecstasy I used to get when listening to a group such as this, and one I had been missing for a while. This band was one of the biggest reasons why I got into the metalcore/post-hardcore genres. Everything they’ve put out since the very beginning with ‘Visions‘ all the way up to ‘Congregation Of The Damned‘ has been near and dear to my heart.
Atreyu has always been phenomenal at mixing the heaviest of tunes with the more melodic lighter touch ones as well, but somewhere along the lines it started to feel like they were losing that edge and oomph (for lack of a better word), that they once had. When signing to Hollywood Records, it felt like the larger label had taken the wheel and was steering the band in a very different direction. Lead singer Alex Varkatzas was singing CLEANS! Now this wasn’t the first time (As heard on “The Theft” and “Ex’s and Oh’s” on the record ‘A Death-Grip On Yesterday“), but it was on a much larger scale. Some were not sure how to take this, and many shared the notion this could be the end of the much heavier intense band that Atreyu once was. On the album ‘Lead Sails, Paper Anchor‘, they even had an acoustic outro track. This was insanely out of the norm for this band (admittedly I loved that track and whole album immensely). The farthest stretch from what Atreyu once was, was on the album ‘Congregationn Of The Damned‘. This effort was a touch more aggressive and heavier than the previous, but felt to me like it just wasn’t very Atreyu-esque. Some songs almost had an alternative or poppy feel to them, and once again Alex was singing cleans. Now don’t mistake that as me saying I don’t like Alex singing cleans, it simply doesn’t feel like that’s what he’s supposed to be doing. I’ve seen in many interviews him saying that it wasn’t necessarily all his choice, but may have been pushed by the new, bigger label (some labelmates at the time were Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Duran Duran, and The Plain White T’s…).
Now no matter what Atreyu released, I personally loved it. The last two albums not as much as previous efforts, yet none the less I was a fan. The musicianship on every single album is insane. “Big” Dan Jacobs shreds the riffage as if his fingers were the Roadrunner from Looney Tunes, and Travis Miguel provides perfectly orchestrated rhythm that rocks you to your core. Brandon Saller has one of the greatest voices to ever be laid on a rock song and beats down on the drums like they were his bitch. Marc McKnight slaps that bass in such a way that you can’t help but move and groove along with it. Finally the mic rocker himself, Alex Varkatzas, has one of the most unique screams in the business, and has always been one of my top favorites.
“Atreyu derived its moniker from the character of the same name in the film ‘A Never-Ending Story“. In the movie Atreyu was a brave warrior who never backed down, and this describes the band perfectly.”
Atreyu has finally come out with what can only be called one the GREATEST comebacks of all time. This after a long hiatus in which I know many awaited with bated breath for the hopefull come back of these metalcore juggernauts. This is how you do it kiddies. This album is crazy heavy, ridiculously catchy, and has some intense feels. I know this may be a bold statement, but I’ll dare to say this might be one of the best releases EVER! This pulls in all the (brass) balls to the wall heaviness of ‘The Curse‘, and blends it perfectly with the catchy rock’n’roll stylings of ‘A Death-Grip On Yesterday‘, with even a touch of ‘Lead sails, Paper Anchor‘ (one could lightly compare that classic rock feel of “Brass Balls” with “Blow“). From beginning to end I felt the adrenaline pumping through the speakers and my veins.
Atreyu derived its moniker from the character of the same name in the film ‘A Never-Ending Story’. In the movie Atreyu was a brave warrior who never backed down, and this describes the band perfectly. They faced the diversity of some not so favored albums, went on a long hiatus (in which some members worked on other projects – Alex with ‘I Am War‘, Brandon with ‘Hell or Highwater‘, and Travis with ‘Fake Figures‘), but come back roaring with ‘Long Live‘. Atreyu is absolutely riding Falcor to incredibly new heights. Long Live Atreyu!