Publisher: Victory Records
Sat, 4 June 2005
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Atreyu. This word brings to mind for many of us the heroic main character from â€śThe Neverending Storyâ€ť, a film many of us recall fondly from our childhood. The character in question was young, naive, and just a touch effeminate. Atreyu the band are the complete antithesis of these traits. I was introduced to this band by one of our young forum mainstays a few months back (cheers Troby), and while not being overly impressed with their debut release â€śSuicide Notes and Butterfly Kissesâ€ť, their latest release â€śThe Curseâ€ť is again, the complete opposite of my first impressions.
Atreyu to some are the pinnacle of melodic hardcore music. Iâ€™d place them firmly in the borderline hardcore-death-metal vein, along similar lines to some Pantera and Deftones releases and acts like Remembering Never. â€śThe Curseâ€ť is this young bands 2nd full-length release, following on the heels of their debut â€śSuicide Notes and Butterfly Kissesâ€ť. â€śSuicide Notesâ€¦â€ť was more like a medium-budget 16-track showcase of the bands earlier material, whereas â€śThe Curseâ€ť is a full-fledged aural assault of an album.
The first song of this record is â€śBlood Childrenâ€ť. Really nothing more than a random bunch of noises escalating in volume and introducing the rest of the record. After the first listen you could pretty much skip straight past this track and on to where the action lies.
â€śBleeding Mascaraâ€ť is truly the first song on this record. And boy does it kick the album off on a good heading. â€śBleeding Mascaraâ€ť jumps right into the thick of classic metal. Double-kick, chunky 90â€™s inspired guitar riffs, screaming, soaring vocal work and searing guitar solos. If there was a better start for this album I couldnâ€™t find it.
Next on the agenda Atreyu offer â€śRight Side of the Bedâ€ť. Feeding on the pace of the last track, this song doesnâ€™t let the pace slacken one iota. With extremely catchy vocal melodies and guitar riff-work abound, and while being an extremely heavy track, this one will get you singing along in the car with the old CD player cranked to full volume. Track #4 is â€śThis Flesh a Tombâ€ť. This song really starts to show a darker side of Atreyu. Slick songwriting, massive guitar work and catchy vocal melodies this track has in spades. In a theme that seems to be recurring on this album love and pain meld together in what some of us see as the perfect songwriting combination.
Up next we have â€śYou Eclipsed by Meâ€ť. This one is an interesting song. The intro reminds me so very much of classic 90â€™s death-metal acts such as Carcass and Napalm Death. What would be the most hardcore verse heard on this album yet, â€śEclipsedâ€¦â€ť flows beautifully into surprisingly melodic chorus and bridge sections. The outro of this song is one youâ€™ll want to crank up to scare the neighbours into not complaining about your regular weekend parties.
At number 6 we have â€śThe Crimsonâ€ť. In my humble opinion this would have to be one of the weaker tracks on the record. It starts off with a fairly overdone clean guitar intro into an even more overdone verse section. The chorusâ€™ chordal progressions and vocal melodies are quite exquisite and bring this song back from the edge of being one youâ€™d skip right past.
Track #7 is â€śThe Remembrance Balladâ€ť. Following on from track 6, the introduction to this song is a little uninspiring, with lots of early-90â€™s Steve Vai inspired lead guitar solos. This rather average verse blasts into an amazingly spine-tingling chorus, smothered again with Atreyuâ€™s patented soaring vocals. Unfortunately a rather lame guitar solo brings what could be a great song back to the level of an album-filler.
â€śAn Interludeâ€ť is a rather wonderful little instrumental track, featuring more of the bands talent towards really nice melody work. Overdubbed clean guitars and thundering bass make this song one that youâ€™ll remember.
Where â€śAn Interludeâ€ť is a tasty escape from the overpowering pace of this album, â€śCorsetingâ€ť drags your ears right back into the thick of it. Again heavily inspired by 90â€™s metal acts like Pantera, this one is a great song. Classic riffs, loads of double-kick, tonnes of screaming and tasty guitar work. Heaviness abounds. These sorts of track reinforce my theory that maybe you shouldnâ€™t try and reinvent the wheel when it comes to metal.
â€śDemonology and Heartacheâ€ť is up next at track #10. A rather smooth punky lead guitar line introduces a track that is fundamentally melodic-hardcore at its roots, but has something that many bands of the same genre fail to capture. Again the vocal melodies are quite enchanting for a band that is essentially a metal band.
At track #11 we have â€śMy Sanity on the Funeral Pyreâ€ť. Donâ€™t let the quiet little heavy guitar intro fool youâ€¦ this song is amazingly heavy and reminds me a lot of bands like Machine Head and Slipknot in many ways. Steering further away from the classic metal formula, â€śMy Sanityâ€¦â€ť is a song that uses much of the best aspects of the rest of this album. Definitely worth another listen.
Heading towards the end of this hardcore metal epic weâ€™re treated to â€śNevadaâ€™s Graceâ€ť. Jumping right into the double-kick-laden guitar/vocal fest, this song gets you both rocking with its intensity and singing with what has become a staple of Atreyuâ€™s music: Disgustingly catchy vocals!
Last but not least Atreyu offer us â€śFive Vicodin chased with a shot of Clarityâ€ť. I love the intro to this one. Huge guitars and bass, thumping drums, dragging the listener into Atreyuâ€™s staple â€śmetal up your arseâ€ť rockinâ€™ verse and smooth choruses drowning in vocal melody. This song stands out though in one particular way. Itâ€™s the only track that uses some of the off-time Meshuggah-esq revolving rhythm parts that were featured heavily on â€śSuicide Notesâ€¦â€ť I love the outro on this song. Massive, huger-than-kyuss guitars, Korn-like dissonant lead guitars and 80â€™s gang vocals with get any lover of heavy music jumping.
Atreyu have really outdone themselves with â€śThe Curseâ€ť. Becoming one of melodic metalâ€™s newest and best acts in the matter of a couple of short years. This album shows the bandâ€™s amazing songwriting and musical progress and maturity since â€śSuicide Notesâ€¦â€ť Some copies of this album also feature an excellent bonus cover version of "You Give Love a Bad Name" by Bon Jovi. Classic stuff! I highly recommend this release to all lovers of fine hardcore and metal.
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