Atreyu returns to roots on ‘Long Live’

Stephanie Markham, Editor-In-Chief

Offering an earful of melodic metalcore to satiate listeners’ desires both to bang their heads and sing along to the music, Atreyu’s “Long Live” brings the band’s old charm back to 2015.

The five men from California released their sixth studio album Friday.

The 12-track, roughly 45-minute record acknowledges itself as a comeback right away.

The title track starts the record off with strong statements of Atreyu’s longevity despite members’ hiatus since 2009’s “Congregation of the Damned.”

“We say this means forever/ Can’t cut the ‘chord’ and walk away…Our bond is forever lasting.”

Throughout “Long Live,” the musicians bring back their signature sound and style that fans have missed since their early days.

“Long Live” sounds like it could chronologically slip in right after 2006’s “A Death Grip on Yesterday” and before Atreyu ventured into new territory with 2007’s “Lead Sails Paper Anchor.”

New songs feature the classic blend of vocalist Alex Varkatzas screaming and drummer Brandon Saller singing.

The past two records featured Varkatzas clean singing on many tracks.

Although he has a strong, versatile voice, it was unnecessary paired with Saller’s melodic singing.

On “Long Live,” the two vocalists are back to complementing each other’s strengths perfectly, giving listeners the distinct Atreyu sound they learned to love.

The 2015 record isn’t so much an evolution for the band as it is a restatement of everything that made them Atreyu in the first place.

The band also picked up some useful techniques in their later albums, such as heavy bass drums adding some attitude to certain songs.

For instance, “Brass Balls,” the ninth track on the record, has a “Becoming the Bull” or “Blow” feeling to it.

The lyrics have an unforgiving tone and make for a great track to listen to when the fighting mood strikes.

Things slow down immediately after with the mellower track “Message Before Dawn.”

The rainstorm/ piano introduction leads swiftly into Varkatzas lowering his voice to a harsh, raspy whisper.

This is one of the more emotional and thus stronger songs on the album.

Then, things pick up and get heavier with “Start to Break” and “Reckless” carrying the album out to a close.

Songs with more energy include “Live to Labor” and “Do You Know Who You Are?”

Overall, “Long Live” has a decent blend of everything Atreyu fans appreciate in an album, and new listeners would be starting off in a good place to give the band a try now.

Personally, Atreyu will always have a soft spot in my heart.

Though some consider the band’s past two albums to be blunders, the fact remains.

Atreyu got me and surely others into metal for the first time many years ago, which is why old fans appreciate this album so much.

To be able to make listeners feel nostalgic while listening to something completely new is a skill not every band has.

Stephanie Markham can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].