A long time ago when Atreyu were around attracting a lot of attention, I missed them because they stirred next to no emotion in me.
The fact that this is their third release post hiatus comes as a surprise because of my ignorant bliss. The only thing I knew about them was that their vocalist wore a headband and he has since left to follow his solo career muse. This has allowed shuffles in the band, allowing drummer Brandon Saller to move to the front as clean vocalist only, and bassist Marc ‘Porter’ McKnight has moved in to the more aggressive singing.
The first couple of tracks come across as very standard fare – intro, clean vocal and slight hints of electronic elements and coarse vocals. It isn’t until Underrated that Atreyu pick another gear and show some of the fire that first brought them to people’s attention as metalcore heroes in the early to mid 2000s. It is a classy track full of the right balance between aggression and clean vocals that will be sure to stir mosh pits around the globe as the world slowly starts to tour again.
Following it straight after is Broken Again that carries a similar vibe, bringing back the slight electronic underlay. Saller’s voice soars, giving the track a similar sound to Beartooth. But the highlights are only small as Weeds quickly brings the previous two tracks crashing back down with a thud as it joins in the nu-metal revival that is bubbling under the surface of so many up and coming young bands, but doesn’t suit Atreyu here.
From here, Baptize really lost my interest for a minute or five and I got up and made a coffee, patted my dogs and generally ignored what was blaring out of the speakers as it all just felt so been there, heard that. Look, I understand that these guys are among the early upstarts of the whole metalcore thing, but the dry production with almost no bottom end begins to grate as much as the generic ballad I walked away from.
I come back on board with Fucked Up that starts again in a way that shakes me from the apathy I was feeling (or was that the coffee?). It is the heaviest opening of any track on the album, but falls again into an over saturation of the clean vocals, although another great guitar solo soothes towards the end.
Jacoby Shaddix (Papa Roach) and Matthew K. Heafy (Trivium) do nothing to save the back half of this album from its fall into some kind of boring oblivion and the two minute drum solo I hoped that Warrior would be with Travis Barker on drums at least finishes the album out on a positive note with an uplifting musical message proudly stamped on it.
This album is so far away from where this band started musically that it may be the shedding point for older fans, although enough of a curiosity for newer fans to latch on and allow the band a long, varied and continued career.
1. Strange Powers of Prophecy
3. Save Us
5. Broken Again
7. Dead Weight
9. Fucked Up
10. Sabotage Me
11. Untouchable (Ft. Jacoby Shaddix)
12. No Matter What
13. Oblivion (Ft. Matthew K. Heafy)
15. Warrior (Ft. Travis Barker)