AtreyuThe Beautiful Dark of Life

Spinefarm Records
8th December, 2023
Stadium filler, yes

If anyone’s wondering if the “old” Atreyu is back…no, they aren’t.

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2021’s Baptize was savaged by critics like me, the type who bash out articles for a living and don’t know the first thing about writing a good song, let alone a great one. Atreyu have been mainstays in metalcore since 2002, when the great Internet shitfight about the genre started, which rages on to this day. So I pose this question: can you get mad at a band that starts off as Iron Maiden releasing Killers and ends up like Def Leppard writing Hysteria? Yeah, not really.

mr bungle hysteria

Atreyu, whirling about their multiverse of manifestations are all about ‘uge, bulging, fist-pumping arena rock tunes worthy of Cheap Trick‘s Live at Budokan. Just like dressing for the job you want, you need to release the music worthy the size of your stage. Tracks like Drowning, the Linkin Parkish Immortal, and God/Devil are blur-footed speed demons, all crunchy guitars and heroic refrains courtesy of the deep-lunged Brandon Saller. Designed specifically for gigs like their upcoming Rock Im Park tilt, Watch Me Burn begins with weepy strings and distant howling, punching through with slammin’ metalcore riffs and anthemic calls-and-returns, the kind I Prevail dole out on the regular.

As an album made by melodic ‘core-aholics for fellow addicts, there’s little here you won’t like.

It’s not all a headbanger’s ball; bathed in synth and quadrupled up vocal lines is their ballad-adjacent slowie I Don’t Wanna Die, which seems to be courting the radio stations that play Corey Taylor‘s…er, emissions. (They do exist, let me tell you.) Likewise Forevermore, an all acoustic affair that will tickle even the most ardent “elder” emo black, especially if they’re of the Euro cheese persuasion. Come Down’s core is 100% pop-punk put simply with four-on-the-floor kick drum and a gang chorus ripe for a wistful reflection scene in a teen soap. Dancing With My Demons hews closest to actual metalcore, Saller engaging death vocals and the rhythm section following close with their pit-spawning breakdowns.

soundworks hysteria

With 15 tracks on offer (that’s three EPs and two extras slapped on top) there’s a lot of stylistic moving and shaking for a band that’s known for pretty much one thing. Now that their reach exceeds their grasp, it’s difficult sitting there waiting for things to go over the top. Even so, as an album made by melodic ‘core-aholics for fellow addicts, there’s little here you won’t like.

STANDOUT TRACKS: Watch Me Burn, Drowning, Dancing With My Demons
STICK THIS NEXT TO: I Prevail, Bullet For My Valentine, Beartooth


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