Atreyu - A Death-Grip on Yesterday (Cover Artwork)


A Death-Grip on Yesterday (2006)


I admit that I've always liked Atreyu. The Curse was one of my favorites of 2004, and Suicide Notes was easily one of the better purchases I made in 2005. I don't know if it was Brandon Saller's strong signing, the refreshing, dueling guitars of Dan Jacobs and Travis Miguel, or if it was just the entire package; simply, they've always felt like the complete package for a metalcore band, and I've always been interested in whatever they did (besides the Bon Jovi cover on the "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" soundtrack).

‘Ex's and Oh's" is the first single off of Death-Grip, and it showcases the main difference in Atreyu. While at times they still stick with their tried and true metalcore formula ("Creature"), a lot of the songs are cleaner ("Our Sick Story") with a lot of the songs being driven by Saller (who also played a bigger role in writing the songs). Also, when Alex Varkatzas isn't shouting, he throws in some surprisingly good clean vocals, with Marc McKnight helping out with some extra backing vocals. "Ex's and Oh's" is highlighted by the melodic guitar solos by Miguel and Jacobs, and the majority of the song is driven by Saller's singing, which has taken a huge rise above his mediocre and overproduced vocals on The Curse.

The rest of Death-Grip follows the pattern. At times it's the older, straight-up metalcore Atreyu you either love or hate. At times it's the evolved Atreyu, in which the maturation has lead to catchy and chaotic rock songs with melody, strong hooks, and loads of melodic and technical solos. It feels like a throwback to the `80s with a mix of the melody of the Cure, and the shredding and soloing of Iron Maiden. The combination between the two styles leads to a unique experience, as the band shows that they can be more than just a metalcore band, which they pull off better than what Avenged Sevenfold try to do.

"You can't affect how other people feel, so don't let them affect how you feel" was a message Alex Varkatzas received from a fortune cookie, and luckily the band decided to follow the message. Sure, Atreyu could have easily made the same old songs and still would have been extremely popular, but their search for what satisfies them allows for them to reach out and achieve what they truly want to do, which makes Death-Grip even more satisfying.

Few bands have been able to evolve and achieve what Atreyu have done. On their debut album they crafted the metalcore album that bands have been trying to do for years. With their third release, Atreyu has fine-tuned their craft even more and have created one of the best albums of 2006.