Atreyu - Congregation Of The Damned

Album cover
Metalcore
Hollywood Records
Atreyu
Congregation Of The Damned
Atreyu - Congregation Of The Damned Review rating:
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Wine connoisseurs know of an old adage when it comes to taste: “It gets better with age.” This is comparable to music. When bands first release material, it might seem unpolished or unimpressive, but as they mature, the music gets better. Those who do not, however, struggle to find themselves. Case in point, Atreyu. What once seemed like a promising metalcore outfit has turned into a shell of its former shelf. Atreyu’s fifth studio album, Congregation of the Damned, is not fine wine. It is a can of Natty Ice that has sat on the kitchen counter overnight.

When Atreyu burst onto the metalcore scene in 2002 with Suicide Notes and Butterfly Kisses, things were looking up. Atreyu was unique; two incredible dueling guitarists, a multi-talented drummer with one hell of a voice, and a frontman with a guttural growl that could turn heads and stomachs. It continued with 2004’s The Curse and 2006’s A Deathgrip on Yesterday. In 2007, the band got its chance to jump to a major and out came Lead Sails Paper Anchor, which got hammered by fans because of the stereotypical “change in sound” that accompanies a major label debut. Why the history lesson? Because Congregation of the Damned is a mash-up of all of the aforementioned albums, possibly as a way to appease old and new fans alike. Unfortunately for Atreyu, it did not work out.

The first single, “Storm to Pass,” would have fit perfectly on Deathgrip (probably because it sounds like “Ex’s & Oh’s”) and is probably the most complete song on the album. Lead vocalist Alex Varkatzas utilizes the clean approach he debuted in Lead Sails, which sounds alright, but should be kept to drummer Brandon Saller. Guitarists Dan Jacobs and Travis Miguel do their dueling thing, while bassist Marc McKnight just floats around. The rest of the album resembles McKnight, a wayward soul looking for direction. There are no poppy songs like 2007’s “Falling Down,” but it looks as if Atreyu tried. “Insatiable” has quite the cock-rock feel to it that would fit perfectly on a Hinder or Buckcherry album (not a distinction to be envious of), while “You Were The King, Now You’re Unconscious” starts off with an out-of-place marching band-like drumline. “Lonely” is a simple, yet effective song that will probably be the one to climb the charts. It’s ironic that the song that seems to be the least layered is possibly the best on the album.

Congregation of the Damned is a forced display of Atreyu’s past and present ideas. Now that the band has released three “hard” albums, one “poppy” album, and one “combo” album, it should pick one and run with it. The first song of the album is entitled, “Stop! Before It’s Too Late and We’ve Destroyed It All.” Atreyu should heed its own advice or it will be their credibility and fan following that will be destroyed.

1. Stop! Before It’s Too Late and We’ve Destroyed It All
2. Bleeding Is a Luxury
3. Congregation of the Damned
4. Coffin Nails
5. Black Days Begin
6. Gallows
7. Storm to Pass
8. You Were the King, Now You’re Unconscious
9. Insatiable
10. So Wrong
11. Ravenous
12. Lonely
13. Wait for You

Atreyu is a five-piece metalcore band from Orange County, California, United States that formed in 1998. The band consists of vocalist Alex Varkatzas, guitarists Dan Jacobs and Travis Miguel, bassist Marc McKnight and drummer and vocalist Brandon Saller. The band was originally named "Retribution" but, when they found out that another band from Hemet, California had been using the name, they changed their name to Atreyu," after the character from the fantasy movie The Neverending Story (by Michael Ende) .

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