Having teased ‘Long Live’ for well over a year, bated breaths have filled the silence Atreyu cruelly left in their wake after their departure in 2011. Now, with ‘A Death Grip on Yesterday’ and nothing more than a ‘Paper Anchor’ holding them back, ‘The Curse’ has returned to the ‘Congregation of the Damned’ and it’s time for a new chapter, just as epic as the last five.
The cataclysmic opening to the title track evidently revives the chaos they’re best known for. With Alex Varkatzas on top vocal form and Brandon Saller’s backing vocals as emotive as ever, this comeback was well worth the wait. “Somehow we’ll make it through the pain,” cries Saller, backed by Dan Jacobs’ trademark haunting guitar solo. Defiant, unstoppable and unrelenting, just the way Atreyu should be.
Venomous and no-holds-barred, lead single ‘So Others May Live’ was the first we’d heard from them in four years, and what a phenomenal return to form. Appropriately, ‘Live To Labor’ brings a brilliantly mosh-worthy solo to the table, vengeful and violent in equal measure. Similarly, Alex and Brandon’s vocals play out a harsh and heartfelt dialogue throughout ‘I Would Kill Lie Die (For You)’ and ‘Start to Break’, denouncing heartache with a conviction akin to ‘The Curse’’s heyday. The winding ‘Moments Before Dawn’ masterfully showcases Brandon’s seductive tones, echoing side project Hell or Highwater, while a devastating discourse between authoritative drums and a destroying riff defines aptly-titled ‘Reckless.’
“I can’t hold you together if you don’t wanna stay,” Alex cries beyond the towering melody of ‘A Bitter Broken Memory,’ while a belting solo through ‘Do You Know Who You Are’ proves testament to Dan Jacobs’ talent. There’s certainly a demon living inside the menacing ‘Cut off the Heard’, making itself quite comfortable next to yet another punishing riff. The relentless anatomical disgust of ‘Heartbeats and Flatlines’ perfectly offsets the acoustic interlude of ‘Revival’ which speaks a thousand words of the passage of time.
After a generous battery-charging hiatus, this sixth full length venture makes it evident the nostalgic giants have no plans to stop again, not yet at least. ‘Long Live’ Atreyu, long bloody well live.
’Long Live’ by Atreyu is out on 18th September on Spinefarm Records.
Words by Ali Cooper (@AliZombie_)