In 2004, Orange County’s Atreyu not only survived the dreaded sophomore slump with the release of The Curse (The follow up to 2002’s Suicide Notes And Butterfly Kisses), but positively prospered, with the album selling almost double what their debut did, which consequently thrust Atreyu into the big time.
Now with the challenge of their third album in front of them, the band (Comprising of vocalist Alex Varkatzas, guitarists Travis Miguel and Daniel Jacobs, bassist Marc McKnight and drummer/vocalist Brandon Saller) has once again headed into the studio with renowned producer Josh Abraham (Korn, Velvet Revolver, Staind), with A Death-Grip On Yesterday the fruit of their labours.
At a mere nine tracks long (Running for just under thirty-three minutes in total), Atreyu don’t waste any time in getting straight to the point with the opening number ‘Creature’. Skilfully balancing the bands established clean and screamed vocals approach alongside plenty of metallic muscle in the guitar department, the song is a tip to the band’s old days in the aggression stakes, with just a little more melody seeping through.
The follow-up track ‘Shameful’ emphasises the melodic aspect a touch more, but still features the aggressive tones of the opener to great effect, while ‘Our Sick Story (Thus Far)’ seems to fully revert right back to the Atreyu sound of old with plenty of double kick drumming and the gang like vocals towards the end of the song.
It’s only with the emergence of ‘The Theft’ that Atreyu finally show where their future sound is really heading. Hinging itself on the premise of being a ballad, the song is dominated with lush vocal harmonies, gentle instrumentation (Which for some reason reminds me of Silverchair in part) and the odd screaming performance, ‘The Theft’ is certainly a huge gamble from what is normally expect from Atreyu, and for the most part I believe it actually works, if at least at showing the band can broaden their sound beyond the standard emo/hardcore style that most have come to expect from the band.
Quickening up the pace once again is ‘We Stand Up’ (Bolstered by some interesting solo work) before the single ‘Ex’s And Oh’s’, ‘My Fork In The Road (Your Knife In My Back)’ and the bass driven ‘Your Private War’ inject a little more melody into the hardcore/rock mix.
Winding up the album is the semi-epic ‘Untitled Finale’, which appropriately enough finishes up with a huge sing along anthem like chorus at the end with the line ‘This will all end in tragedy’.
For Atreyu purists (In other words, fans of the band’s debut only), A Death-Grip On Yesterday is sure to be another disappointing effort after starting off with so much promise. But for those who enjoyed The Curse, you can be assured that this is a worthy follow up, but minus the filler material to distract you from the truly killer numbers.