Review Summary: Atreyu release a way-too-long, way-too-unnecessary steamer of a Best Of compilation.
‘Best Of’ compilations, in my mind, have always been reserved for legends. Artists like Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones have grounds to release one or two, considering they have enough hits to fill at least two discs. Other artists may not have the same massive hit collection, but have more than enough choice cuts to fill a CD. The Pixies manage quite well, despite having no massive hits. Surely Atreyu
couldn’t have thought they could pull something like this off. But, with The Best Of…
Atreyu, nay Victory Records as whole, makes a bold move. I for one would have never thought ultra popular artists like Fall Out Boy or My Chemical Romance would be beat to the “Greatest Hits” punch by a band as underground (mind you I use this term while comparing Atreyu to two of the most popular bands to emerge from the Pop-Punk scene) as Atreyu. Yet it has happened, and the outcome is not pretty.
When a band’s ‘Best Of’ is as awesomely horrible as this, you know the band must really blow. For all of the people who plugged there ears when Hawthorne Heights “screamed” [Note: term is used as loosely as allowed] their way onto MTV, steer clear of Atreyu. Musically, Atreyu isn’t as bad as they are horrifically generic. Their two guitarists manage to impress once or twice throughout the comp’s eighteen tracks, but usually stick to down-tuned pummeling of the E-String, with the occasional melody thrown in here or there. As with most Victory mixes, Bass is almost non-existent, when Marc McKnight does decide to rear his ugly head he just so happens to be playing either a relatively simple progression or, shockingly enough, exactly what his six-stringed band mates are spewing from their amps.
Brandon Saller is the closest thing to a saving grace that Atreyu has. His drumming is, like the bass, low in the mix but still fairly good. Usually his cymbal-heavy patterns are accompanied by multitudes of double bass hits. While requiring some skill, this generic, overused, cry of “I’m not as bad as you think!” gets old about midway through the album. Why is Saller so necessary to Atreyu, if his drumming is as generic as the rest of The Best Of? Well, frankly, it’s because he saves us (the listeners) from the rectal-pain-inducing, vomit-noise-esque belches of Alex Varkatzas. If I didn’t convey how horrible Varkatzas’ voice is, imagine this: a cow gets his brains blown out, with his last breath of life he attempts to moo: I wish I could stop crying. And I wish that someone still loved me
. The horrific noises that come out of Alex’s mouth are terrible enough to make Saller’s average singing sound like the voice of an angel. Like an angel singing a song by a band that is actually good.
As expected, Atreyu’s lyrics are fairly average. Varkatzas’ parts tend to be lame and hard to understand, usually dealing with someone wronging him. Saller usually sings choruses about heartbreak that are unnecessarily dark and/or shrouded in metaphors. Examples could be taken from any one of these tracks, but The Crimson’s
pop-meets-metal chorus of “Will you still kiss me the same/ When you taste my victim’s blood?”
springs to mind. In the same song, Varkatzas belches wimpy lyrics such as “I feel it welling up inside/And Robert Smith lied, boys do cry”
over a nearly atonal blast of down-tuned guitars. This model of pummeling verses and almost uplifting choruses is pretty much copied eighteen times within this compilation. A good CD, this does not make.
All in all, The Best Of Atreyu is a below mediocre attempt at getting me into the band. In all likelihood it was released by Victory Records to either end their contract with Atreyu or to make some extra cash off of their music before the band split for Hollywood Records (Yes that is Disney’s record label. How Punk is that?) The CD contains some alright moments spread over eighteen tracks of seemingly the same song. This CD definitely isn’t for Atreyu fans, considering it doesn’t contain much not included on the band’s three Victory records (A DVD of videos is included, however.) It also isn’t for non-Atreyu fans, because of its terrible quality. Basically, don’t buy this CD when you can get the same thing in your toilet for free.