Review Summary: The best thing about owning a copy of Atreyu's The Curse is that the booklet holds host to some pictures of the model Natalia Delano. Aside from that and some okay instrumental moments, this is a pretty lame affair.
Atreyu's album, The Curse, mainly nestled its way into my album collection because of two main things. One was the artwork that adorned the cover and the pages of the booklet; no, I'm not a pervert but one could hardly say it wasn't great eye candy. Secondly, I'd heard snippets of a few songs (Bleeding Mascara and The Crimson) and it hadn't seemed all too shabby. Bearing in mind my musical tastes were still maturing, and they really did have a long way to go, after listening through this a few times I came to the conclusion that it wasn't too bad...not too bad at all.
But of course, opinions change over time. My opinion of the band went from indifferent to wholly negative after just a little too much exposure to this and then the boom in popularity amongst scenesters that occurred when A Death Grip On Yesterday was released. With that said, by this time my taste in music had also improved (in my opinion at least) and I did begin to see this for what it really was - average commercial metalcore. Let me sum up the negative points in a small summary. Atreyu are generic - they sound like every other melodic borderline metal band and employ the use of drop C tuned riffing utilizing and incorporating melodies we've all heard many times before. The harsh vocals are utterly intolerable for the most part with the lead vocalist not sounding dissimilar to a puking tramp asphyxiating on his White Lightning. Oh, every chorus feels the need to manifest itself as an annoying catchy one that simply has to have clean vocals. These vocals are far from awful but they are pretty nauseating after a while; Brandon Saller (who also does the drumming, another uninteresting aspect of the band) has a voice akin to that of a pre-pubescent victim of bullying. Nothing personal, it's just when he sings that's what I'm reminded of.
Aside from the completely pointless introductory track (which rips off countless other bands of a similar standing within the genre), this album is twelve tracks of over-produced, bland and totally uninspired commercial metal for the masses. One of the redeeming aspects of the album is the guitars do occasionally have their shining moments, whether it be an above par riff or a semi-interesting lead passage. There is even a small amount of tapping on Demonology and Heartache. The rhythm section is almost unnoticeable, except for An Interlude, where Marc McKnight does lay down some fairly good bass lines. That particular song is also good because it is an instrumental and you don't have to subject yourself to the sound of Alex barfing away or Brandon's whining. Atreyu do better when they go for a heavier approach, demonstrated in Corseting. That track is about as 'brutal' or 'punishing' the album will ever get. The big singles from the album are also notable, mostly because Right Side of the Bed is so irritating. The opening riff bears great resemblance to the In Flames track The Hive (which caused an uproar concerning plagiarism on sputnik if I remember correctly), with Alex and Brandon delivering some truly naff lyrics in their respectively bad vocal styles. The Crimson fares better, with a nice clean guitar riff opening things up and some tasteful verse instrumentation. The guitar lead in the second verse is also one of the better moments on the album.
Better moments of the album? Yeah, there are a few. Bleeding Mascara is one of the heavier songs, which boasts some sweep picking in the intro which is adequately flashy and helps the song avoid complete disaster. Hey, there are even a few solos dotted around. Whilst they aren't technically amazing, they're pretty good for this sort of genre, with the best ones coming later on in the album, on tracks such as My Sanity On the Funeral Pyre.
Predictable and lackluster are a couple of the nicer adjectives I could use to describe this. For the majority of the time, this is derivative tripe wanked over by scene kids from across the globe. You'll find nothing new here, nor will you find any tried and tested ideas put to that much of a good use to be honest. The Curse has a few pleasant moments but for those who would rather keep away from feelings of being unsatisfied, you'll probably be better off buying Avenged Sevenfold's Waking the Fallen. A very mediocre effort from your typical average new-wave metalcore band.
My Sanity On the Funeral Pyre