A Death-Grip on Yesterday



by ToWhatEnd USER (100 Reviews)
March 28th, 2006 | 357 replies

Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Atreyu sure has come a long way out of the ever so popular underground metalcore scene over the past few years. Hailing from Orange County California, the 5 piece band released their most successful selling album The Curse in 2004 and recently spent the summer of 2005 on the Main Stage at Warped Tour, as well as having a major spot on the Taste of Chaos Tour in the early months of 2006. Despite their increasingly mainstream success, Atreyu is far from winning over plenty of listeners for the sole reason that it seems almost impossible to be neutral about this band you either love them or hate them.

One side thinks, hey not bad this is some good catchy metalcore with tasteful leads, cool vocals and solid drumming.
The other extreme is sick of the over production (mainly in the last album), the barfing vocals, the clich" vocal patterns (screaming verse singing chorus) and finds nothing that separates this band from the next.

With A Death-Grip On Yesterday on the way apparently containing "some of the most honest songs [Atreyu] has ever written" and a big second stage spot on Ozzfest, plenty of questions arise.

Is this album better than their previous release The Curse ?
Is this Atreyu"s best work to date?
Have the vocals improved?
And what exactly is this new Atreyu sound?

Atreyu is...
Brandon Saller-Drums/Vocals
Dan Jacobs-Guitar
Marc McKnight-Bass
Travis Miguel-Guitar
Alex Varkatzas-Vocals

Judging by the album opener Creature this new Atreyu sound is not anything new. Thankfully they have dropped the dramatic intro track which did not work for their last album and just gotten right into things. Alex belts out the first notes with his signature "scream." The opening sounds fairly standard some tight drumming and effective chords. What"s this?! Bass?! It is actually heard, not very loud at all and is drowned out a lot. When the chorus comes in, Brandon shows his singing improvement as his voice has developed and improved immensely from his past work. All in all Creature becomes more and more like older Atreyu and the break down seems to last too long. The song drags on a bit especially for such a short song.

Shameful proves to be a huge step up, opening with one guitar playing a chord progression and Brandon's singing coming in after a drum build up. This shows just how much his singing has improved as he is the primary vocalist in the song. Some tasteful guitar is played leading up to the chorus, which happens to be one of my favorite one"s from this band.

Here's to lowering caskets of old friends
Choice they got so close and birth the new day
With the death of an old and
Start over
Here's to burying hatchets in those who
You never call your friends
and birth the new day with the death of an old and
Start over

One other improvement is noticed, lyrics (while this won't last long). Two noticeable improvements on this track along with great work from the rest of the band make Shameful a great song. I"d highly recommend this be used as a single.

Our Sick Story opens with an intro that sounds a tad like the later part of the intro to "Deanne The Arsonist" off of SNABK. While a cool harmonized guitar riff opens the song it just goes downhill from there. This song reminds me of just about any song found in the middle of The Curse which is not a very good thing at all. Something about the lower vocal effect during the pre chorus just strikes a wrong note for me and than the chorus itself just seems to be standard for the band. The song is pulled out of its slump with a pretty cool guitar solo focusing more on emotion than shredding. Some pleasant guitar leads is about all this track has to offer.

The Theft seems to be another attempted ballad. The band really ought to stray away from songs like these as it turns out to be a very cheesy sounding attempt at being dramatic and drags on. One good thing about this song is Alex's scream, it sounds better than his usual shout. Maybe this track serves as just a possible build up for We Stand Up . An energetic opening sets the pace for the rest of the song. Some very fitting riffs are played throughout the song and if you can get past Alex's vocals, this song is very enjoyable. A downside is during the chorus; Brandon"s singing is not up to par and almost brings the song's flow down, especially when he tries to go out of his range. The song slows down and provides a very tasteful guitar line. At this point in the record it becomes obvious that at plenty of times Atreyu's guitarists do a much better job of shaping the songs" sought after emotion than the vocals.

And here we are the first single if I have been informed correctly Ex's And Oh's . Another catchy riff opens the song. Clean vocals are primarily used, big surprise. The song is extremely bland at many points and the lyrics are just complete cheese balls, especially at the beginning.

You took me home
I drank to much
Cause of you my liver turns to dust
Cold rust takes cold creeping cool pain
Do you understand what I need?
When u feel your soul drop to the floor
Like a hole, like an open bleeding sore
Then you'll have bled like I've bled
Then you'll have wept as I've wept

The chorus is sung and it's not bad, just far from outstanding. The verse's are a little boring but thankfully a great guitar solo saves this song from being a total infamy for the bands "new sound" as it captures a great amount of emotion. At the end of the day, this is not a very good choice for the first single. The song is just not very memorable past the great guitar work.

Your Private War shows plenty of angst toward dishonesty and seems to be quite a personal track. The lyrics, once again are in need of a bit of work. The verse holds a very intense state while the chorus mellows out the mood. Not a whole lot new is offered here and the song gets a little boring before its end.

My Fork in the Road (your knife in my back) opens with a fairly cool melodic riff. Some drums compliment it and the second guitar harmonizes towards the end, providing the most enjoyable intro instrumentally so far. The verses have quite a nice flow to them but once again Brandon gets a little too high at some parts of the chorus. Respect definitely goes to him for his improvement but I think he tries to hit some notes that he should wander away from. The pitch is there and it is more on key than not, but it just doesn't work for him. Once again a very tasteful guitar lead is played. The solo shows some of the best guitar work on the album. With more to praise about than to complain about, this proves to be the best song on the CD since Shameful.

The last track Untitled Finale hmm, weird that there is a word after untitled, anyway this song seems to drag on forever with not a whole lot to offer. It sounds like very standard Atreyu minus the cool guitar line in the chorus. The poor arrangement of the guitar line lessens its enjoyment. This song fades out and ends the album on quite a weak note.

For the most part, Atreyu has always been a band that can't keep my attention for a very long period of time at all. I find it very hard to listen to more than three songs on a CD in one sitting after listening to the album for the first time through. This album might increase that to five or six if I am really in the mood. In answer to the questions at the beginning of the review, yes IMO this album is better than The Curse, although that really does not say a lot. Is this Atreyu's best work to date, that really depends on what the listener expects and/or wants out of this band and will have to listen to find out. For the vocals, the singing has improved a great amount while the screaming has not changed much. The good news in singing is used quite a bit more in this album than previous. As for this new Atreyu sound, improved singing, great lead work by the guitarists and a slightly different mood in some of the songs is all that's new.

+ improved singing
+ very tasteful guitar leads throughout the album
+ while the change in sound is not very noticeable, it cracks open the door for the band to take a bigger step in changing their sound
+ if an Atreyu mood strikes this album can be a decently good listen

- the songs can drag on which is unacceptable since most are under 4 minutes
- Alex's vocals are the same as the previous records and get old fast at times
- lyrics are in need of repair
- 9 songs, 33 minutes is very short yet the album still goes by slow

In the end, the improved singing and tasteful guitar leads are only about half of the record; and the other half of the record brings it down for the most part; however the drums stay solid throughout the album. While an improvement over the previous release, this record is hardly more than average as it seems to be very dependent on the mood of the listener. Some days this album can be a good listen while on other days it just seems to be a bore fest.

Perhaps one day Atreyu will find the sound they desire and put everything they have together creating an album they have the potential to, maybe not. Regardless, that day is not today and A Death-Grip On Yesterday is not that album.

Final Rating 2.5 - 3/5

This is my first review and constructive feedback and comments will be greatly appreciated.

Recent reviews by this author
Thrice The Artist in the AmbulanceDead By Sunrise Out of Ashes
LoveHateHero America UnderwaterAll Time Low Nothing Personal
Silverstein A Shipwreck in the SandSing It Loud Come Around
user ratings (1199)
other reviews of this album
Drunken Viking (2.5)

tribestros (4)
A varied experience that continues to show Atreyu's progression and maturity from album to album....

witchxrapist (4)
Okay so like after some demo and two really super good albums, Atreyu got a lot better at writing so...

charlie666 (4.5)

Comments:Add a Comment 
March 28th 2006


Excellent first review!

March 28th 2006


Nice first review, the single I've heard off this sounds just the same as their other stuff.

March 28th 2006


I'm a fan of this album, which is weird because I hate Atreyu. I find their previous work boring and bland, but this feels a bit more involved and like they spent time perfecting the songs instead of just making do with what they have. Shame about the 9 tracks though, would've loved to see this a bit longer.
Oh yeah, impressive first review. Lots of information and detail for each song. Can't wait to read more.

March 28th 2006


Album Rating: 2.0

This is a great review for your first! I didn't think much of 'Ex's and Oh's' but I don't know if I will check anything else out on this album.

Digging: Disembodied - Transfiguration

March 28th 2006


as long as those nine tracks are good man, there are good albums with fewer than ten tracks (i.e. God Forbid's "Gone Forever" and Orgy's "Punk Static Paranoia").

anyway, i think that Ex's and Oh's is really catchy, i'll have to download some more stuff from this album and see how that is. either way, i dont think i'll get this. i like atreyu and all, but i dont have any urges to run out and buy this. who knows.

March 28th 2006


Album Rating: 2.0

meh, Atreyu still doesn't do it for me. This album has its' alright points, and I actually find Ex's and Oh's to be a halfway decent song...but they had me thinking they drastically changed their sound. There is a slight change but nothing too significant.

March 28th 2006


Album Rating: 2.5

I liked the Curse, I hope I like this one too. radianteclipse, did you rate this album after only hearing one song? Because that is just dishonest bashing a band for nothing...

March 28th 2006


Excellent review, I think ill look into this one. I enjoyed a few songs off The Curse but the rest was meh. I still prefer Bullet for my Valentine to Atreyu though.

Electric City
March 28th 2006


I despise Atreyu. Just my 2 cents.

March 28th 2006


I think they would be much better if they stopped with the guttural vocals. Some bands can make it work, they are not one of them.

March 28th 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

"I still prefer Bullet for my Valentine to Atreyu though."

All the way BFMV is amazing.

Thanks for the feedback everyone!

March 28th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

I see what people mean by the songs being somewhat boring or slow, i agree to a limit. Also although the vocals or screams of Alex are "guttural" it's atreyus signature vocals and like the review said you either love them or hate them, i happen to love them. The guitar riffs are genius and if you've seen atreyu live after the release of the curse you'll have a lot more respect for them.This Message Edited On 03.28.06

March 28th 2006


wow great first review!

me and atreyu dont mix well ive taken a listen and 33 minutes suits fine.

March 28th 2006


Album Rating: 2.5

i think this is their weakest album actually. a few decent songs but the rest are so generic and watered down. but whatever, i was never a big fan anyways

March 28th 2006


Excellent first review man. Much props to ya.

I have no desire to buy this...I bought SNABK (their best effort yet IMO), and while it has a few good tracks, it's mediocre at best. Then made the mistake of buying The Curse, and absolutely despised it, save Bleeding Mascara.

Considering one of the main points I didn't like the band was the vocals, this seems to have shattered and confirmed my fears. Alex's vocals seem the same (I'm guessing from your review), but Brandon's improved vocals sound to be interesting enough, provided they still aren't whiny.

Maybe I'll download this...

Drunken Viking
March 28th 2006


Good review, I'm just finishing up mine now, I'll submit it soon.

PS. SF, I can send you this if you get on AIM later.

EDIT: I'll poably submit tommorow, I have a lo t of homework so I don't have enough
time to finish tonight.This Message Edited On 03.28.06

March 28th 2006


I'm going to Taste of Chaos tonight. I'll listen to the new stuff and see if it sounds good or not.

March 28th 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

I want a full update of TOC.

Bandmates and I were going to drive up to Philly (we are from Laurel, Maryland a little north of DC) to Taste of Chaos since it didn't come to DC. Instead we played a show so not much to complain about there.This Message Edited On 03.28.06This Message Edited On 03.28.06

Storm In A Teacup
March 29th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

I'm doubtful I would like this, but sweet first review!

March 29th 2006


This is the best first review I've ever read.
I agree 100% too, especially about the surprising blandness of Ex's And Oh's.
The only song I dig here is My Fork In The Road. Apart from that...meh. Business as usual in black-clad-emotional-watered- down-metalcore-with-terrible-lyrics-land.
Seeing as how BFMV's lyrics are equally terrible, I believe they cancel out, and the two bands must be judged by music. And musically BFMV totally pwn these guys.

You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile


Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Site Copyright 2005-2019
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy