After forming in 1998 Atreyu released their first demo later that year, [URL=http://sputnikmusic.com/album.php"albumid=3749]Visions[/URL], it failed to make much of a scan on the radar. After touring for a few years they decided to head back into the studio again and recorded [URl=http://sputnikmusic.com/album.php"albumid=2971]Fractures In The Facade Of Your Porcelain Beauty[/URL]. This EP was given more attention but still not a big impact. After getting signed to Victory Records in early 2002 Atreyu released their first full length album, [URL=http://sputnikmusic.com/album.php"albumid=186]Suicide Notes and Butterfly Kisses[/URL]. This album is the one that got them attention. They were on the road touring for another two years when they went back into the studio to record the now infamous [URL=http://sputnikmusic.com/album.php"albumid=642]The Curse[/URL]. The Curse broke them through to the mainstream. While most fans complain of overproducing and generic guitar riffs this album was most received by the mainstream. Now, two years and many tours later Atreyu went into the studio to record the follow up, A Deathgrip On Yesterday.
A Deathgrip On Yesterday
begins with Creature
. It immediately kicks off with the Alex screaming, and you realize that his voice hasn't changed much since The Curse. On a good note however Brandon's clean vocals have improved immensely, no longer are they whiny they are more commanding and powerful. And even the bassist, Mark McKnight is featured screaming on this song and other throughout the album, sadly it's not much better than Alex's. The bass is inaudible, but the guitars are decent. Nothing overly technical or anything, but they play a nice melody throughout the song. This song is just below the three minute mark and seems very short. Overall not a bad start to the album. Shameful
begins with a faded guitar riff, and instead of just Alex screaming, both him and Brandon trade off singing duties.. The bass is also heard during the first verse, you have to listen for it but it's audible. Definitely though, the chorus steals the entire song, maybe it's Brandon's vocals, or the arpeggio from Travis in the background but it sounds great, and the lyrics are also much better then previous releases.
Here's to lowering caskets of old friends,
choice and consequence we'll birth a new day
with the death of an old and (Start over, start over)
heres to burying hatchets in those
who you'd never call your friends
we'll birth a new day with the death of an old and (Start over, start over)
Unfortunately the vocals are dominant over the rest of the of the instruments in this song, luckily Brandon does most of the vocal parts but some of the guitar and double bass from the drums is lost due to a bad mix. Our Sick Story
starts with the pounding of Saller's double bass drums and a guitar riff that seems like it would be what happened if Shameful's
intro lick continued. Oppose to the previous choruses, Our Sick Story's
is darker, and more sinister. We also hear the first guitar solos on A Deathgrip On Yesterday
, first guitarist Travis Miguel takes a solo, then directly after, Dan Jacobs' takes a crack at it. They are wonderful and fit perfectly with the flow of the song.
is very different from the rest of the album. It's a ballad, a first from the Atreyu crew. We hear Alex's clean voice for the first time as well, it's not terrible, but he's no Ronnie James Dio either. Throughout the song we can hear the bass grooving all over the place, one of the few songs where the bass is audible. Alex's screams seem a little more bearable on this track then others. With a keyboard adding extra effects throughout the song, it makes you wonder what would Atreyu be like with a decent keyboard player" We Stand Up
hits with a drum fill, and then the rest of the group kicks in. Alex screams the entire first verse, with a little help from Mark. The guitar riffing is also top notch, instead of a rhythm piece with only power chords, Travis and Dan play the verse section with a catchy hammer-on pull-off riff. A little past halfway, right after the chorus the song slows down, and Dan plays an unorthodox riff with some kind of effect on it. While Brandon does some technically great fills, the entire second half of the song sounds like it could be on The Curse with the exception of the chorus, and I mean this in a good way. After the chorus the song comes to a crushing close, and Ex's And Oh's
begins with one of the catchiest riffs in the Atreyu arsenal. It sounds almost like it could be out of the 80's from a glam band. Alex talks during the verses instead of his usual screaming, for the most part. During the chorus of the song, Brandon's voice sounds like it's on the edge of cracking, and is a bit more high pitched than on other tracks. We also hear another guitar solo, actual the third and fourth of the album. Like before they are played one after each other.
Your Private War
like We Stand Up
starts off with drums. The bass if very prominent on this song, it's heard all over the place as well as felt. The chorus is very big like usual, and is also my favorite of the song. It's only a few lines, but it's incredibly powerful.
so raise your voices and hold your hopes up high
tell your stories run your mouth and tell your lies
About two thirds of the way through the song, we hear a different passage, an extension to the breakdown, or a breakdown part two if you will. It features the guitars acting like keyboards, and adding to the atmosphere to the song. With the fading of the guitar, My Fork In The Road (Your Knife In My Back)
begins. The intro lick is very catchy, it makes me think of Avenged Sevenfold's Unholy Confessions only with a different, more positive atmosphere. This song is upbeat and the guitars sound cheerful, the only thing making it sound dark is Alex's low growls. Ironically, the part where the guitars sound like heavy, Brandon sings in his clean voice. A little past halfway we hear some of the most ferocious pounding to come from Atreyu. As if this song couldn't get better Dan Jacobs' graces us with the presence of a guitar solo. Untitled Finale
, is as the name suggests the final track on A Deathgrip On Yesterday
. When Alex screams during the verse it sounds like he's almost rapping, and the entire feel is like hip-hop almost. Strange I know, but Atreyu make it word for them. The longest song on the album by far, Untitled Finale
delivers the best of both worlds. On one hand we are given harsh screamed vocals from Alex and a dark and gloomy picture set by the de-tnned guitars, and on the other an uplifting chorus, that makes you wish the album didn't end. By far though, the show stealer, the highlight must be when Brandon sings,
This is my farewell to you and I,
this will all end in tragedy
Over Travis's insane shredding, and his amazing fills on the drums. The entire band yells "This will all end in tragedy" together and this serves as an outro to the song. We hear yet another fill from Brandon, and A Deathgrip On Yesterday
comes to a fading close.
- The entire band has upped their song writing skills, as well as their instrument playing
- Better lyrics from Alex, they aren't as whiny as before
- The bass is heard, and quite often a rare feat in modern music.
- This album definitely doesn't suffer from overproduction
- Alex still does his untrained screams
- The mix in this album is bad, the guitars are put low in the mix and are hard to hear at points
- Only nine songs, barely a full length, and to top it off the songs are relatively short.
Brandon Saller - Drums/vocals
Dan Jacobs - Guitar
Travis Miguel - Guitar
Mark McKnight - Bass
Alex Varkatzas - Vocals