Review Summary: Paper anchors indeed.
There’s no denying that In Our Wake
is definitely an Atreyu record, but it’s the album’s perturbed title that begs a bigger question. After making a comeback of sorts with Long Live
but three years ago, the group’s question of “who will we leave in our wake"” stands to tug at the very heartstrings of the fans that grew up listening to the angst driven The Curse
and A Death-Grip On Yesterday
only to be met with the most formulaic metalcore unbecoming of that particular fan base.
The hook driven focus to Atreyu’s music comes at no surprise, but it’s the lack of drive and ambition as Atreyu skate from one chorus to the next that signals a lack of will to execute great music ever again. As a long time fan who lived their teenage years vicariously through The Curse
(not to mention a few others), In Our Wake
leaves a lot to be desired. The record’s opening moments, and the titular track enters with pomp and overbearance. It’s as if Atreyu are trying to force themselves on a younger crowd. It’s not something untoward, just completely at ends with a band that’s done [up to] sixteen years worth of “growing up”. It’s a cheese-fest, being passed off as an insightful look back at a formidable career. The clean vocal phrasing allow for easy forgetfulness, outlining the shift in quality that doesn’t do Atreyu in 2018 any justice. Sure, the hooks are completely infectious, allowing ease for sing along chorus’, but the lines are gone from memory by the album’s end. It belies just how a band can come so far… by doing so very little.
It could be argued that In Our Wake
is a natural progression of sound, experimenting on the metalcore roots formed back in the early 2000s. Rather, Atreyu’s newest offers regression into metalcore’s simplest and most distasteful form. The arena rock foundation that drives “House Of Gold” is of particular note. Stripping back every nuance of angst and emotion and transforming it into a forgettable anthem. It’s this theme that’s stretched across the album’s forty-five minute run time, save for a few saving moments. The cumulative anger that drove Atreyu to this ‘artful’ place has been replaced with retrospective maturity, only it doesn’t have the same effect musically.
Taking an overview approach to In Our Wake
sees a mismatching jigsaw of musical ideas thrown together. The nu-metal representations found within “Blind Deaf & Dumb” are especially cringe-worthy and poorly executed. As well as the album is produced, cracks begin to appear on repeated listens. Buried leads, non existent bass lines and uninspired lyrics all lead to Atreyu’s most disappointing album of their career. In Our Wake
may offer the question of what’s left behind for the musicians’ children but Atreyu aren’t getting the message across to the loyal fan base.
It pains me to paint a band that defined my formative listening years in such a negative light. At a personal level I can find the memory of Atreyu’s music in some truly personal moments… the nostalgia runs deeply, but not enough to fix In Our Wake
, or how I perceive it.