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Album Review: Atreyu - Congregation of the Damned

After the medicore reaction to their first post-Victory Records album (2007's 'Lead Sails Paper Anchor'). Atreyu's 5th album 'Congregation of the Damned' is an attempt to find a return to form for the Californian 5-piece.

'Stop! Before It’s too Late and We’ve Destroyed It All' shows a band with energy and effort with a blistering guitar riff leading the way and Alex Varkatzas' rasby shouts and screams fitting in well. Add to this a fist-pumping chorus and you understand the bands overall of aim of this; standard, guitar riff-filled songs that are listenable but nothing exceptional.

However 'Bleeding Is A Luxury' is more pleasing as the band use the familair method of melodic vocals from drummer Brandon Saller backed by the occasional scream from Varkatzas. Despite being a method the band have used tirelessly, it works very well. Whilst the title track takes all what was good of the previous track and adds a dark, horror-like tone . Whilst this is somewhat a new approach by the band, its not something that has been done before (see Avenged Sevenfold for details).

As the record goes along and Atreyu settle into their comfrot zone, tracks like 'Black Days Begin' and 'Gallows' is your typical hard rock/metalcore numbers. However 'Storm To Pass' is one of the albums highlights with its hooky, fierce chorus that is highly favourable.

Whilst 'You Were the King, Now You’re Unconscious' could be considered what this whole record is about. It's slow build up with tribal drums that leads to a tight brand of thrash metal mixed in with Saller's vocals. The slow build up dosn't quite work well but the band's dense sound and the track's tempo, once it comes to life.

'So Wrong' is also worth mentioning with Varkatzas' singing for a change, which despite is welcomed and with the impressive duelling guitars. Whilst 'Lonely' has a punky beat that brings the album alive, with its screeching guitar solos and thumping drums.

Atreyu's return may be one with open arms to some but for other 'Congregation of the Damned' comes across as bland and tiresome, from a band that is stuck in a rut. Although there are signs of progression, for the most part this is your typical Atreyu record. It has good parts and bad parts but overall its limited to the bands style, one that has been done again and again.

'Congregation of the Damned' isn't quite the return to form the band had hoped for but they are going the right away about it and there are signs of new ideas.


'Congregation of the Damned' by Atreyu is available from next week.

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Sean Reid

Alter The Press!