Following the departure of longtime frontman Alex Varkatzas, Atreyu continue on with a new line-up, releasing the so-so ‘Save Us.’
Now former Atreyu frontman, Alex Varkatzas, was in the news a lot back in 2018 for saying that he and his bandmates invented metalcore, adding “that may sound cocky, but I don’t care.” Yes, it was cocky, and yes, you should’ve cared, Alex. Because if we don’t count older bands that had a real hand in where metalcore later went – artists like Earth Crisis, Shai Halud, Integrity, Deadguy, Converge, and at the latest, Cave In, as well as their peers in Poison The Well and Killswitch Engage – then maybe, just maybe, Atreyu could have taken some kind of credit. But I digress!
Alex was also in the headlines last month for leaving the group after 20 years in the band, which is massive line-up shake up for Atreyu. However, as was guessed by most fans, drummer and co-singer Brandon Seller has now moved on to doing lead vocals full-time, with new drummer Kyla Rosa stepping in to keep time, as bassist Marc “Porter” McKnight takes on the screaming duties. (And he’s trying very hard to fill Alex’s shoes with a similar technique and tone.) All of which we hear on new song ‘Save Us.’
Atreyu have said that ‘Save Us‘ is “…a reflection of where we are musically” right now, but also where the world is at currently at. Yet they don’t offer anything of substance in the lyrical content about the current state of things, other than a limp-dicked “world’s fucked, someone help us” monologue. How profound! Honestly, after hearing ‘Save Us‘ a few times since it’s release last week, I’m inclined to agree with the band when they call this is a reflection of their sound, just not in the way that they intended. They are indeed in a “damned if they do, damned if they don’t scenario here, but this new single definitely reflects the inferior, soulless era Atreyu have been stuck in for a couple years now. When perhaps after such a massive personnel change, changing directions would’ve been the smarter move?
Sitting at 2:22 in length, the structure is a bit of a mess, with ‘Save Us‘ feeling like a disjointed, half-cooked rock/metalcore composition. With insipid metalcore verses that are way too short to offer any real impact, as electronic percussion and synths litter around straight-forward riffs and the odd divebomb, everything gets sandwiched between lifeless Imagine Dragons-like pop choruses that aren’t particularly engaging. ‘Save Us‘ feels like a proof of concept more than anything else. If this is a snapshot of what their next eighth album will be, then I think I’ll pass. (Oh, who I am kidding, I’ll probably still cover it begrudgingly whenever it comes out.)