Congregation Of The Damned review by Atreyu

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  • Released: Oct 27, 2009
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 6
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.3 Good
  • Users' score: 7.5 (74 votes)
Atreyu: Congregation Of The Damned
2

Sound — 8
Atreyu is a band that undoubtedly holds reverence for the guitar teams of metal's classic era (i.e., Iron Maiden or Judas Priest), which is emphasized by the fact that so many of their latest songs revolve so heavily around a similar format. Guitarists Dan Jacobs and Travis Miguel are an amazingly talented duo that deliver juicy riff after juicy riff on Atreyu's latest record Congregation of the Damned, and they do end up keeping the momentum alive throughout the 13-track CD. One could argue that the band too often relies on big guitar parts, however, and the core songwriting suffers in the process. While there are some big choruses and catchy melodies on Congregation of the Damned, it does usually end up being the Dan-and-Travis Show.

And those two put on quite a show, indeed. From the neo-classical guitar intro of Stop! Before It's Too Late and We've Destroyed It All to the Maiden-like harmonization of the title track, there's little rest for those two. Besides being technically proficient, there does seem to be an effort to dabble in different styles and genres as far as the guitars go. An industrial vibe drives the cinematic You Were The King, Now You're Unconscious, a more emotional, power ballad feeling is heard throughout Storm To Pass, and alternative, Cure-like effects are applied to the first few moments of the intro on Coffin Nails.

If you eliminate the obvious draw that is the guitar section, there are a few songs that could stand on their own. Congregation of the Damned features a powerful, big chorus that is the centerpiece for the entire song, while Black Days Begin contains several elements (from the grooving bass line to layered vocals to a Megadeth-like descending riff) that holds your attention. Atreyu has no shortage for creativity with their musical sections, and that is the selling point for Congregation of the Damned.

The main issue with the album is that drummer/vocalist Brandon Saller is a much better singer than frontman Alex Varkatzas. When Varkatzas decides not to scream and tries out a ballad, the vocals just fall flat. The closing number Wait For You has the potential to be moving and effective with a stripped-down, piano-driven setup, but Varkatzas doesn't have the singing chops to pull it off. There will always be proponents for the screaming aspect of Atreyu, but Saller's clean-yet-strong singing technique is powerful enough to not necessitate intermittent cries from Varkatzas.

Lyrics — 6
The lyrical content doesn't quite match the grandiose nature of the instrumentation on the new album. There are some truly intricate musical sections, and it seems like only the bare basics are provided to fill in the lyrical portion. In the title track you hear such lines as, I get carried away; Lost in a moment; Torn into pieces; Of violent display; I tear it away. The song delivers a theme that has been recycled time and time again, which seems to be the case for a good deal of Congregation of the Damned. They're not terrible lyrics, but they do feel hollow.

Overall Impression — 8
If you're a guitarist, there's a good chance that you'll be left at least a little impressed by Congregation of the Damned. Harmonized riffs and solos are scattered throughout the entire record, with Travis Miguel and Dan Jacobs not hesitating to add in guitar lines underneath the vocals, making for a nice touch. Atreyu is obviously a big proponent of the guitar solo as well, and you'll find some beautifully executed ones (Black Days Begin, Storm To Pass). While the band does give vocalist/drummer Saller plenty of time in the spotlight, they might want to consider turning all singing duties over to him in the future. And if there is such a thing as too much guitar, Atreyu is walking a fine line and might need to rein it in slightly for the good of their songs.

67 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Sidtheboon
    Jesus christ i can't believe this review, this album is brillant compared to the old crap before Death grip on Yesterday its brillant album with the exception of a few songs seriously giving it a rating this low is disgraceful that rating should be given to some of there old shit
    Dakkstar
    I'd like to say I can't believe the backlash this band gets for evolving their sound, but I'm getting used to seeing this. I've been a fan since I first heard "Lip Gloss and Black", but I'm glad theirs more actual singing in a sea of stupid growlers that can't hold a tune was a band that could and now that they are doing so people are made, "wah, it's mainstream, wah, it's too pretty sounding, I don't like singing I only like screaming music because it fuels my angsty rage!" Anyway my point is, good on Atreyu if they lose fans they lose fans, they'll gain more. They'll remain interesting because they evolve!
    random-emo-kill
    is this album more metalcore or post hardcore? metalcore's ok, if its not steriotypical, i like at the gates and the first 2 atreyu full lengths. on the other hand, i hate bfmv and ax7.
    MaximusGigantes
    From the comments here it seems like everyone is either extremely on the side of the old, or extremely on the new side... I'm kind of in the middle- i think that bands SHOULD evolve their sound. This album rocks altogether. Oh and that note in the solo to Insatiable is absolutely sexy, i never had the idea of having a favorite note in a song before, but that note (you know the one im talking about) is definitely a fav.
    jonny108
    imo best album of the year.. Im still awaiting for slash's effort.. But this one made my day.. Downloaded it but definately buying it now XD I like everythin from jazz, hip hop, metal, pop w\e.. As long as i feel art and i enjoy i like it.. So i don't care if you metal core badasses are all thinking its wussy or w\e.. I love it.. Enuff for me.. And try lookin at it, WITHOUT the memories of their previous albuns.. JUDGE IT BY ITS OWN... ffs... Im sick of hearing people, "new album sucks, they ve gone mainstream".. "Sell outs"!..And don't compare them to other bands either... Atreyu and A7X get along so should their fans... I love both bands, music its not a sport or a competetition.. Love one, hate the other w\e crap... And you know how many friends i have who know Atreyu? 0!.. Yeh so mainstream.. They re in the radio all day... >.> SELL OUTS! LOL Next time u underate a band by the fact you assume their overated, well think twice before propesterous assumptions.. thannks!
    kellen.dobmeier
    a7xrokr99 wrote: kellen.dobmeier wrote: Do you seriously want their old adolescent style back? The lyrics were stupid, the guitar was rather boring for the most part. All it had going for it was catchiness. Now they're catchy and technically proficient. They grew. Don't compare them to A7X. A7X went to a style looking for fame and they got it. They're retarded and a terrible band. I don't know who told MShadows he can sing because he can't. Are you an ignorant redneck who's as stubborn as a jackass ??? A7X is amazing. Of course they change sound to get famous. They make music that people like. That's the whole point of a band. They make music that people will listen to. If that's tha case that they're "sell-outs" then so is every other band in tha world. Every band tries to make music people like. If Atreyu's CD doesn't meet your standards then big deal. It's selling and that's somethin you can never do.
    A7X are sellouts. That's a fact well-known to most intelligent music listeners, which you clearly are not. MShadows can't sing and I can't sing...so how do you call one better than the other. To be a better singer than someone else you have to BE a good singer, which he isn't. By the way, what from my post gave any hint that I was "an ignorant redneck who's as stubborn as a jackass?" I'm right. That's what I am. And I certainly am not a redneck, but perhaps a jackass.
    Lohnanmilitia
    Yes, Atreyu has evolved much as Avenged Sevenfold have. A lot of people get mad when a band evolves the way those two have. I will agree with any atreyu fan that The Curse is an amazing record, but we all have to admit that metalcore is a very repetitious genre that has its limitations. This band for me became completely retarded when they released A Death Grip on yesterday and their best of. (I mean, c'mon-you have 3 full lengths and you have a best of already my ass.) But terrible songs like exs and ohs on death grip like seriously. But when Lead sails Paper anchors came out I was shocked, and now Congregation Of The Damned. The band really cares much more about writing just good songs instead of having to fit in a certain style. I appreciate their old stuff, but the new stuff is a fantastic move forward. and i definitely agree with the reviewer Saller shoulda sang the last song, the only song i skip. haha. I'd give the album an 8.5 though as it is mostly solid and yes, the guitar work is sweet.
    kellen.dobmeier
    ignis3389 wrote: This album is trash compared to the curse, and bleeding is a luxury sounds like feel good drag. *Disappointed*
    Feel Good Drag is a good song.
    duncang
    random-emo-kill wrote: is this album more metalcore or post hardcore? metalcore's ok, if its not steriotypical, i like at the gates and the first 2 atreyu full lengths. on the other hand, i hate bfmv and ax7.
    Just...please don't call At The Gates metalcore ever again. Please.
    iburnmyfrendz66
    I got this album the day it came out, and I think I was as impressed with this one as disappointed I was with Lead Sails. To me, that album was a disappointment, but I think they've redeemed themselves, for the most part with this one. They talked about returning to their original roots, and even though they didn't do that completely, they did a pretty damn good job fusing their new stuff with old. I think the music as a whole reflects where they've been, and also how much they've grown. Great album, IMO.
    lodidumbass4
    new albums alright.hope the next one is a mix of this,the last one and a death wish by yesterday.that would be an awesome album
    jonathanonfire
    deathofagod wrote: it's so sad that their sound has changed so drastically. I mean, sure you need to accept change but all this change indicates is that they want more record sales imo. Don't take me for some hardcore underground type guy, it's just the sound they're pushing sells more and it's such a waste because their songwriting/composition was absolutely amazing on The Curse and Suicide Notes (yeah forget the production quality on that album )
    +1
    atlmetal
    i've been listening to atreyu since the curse (which i loved), but i didnt really like death grip. However, unlike most people i really enjoyed lead sails. I thought it was an awesome throwback style record, and even if it wasnt super heavy it was catchy as ****.
    jbridge90
    Dakkstar wrote: I'd like to say I can't believe the backlash this band gets for evolving their sound, but I'm getting used to seeing this. I've been a fan since I first heard "Lip Gloss and Black", but I'm glad theirs more actual singing in a sea of stupid growlers that can't hold a tune was a band that could and now that they are doing so people are made, "wah, it's mainstream, wah, it's too pretty sounding, I don't like singing I only like screaming music because it fuels my angsty rage!" Anyway my point is, good on Atreyu if they lose fans they lose fans, they'll gain more. They'll remain interesting because they evolve!
    You, my friend, are my hero. I really don't understand how everyone hate Lead Sails. Every song has huge chorus' that kick your ass, and for the most part really seem cleverly written. I love all of their albums, and the last two are definitely great editions to their discography.
    deafening
    just listened to a few more songs, its even worse than i thought...not my cup of tea...ever
    iH8CarAccidents
    My account in YouTube is usedtohatecellphones if you wanna look it up. And the video's called "Did Atreyu Steal An Anberlin Riff?"
    deafening
    just gave a couple songs a listen, the nicest and only nice thing to say would be that the drummer has gotten better at singing. It sounds like mainstream trash to me. The guitar solos sound like they got thrown together in 20-30 minutes, the screaming is aaaawwweful and whoever mastered it sure did a shit job IMO. I was hoping for something...better.
    Eurasian_C
    I love how with Atreyu's record history it started with great writing but shitty production, only now it's great production but shitty writing. I saw the album in stores and I was really close to buying it but I figured I'd listen to a few tracks on Youtube before REALLY making my judgement. Let's just say I'm extremely glad I didn't put down the money.
    iH8CarAccidents
    Yeah dude, I have a video on youtube of how they have the same intro as Feel Good Drag on Bleeding is a Luxury. They do sound really similar.
    kellen.dobmeier
    a7xrokr99 wrote: Are you an ignorant redneck who's as stubborn as a jackass ??? A7X is amazing. Of course they change sound to get famous. They make music that people like. That's the whole point of a band. They make music that people will listen to. If that's tha case that they're "sell-outs" then so is every other band in tha world. Every band tries to make music people like. If Atreyu's CD doesn't meet your standards then big deal. It's selling and that's somethin you can never do.
    A7X are sellouts. That's a fact well-known to most intelligent music listeners, which you clearly are not. MShadows can't sing and I can't sing...so how do you call one better than the other. To be a better singer than someone else you have to BE a good singer, which he isn't. By the way, what from my post gave any hint that I was "an ignorant redneck who's as stubborn as a jackass?" I'm right. That's what I am. And I certainly am not a redneck, but perhaps a jackass.
    a7xrokr99
    kellen.dobmeier wrote: Do you seriously want their old adolescent style back? The lyrics were stupid, the guitar was rather boring for the most part. All it had going for it was catchiness. Now they're catchy and technically proficient. They grew. Don't compare them to A7X. A7X went to a style looking for fame and they got it. They're retarded and a terrible band. I don't know who told MShadows he can sing because he can't.
    Are you an ignorant redneck who's as stubborn as a jackass ??? A7X is amazing. Of course they change sound to get famous. They make music that people like. That's the whole point of a band. They make music that people will listen to. If that's tha case that they're "sell-outs" then so is every other band in tha world. Every band tries to make music people like. If Atreyu's CD doesn't meet your standards then big deal. It's selling and that's somethin you can never do.
    TisPyon
    for those of you praising this as best album of the year, you have clearly not listened to The Great Misdirect by BTBAM...
    kellen.dobmeier
    Stretch_Wilson wrote: kellen.dobmeier wrote: a7xrokr99 wrote: kellen.dobmeier wrote: Do you seriously want their old adolescent style back? The lyrics were stupid, the guitar was rather boring for the most part. All it had going for it was catchiness. Now they're catchy and technically proficient. They grew. Don't compare them to A7X. A7X went to a style looking for fame and they got it. They're retarded and a terrible band. I don't know who told MShadows he can sing because he can't. Are you an ignorant redneck who's as stubborn as a jackass ??? A7X is amazing. Of course they change sound to get famous. They make music that people like. That's the whole point of a band. They make music that people will listen to. If that's tha case that they're "sell-outs" then so is every other band in tha world. Every band tries to make music people like. If Atreyu's CD doesn't meet your standards then big deal. It's selling and that's somethin you can never do. A7X are sellouts. That's a fact well-known to most intelligent music listeners, which you clearly are not. MShadows can't sing and I can't sing...so how do you call one better than the other. To be a better singer than someone else you have to BE a good singer, which he isn't. By the way, what from my post gave any hint that I was "an ignorant redneck who's as stubborn as a jackass?" I'm right. That's what I am. And I certainly am not a redneck, but perhaps a jackass. you even know wat a sell out is you dick head. here it is straight and simple for you - basically writing music to appeal to a broader audience to make money instead of writing music that actually appeals to yourself. A7X are the biggest sells out on the planet, end of ****in story.
    I'm the one who said they were sellouts. The other dude was arguing with me. There's two posts in that quoted part. I fixed it in the one underneath. Learn to read man.
    miasmabass420
    Bananapatata wrote: Not as good as Lead Sails.
    your right its not as good as lead sails, its better. shitty mainstream sounding album but a major improvement compared to lead sails
    Shredder Guitar
    that assram who stated that the point of a band is to make music people like, shut up. i believe people start bands to write music that THEY THEMSELVES like, and maybe hope that others will like it too. Do you think Between the Buried and Me is out win some Grammys? I didn't think so - but they write music they love - which is all a band is really asked to do. ..Also, they get better with each album...
    Shredder Guitar
    jonny108 wrote: imo best album of the year.. Im still awaiting for slash's effort.. But this one made my day.. Downloaded it but definately buying it now XD I like everythin from jazz, hip hop, metal, pop w\e.. As long as i feel art and i enjoy i like it.. So i don't care if you metal core badasses are all thinking its wussy or w\e.. I love it.. Enuff for me.. And try lookin at it, WITHOUT the memories of their previous albuns.. JUDGE IT BY ITS OWN... ffs... Im sick of hearing people, "new album sucks, they ve gone mainstream".. "Sell outs"!..And don't compare them to other bands either... Atreyu and A7X get along so should their fans... I love both bands, music its not a sport or a competetition.. Love one, hate the other w\e crap... And you know how many friends i have who know Atreyu? 0!.. Yeh so mainstream.. They re in the radio all day... >.> SELL OUTS! LOL Next time u underate a band by the fact you assume their overated, well think twice before propesterous assumptions.. thannks!
    sorry for a double post, but to be honest i hear becoming the bull, falling down, and slow burn all on the radio at least once a day.
    Rodney Rocket
    This is the first album I bought in a while that I like every song on it. I give it a ROCK'N 6 Stings!
    ZachyV
    This is a fantastic album. Definitely more impressive musically than Lead Sails. Definitely strikes a great balance bewteen their old hardcore ways and their new metal sound. I'd give it a solid 8.5/10. This reviewer is obviously a fan of The Curse....Give the band credit. if they stayed the same year after year, they'd be hated for that too
    henkka_potku
    Sigh... all the reviews are of metalcore albums nowadays... Metalcore and deathcore are the cancer that is killing metal...
    xunholyknightx
    Let me make this clear. I used to love atreyu, and really, i do still enjoy their music HOWEVER (i am probably gonna get so much shit for this) i think that a7x did a much better job of changing their sound and still feeling legit. Honestly, a 9 minute song with horn arrangements about having sex with dead bodies (a little piece of heaven) is not exactly reaching out to mainstream radio listeners! Besides, atreyu's radio friendlier albums just sound way more generic and sound like their trying to achieve a sound that just doesn't work for them!
    CLib
    This is an awful review. Take the singing duties away from Alex? Atreyu cannot exist without both singers and i honestly wish they would keep the mic away from Brandon on the heavier songs. Most importantly... too much guitar? Are you crazy? Atreyu's guitar riffs show just how talented they are, its much better than power chords. Terrible review
    TheJudasKiss
    kellen.dobmeier wrote: Do you seriously want their old adolescent style back? The lyrics were stupid, the guitar was rather boring for the most part. All it had going for it was catchiness. Now they're catchy and technically proficient. They grew. Don't compare them to A7X. A7X went to a style looking for fame and they got it. They're retarded and a terrible band. I don't know who told MShadows he can sing because he can't.
    The M.Shadows comment made me lol. I used to love A7X, now his voice just irritates me.
    iisnickrier
    Yeah... not really impressed at all. Some of the choruses sound like Def Leppard, like Storm To Pass. When I was listening to Stop Before It's Too Late and We've Destroyed It All, I was thinking stop singing like Marilyn Manson before I lose all respect for your band. The guitar work honestly sounds kind of sloppy in the intro to that song as well. Not really hitting that lower note in the legato stuff very clearly. I was into The Curse a while ago because they didn't really sound like anyone else and they did more with guitar than a lot of bands, but now I basically can't stand them after hearing this.
    duncang
    Checked. Sweaty people aplenty: calm it.
    henkka_potku wrote: Sigh... all the reviews are of metalcore albums nowadays... Metalcore and deathcore are the cancer that is killing metal...
    I await your comment on the upcoming Katatonia, Slayer and Urgehal articles.
    Synysterwylde22
    about ppl calling A7X sell-outs: they did no "sell out" they wrote what they felt would fit their record ad were in an experimental stage just like Atreyu was on Lead Sails Paper Anchor. Every band has that time period:Metallica and Load,Bullet For My Valentine:Scream Aim Fire. And can ppl focus on what this is about:Congregation Of the Damned?? I'll admit i was disappointed by by all means a good album.
    Lohnanmilitia
    henkka_potku wrote: Sigh... all the reviews are of metalcore albums nowadays... Metalcore and deathcore are the cancer that is killing metal...
    jonny108 wrote: imo best album of the year..
    I agree deathcore is killing metal, as for releases- I love this album but the new Between the buried and me, Katatonia, Swallow The Sun, are all better than this...haha.
    plakkert
    I found the whole album really sub-par, much like their previous effort. I don't usually say this but, I wish they'd go back to The Curse.
    koirala
    bleeding is a luxury n so wrong r awesome..... also think that Alex Varkatzas is a much better singer than Brandon Saller n "wait for u" is big time ****ed up song
    deathofagod
    it's so sad that their sound has changed so drastically. I mean, sure you need to accept change but all this change indicates is that they want more record sales imo. Don't take me for some hardcore underground type guy, it's just the sound they're pushing sells more and it's such a waste because their songwriting/composition was absolutely amazing on The Curse and Suicide Notes (yeah forget the production quality on that album )
    Drool_Mouse
    the songwriting on suicide notes wasn't that great. a lot of the riffs were recycled. now do i enjoy it? of course, but the progressions of the chords were the same for a lot of the songs. as far as the new album goes, i think its great. it literally is the mix between old style and new. and the only reason the style changed agai, isn't for record sales. think about it. everyone complained nonstop - and still does - about the last album. so they mixed in more of their older style to appease their fans. its that simple. is the band perfect? no. but i think they deserve a break once in a while
    Stretch_Wilson
    this is a shit effort considering they hailed it a come back to there old style which i didn't see one bit of at any stage. i will never play another track off this album again
    Crovo717
    Thing is, if atreyu never changes their sound people will say it gets boring, and generic, they've mixed it up with almost every album, you can't expect absolute greatness from every album, it still has tastes of old, and some styles of new
    archangelseren
    terrible album with sub-par songs that wants to be popular but never will be so stop trying. fan of black days begin though
    BASEnutter
    You know...I might just buy this album. I've been listening to the songs on it, and as far as I care, this is the best Atreyu have ever done. I love it.