Sound — 10
Pretty much any Atreyu fan has noticed that the band's sound has changed since their inception. From being a very back-to-basics metalcore group, to the now technicall refined (for the most part) band. First change noticable is the sound of the album: Alex no longer utilizes his signature scream as his main method of vocalization, but prefers either a gruff chanting, almost rap like style (Mike Patton anyone). Brandon still sings the way he used to, but if anything, his vocals have gotten better with age. Guitar wise: Dan and Travis have a super tight sound, some sweet '80s esque solos, but most of all some great riffs. Bass wise: Marc's gotten good! Usually the bassline in Atreyu music is kinda so-so, but he's gotten better, and has some wicked fills on the new album (listen to "Slow Burn," one of my favorite tracks on the album, and up the bass on your sound system a tad to hear it better). Drum wise: Brandon's drumming hasn't changed too-too much, but he's still got some great fills. Musicianship aside, the song structures are also different. The opener, Doomsday, is a straightfoward rocker. Second track, Honor, is a bit of an anthem-style song. Falling Down, the third track, is the first sign of something weird on the album. It starts off having this kinda swing style shuffle going on. For the chorus, it's pretty straightfoward, then goes back to the swing, etc. till the last part of the song during the final chorus: a brass section is added to the mix. At first, many of you probably said, "What? Brass in an Atreyu song? Sell out!" But I have to disagree. The song is definitely not their style, but it's a good song. The fourth track, Becoming the Bull, everyone's heard, so I'm not going to delve into that. The fifth track, When Two Become One, is a straight-up punk rocker. Lose It, the sixth track, starts out like a Bon Jovi song (acoustic guitar, westerny melody, think Wanted Dead or Alive), but delves into a harder chorus which also features one of the few times on the album Alex's usual screaming comes back into the picture. The track is followed by No One Cares, and is a bit more mellow than the other album tracks. Good song, but there's better. The big political song on the this album is the eighth track, Can't Happen Here, which is pretty much an anti-war song. In my humble opinion, it's a good song, but again, there's better on the album. The 9th track on the album (and surprisingly my favorite) is Slow Burn. The song has a bit of a dancey beat going to it, with some alt rock style chording in the verse, before it breaks into a more hard rock chorus. Completely different from most Atreyu songs out there, which is probably the main reason it's my favorite track on the album. After this is Blow, which features Josh Todd of Buckcherry fame. If you were to ever mix hair metal with hardcore, Blow is what would happen. Good song, incredibly different from other songs by the group, but this makes it really good. The closing track, Lead Sails (And a Paper Anchor) is an epic ballad that starts of with some incredibly unlikely yet still cool slide guitar. Definitely one of the great tracks on the album. There's one bonus track on every edition (or so I believe) and one that's UK specific. Based on the fact I have the American edition, I'll talk about the American Track. The bonus track is "epic," yes, epic, the Faith No More song. Structure wise, the song is the same, but Alex and Brandon's vocals add an incredibly edgier vibe to the song. Do I like it better than the original? Yes and No. Yes, because I feel slightly manlier headbanging to it, and No because... well, because Mike Patton's not singing! All in all, I love the sound of this album. Insanely unlike their other albums, but a damn good one.
Lyrics — 8
Atreyu lyrics are pretty standard throughout their albums; love, heartache, etc. Granted, on this album, Alex has written some deeper stuff, and even wrote about the war in Iraq. The rest of the lyrics on the album are alright, not amazing or life changing, but good. Based on the fact that none of the lyrics have really stuck in my mind super long (granted, this is just from listening to the album a lot), I'm marking it down a point. However, based on the fact that Atreyu jumped on the "Anti-War Song" bandwagon, and released an anti-war song, I'm marking them down a point. Don't get me wrong. This does not reflect my opinion of the war, nor does this say my opinion. The reason I'm marking it down is because, in my humble opinion, if they wanted to go political, there's a slew of topics to cover, not just the war; Darfur, North Korea, American Economy, etc.
Overall Impression — 9
I think the rest of my review summed up the album. It's insanely different from any other Atreyu album to date, but this makes it great (no rhyme intended). The only thing I wish the album was better in would be the lyric department, seeing as they're not that amazing. Now, a little forewarning: when purchasing this album, approach with an open mind. Don't go into this album thinking "How well will this compare to The Curse, or Deathgrip, or Suicide Notes?". Be open to the band exploring new ideas, new ways of writing, etc. Also, as a little heads up so that you don't think I'm a Top 40 Lover who listens to no other music, I listen to pretty much anything and everything: from Bach to Mozart to Tchaikovsky to Boston to Cream to Black Sabbath to Zepplin to Green Day to Steve Ray Vaughn to BB King to System of a Down to Carcass to Morbid Angel. I'll listen to anything, but on the condition that is actually sounds good. I've also been actively playing music sing I was seven (nearly a decade I've been immersed in music), and even before then my parents played a lot of music for me. So, granted I may be a teenager, consider my background in my opinion. I believe that this album is very good, and should be bought by a lot of people. I have no idea why this CD has a low rating... wait, I do; many of you don't listen to stuff with an open mind! Take the album in for what it is, not what the band used to be like.