Sound — 9
Atreyu have strayed off the metalcore path with their new album, and while it will surprise longtime fans, it's a good step up. Guitarists Dan Jacobs and Travis Miguel crank out eardrum-popping, airplane-soaring solos on tracks like "Blow", "When Two Are One", and "Doomsday." The latter, written about the death of Alex Varkatzas' grandfather, kicks in with a rhythmic melody. "Honor" sports a mean groove, while "Falling Down" incorporates a rockin' jazz solo. "Becoming the Bull" storms in. One only wonders why Atreyu favor a more mainstream sound (evident on "Slow Burn"), but they stick to what they believe in. Besides pedal steel guitars and a Turkish saz, this album's a rocker.
Lyrics — 7
Frontman Alex Varkatzas steps up to sing, instead of his trademark screaming. The only evident screaming resides on the lead-in of "When Two Are One," and it sounds more like Silverstein, and on the bonus, "Epic." His writing isn't "I-hate-the-world" so much anymore, it's more to the tune of "Who-am-I-what-should-I-be?" The lyrics are definitely more straightforward. The lyrics mesh well with the music. Varkatzas holds his own, in the studio, but its drummer Brandon Saller's powerful pipes that kick in and beat the living crap out of anything within a ten-mile distance. His choruses and help on verses pull everything together, sort of a "rhythym singer."
Overall Impression — 9
This album sounds akin to Avenged Sevenfold's new eponymous album, with Atreyu's album more thrashy. A7X's new CD is more organized. My personal favorites include tracks 1-7 and 9-12. The only blemish is a live disappointment and a bad eighth track. I would buy this again, though I held off on buying it for a while. If you want a blow-your-brains-out record with some variety, pick up Lead Sails Paper Anchor.