Sound — 7
The opening track "Doomsday" definitely starts the album off with a punch. It's more akin to the older Atreyu albums, but with a more thrashy, '80s feel. More aggressive shouting than screaming on this one, with a familiar sounding sung chorus. Overall, a song that's pretty easy to get into, not the best on the album, but good! "Honor" is one of the more unique off the album; Alex's vocals remind me of something you'd hear in hardcore punk, definitely a divergence from his old sound. I didn't like it at first, but it's definitely a matured sound. "Falling Down" is one of my favorites off the album. It's got a cool vibe to it that makes you want to move to the beat. It's got that "big chorus" sound to it. "Becoming the Bull" is the first single off this album and probably my least favorite song. I find the whole song to just sound too familiar and overdone. Nothing really unique about it. "When Two Are One" is another great one. Very '80s. Fantastic lead work with an awesome half-time chorus. Overall, badass. "Lose It" is probably my favorite "heavy" Atreyu song ever written. It's the heaviest on the album, but has a nice mix of "calm" in the verses, that builds up to an awesome chorus. Alex's screams are at his best here and the chorus is one of the catchiest I've heard. Love it. "No One Cares" I could never really get in to. It's not that it's bad, I do quite like the sound of it, it's just too slow to follow up "Lose It." "Can't Happen Here" is another one I'm not big on. I do REALLY enjoy the vocal melody on the chorus, but the rest of the song I could live without; not Alex's best work here. "Slow Burn" has a cool vibe to it, reminds me a lot of their older songs, at least on the sung vocal parts. Gets kind of monotonous after a while, though. "Blow" I LOVE! Great '80s vibe to it that I just love listening to. It's a nice "F--k You" to the music business. A great message to all the haters of this album, and a song that really pays tribute to them completely changing their sound on this album and not caring if you like it or not. Love it. "Lead Sails (And a Paper Anchor)" is the perfect closing to this album. Far and above my favorite Atreyu song ever written, and one of my favorite songs, period. Such a beautiful song with an awesome buildup. Can't really say more about this one, it's perfect. As far as perfection is concerned, this album is a HUGE step up from anything before it. It has a very polished and professional sound. Older albums were very low and low-mid heavy, this one is much more balanced, with crunchier and clearer guitars. I tried listening to some older Atreyu the other day and I really couldn't stand it. The overall sound of those albums was gross.
Lyrics — 8
Lyrics on this album seem to be much more thought out than others before. Atreyu used to sing about death, hate, sadness, etc. You know... Generally "emo" stuff, which is why this band was classified in that genre to begin with. This is the first album where I've actually ever noticed Alex's singing (maybe he just didn't sing much before, but man... I LOVE his singing, more so than Brandon's). This album uses a lot more metaphors and the overall lyrical content is much more deep and heartfelt. They make you think. Alex's screams didn't impress me on this album at first. Before, he had a much heavier feel, but now that I've gone back and listened to the older albums, it's very evident that this album marked a HUGE change in vocal technique, for the better. Before, his vocals were gargled together and very unrefined. You couldn't understand his lyrics at all. His vocals on this album are much clearer and very well suited to the music. I really can't even listen to their older stuff anymore, because his vocals back then kill it for me. Interestingly enough, it's his vocals on this album that initially made me dislike it!
Overall Impression — 8
This is actually a follow-up to a review I wrote for this album 5 years ago. In 2007 when this CD came out, I was pretty disappointed in the change of sound from Atreyu's previous albums and seem to have been pretty bitter about it. Since then, my musical tastes have matured, and this has become one of my favorite albums in my collection. Not only did it mark a maturing for the band, but also for the genre. The guitar work on this album is fantastic and the vocal melodies are just as good. The intro riff to "Blow" is often one of the things I play on a new guitar and is still one of my favorite songs to jam out to with my musician friends. It's high energy and just a ton of fun to play. "Lose It" is one of my favorite songs Atreyu has ever written and I can't help but sing (or scream) along to it. The song has such an intensity that really helps assert a climax to the album. The title track, "Lead Sails (And a Paper Anchor)" is quite possibly one of my favorite songs ever. The vocal melodies are masterfully written and the whole song just has a vibe to it that most bands will never pull off. This song is so good, that I could listen to it on repeat and still rock out to it after an hour. Overall, this album is simply fantastic. While it does have a few tracks that I don't really like (which is pretty saddening, considering most all of them were the singles off this album), the underlying songs that weren't played on the radio are great. It's a shame "Lose It" was never a single, because I think Atreyu would have a much larger following today if it was.