Sound — 10
"Suicide Notes and Butterfly Kisses" is an emotionally charged fusion of screaming metallic hardcore and catchy breakdowns. Screaming backdrops from singer Alex Varkatzas pierce the beat along with drummer/singer Brandon Saller, who provides excellent harmony with his lighter chorus singing. Every song is a very worthy effort, each offering their own unique stab at hardcore/metal. Although Atreyu likes to play it dark and rough, there are much lighter tones in several areas of the album. "Lip Gloss and Black", for instance, is a non-stop dynamic hardcore song. In the end, though, melodic piano cuts in and slows it down a bit. Then the appregio-driven solo in the end breaks in and sends the listener into music bliss. For Atreyu to introduce such a harsh change from styles is ballsy to say at the least. It only shows the growth of the band as a true, mature Southern California band. All in all, the drums and two guitars are very technical at times (easily heard by the finger-tapping in some songs). But at the same time, the music can be very "pretty."
Lyrics — 8
Being hardcore and all, it would be pretty pointless to write much about the overwhelming, breath-taking lyrics Alex lashes out. Why? Because it's not all cut and dry. Sure, a lot of it is understandable and you can get the general drift of the point of the song. I feel that the style and progression of the drums/bass/guitars give the feeling and vibe of the songs. Not to say the lyrics aren't awesome, either. To listen to Alex scream his heart out (which he does very well) is quite and experience and will give off a vibe like no other. Although I think Atreyu wouldn't be Atreyu without Alex Varkatzas, I still think the singing by drummer Brandon Saller is without a doubt the best as far as lyrics go. He cleans up any shabbiness Alex leaves behind. They lyrics correlate with the music very well. How do you rate the lyrics then? Atreyu's lyrics are great for that type of music, but I feel for any other genre, their lyrics wouldn't be so great. Overall, I personally give it a four.
Overall Impression — 10
Compared to other bands of the same genre, Atreyu simply kicks ass! Other people have told me to listen to some other bands because they are kind of like Atreyu, and they just don't measure up! Atreyu seems to have a true love for what they do, and the fact that they come from Southern California is just plain out kick ass! Being a local fan of theirs, and seeing them live, I just have to give it up for Atreyu. If you ever see them live, you'll be blown away. Other bands really just can't do shit live. I love alot about this album. It's an excellent first album by Atreyu. The only really truly bad thing about their music is it can be short at times, and you wish the songs could go on just a bit longer. The CD is worth getting if you like emotional music. The vibe will carry you into several deep thoughts about life, relationships, friends, love, hate, and all sorts of emotions. If you've just heard of Atreyu, a good start of giving them a try is to get their music video of Lip Gloss and Black. I figure, if you like that, you'll love Atreyu.