Sound — 10
This album sounds like nothing else out there. Atreyu is, in my opinion, one of the best bands out there as far as the music is concerned. What sets Atreyu apart is the guitar work of Dan Jacobs and Travis Miguel. They've managed to bring back the art of lead guitar which has sorely been missed in this genre. The solos (of which there are many) remind me a bit of what Metallica used to do back in the 80's. Speedy pull-offs and pick taps on top of deep, crunching, heavy backing riffs make for some good listening. The bass lines by Marc McKnight, while relatively standard, get the job done behind the guitars. (He does bust out some cool riffs now and again.) Brandon Saller's drumming is also outstanding. Musically, The Curse is a giant step forward from Suicide Notes and Butterfly Kisses.
Lyrics — 6
The lyrics on this album deal with the usual rock themes (love, sex, drug trips, etc.) However, it matters little, as Alex Varkatzas's anguished screaming makes it impossible to tell what he is talking about anyway. I am not a fan of vocalists who only know how to scream, as I don't find it pleasant to listen to (just my opinion). There is no melody or clarity to his vocals, although fans of this style will love it. I would give them a lower score in this category, but Brandon Saller's singing on the choruses on most songs adds a much-needed counterbalance to Alex's screeching, and redeems the vocal tracks somewhat.
Overall Impression — 10
Although I knew when I bought the album that Alex's incessant screaming would annoy me, when I listened to it for the first time, I was completely blown away. On this album, the musicians show more range than on Suicide Notes and Butterfly Kisses. My favorite tracks include "Right Side of the Bed", "My Flesh a Tomb", "Demonology and Heartache", and "Five Vicodin Chased With Clarity", which serves as the album's closer. I don't know if this is a dirty trick by the band, but the last minute or so of this song is pure adrenyline that makes you crave more Atreyu. Solution: listening to the album again, robbing other CDs in my collection of playtime. Pure genius, guys! If you like Atreyu, buy this album. If you like this genre, buy this album. If you listen to Mozart, buy this album. These guys deserve recognition for making music that simply excels over the 3-chord crap that gets endless airplay on the radio.