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Atreyu | The Curse | review | metal | Lollipop
The Curse (Victory)
by Daniel Lukes
It may well be the trend du jour to inject Gothenburg lead guitars into your hardcore churnings whilst saying "Hey, we're just a rock band," or to adorn your albums with vampires, blood, and broken hearts and still profess your hardcore credentials with a nifty "Hey, we're addressing issues here." But you can't help give Orange County quintet Atreyu some slack. They've been slapping together Arch Enemy-style guitar wails with hardcore rumblings since 2001, even if they've subsequently been overtaken in the notoriety stakes by the likes of Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage, and Avenged Sevenfold.
Ideally, second album The Curse should've been the album to set all that to (last) rites, with its female vampire cover shot, (women are just blood-suckers, right?), its cavalcade of chugging guitars which flirt with but never fully embrace Swedish death metal, its LG Petrov-vs-Chris Carrabba vocals, and its lyrics swamped in Gothic visions of heartache and dead lovers. But it isn't, quite. The Curse has its hot points - the nuanced AFI-isms of "The Right Side of the Bed," the lush ambience of instrumental "An Interlude," and the Swedish DM surge of "Bleeding Mascara." But as a whole, this album suffers from genericism and, well, a bad case of trying to fit in. Up against the glossy stomp of the new Killswitch Engage, the eclectic, melodic bent of the latest Avenged Sevenfold, and the raging ambition of the new My Chemical Romance album, it comes up insecure and hesitant, and comparing it to At The Gates' Slaughter of the Soul would just be plain cruel. In addition, this should be fodder to scream your heart out to when you've just gotten dumped, right? But though The Curse has white hot rage aplenty, when we're talking emotional depth, "I will stand upon my own two feet" (from "My Sanity on the Funeral Pyre") is the deepest and most insightful you're likely to get here.
For the most part, Atreyu sound like they're on the right path to today's status quo: That all-pervasive Gothic/metal-imbued post-hardcore with a heartache theme (thanks AFI). But will the trend be dead and gone by the time they get there? And more importantly, are Atreyu sure they really want to be part of it at all?
(346 North Justine St. #504 Chicago, IL 60607)