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Askew Review 15

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– The Curse (Victory Records) Once again the mighty Victory Records has churned out another blistering album, The Curse; the highly anticipated sophomore release from Atreyu. The band found their niche in the hardcore scene with their 2002 release Suicide Notes and Butterfly Wings. Filled with 12 chaotic and emotional songs of metallic guitar riffs and catchy melodies, The Curse explores themes of isolation, paranoia, redemption, immortality and solace. The album starts off with a goth-like intro of screams, singing, and yes, synthesizers that comfortably rolls into “Bleeding Mascara,” one of the harder, more aggressive tracks on the album. “Right Side of the Bed” and “This Flesh a Tomb” expose a much softer side of Atreyu that is geared toward appealing a more mainstream audience courtesy of drummer Brandon Saller effects-bolstered melodic singing. Yet, not to disappoint the hardcore fanatic, “You Eclipsed by Me” (the hardest song on the album) is packed with breakdowns, meaty, unpolished screaming and chants that even a veteran-hardcore fan would scream along with. The latter tracks mark the maturity Atreyu has undergone since their formation as Saller and vocalist Alex Varkatzas explore new boundaries of their dual-vocals, mending past mistakes while knitting their web of melody and screaming together perfectly. Adding to the puzzle, guitarist Travis Miguel and Dan Jacobs work coincidentally, never once over-shadowing the other while tearing down past boundaries (lack of guitar quality) and creating a legendary (yes, you read that correctly) guitar duo loaded with ferocious breakdowns, tedious finger-tapping, searing solos and consonant melodies. “Five Vicodin Chased with a Shot of Clarity,” by-far the best song on The Curse, incorporates the ever-present screams interlaced with melody along with a bone-shattering chant closing the album, “This is, This is life….This is, This is struggle….This is, This is love....This is, This is War!” The mettle on the album never slows down and never gives in to any trepidation that Atreyu previously had creating an almost flawless hardcore album. Although the 80’s British Metal influence is still present, Atreyu have perfected their genre bending hardcore to a new threshold. Fans old and new should pick this album up immediately; it will never leave your cd player. — Mike Blanks



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