atreyu 2020

Here’s why Atreyu aren’t bringing in a new vocalist to replace Alex Varkatzas

Last week, Atreyu began teasing their new single “Save Us,” the first song to be released since the departure of former vocalist Alex Varkatzas.

The single finally arrived Friday, and it is Atreyu’s “heaviest song” they’ve released in a long time. Now, the band are opening up on why they’re moving forward without bringing in a new vocalist to replace Varkatzas.

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At the end of September, Atreyu confirmed the rumors that Varkatzas had departed from the group to pursue other projects. Both Atreyu and Varkatzas released separate statements that made it seem as though the split was amicable. 

It appears that Atreyu are starting fresh with their new single “Save Us.” The band completely wiped their Instagram posts and unveiled various teasers for the new song. Then, on Friday, Atreyu finally dropped the aggressive new single.

As well, the band have officially confirmed their new lineup. Drummer Brandon Saller is stepping in on lead vocals while bassist Porter McKnight is handling harsh vocals. Kyle Rosa is taking over on drums, and Dan Jacobs and Travis Miguel will both remain on guitar.

Rosa is Saller’s bandmate in Hell Or Highwater. He also filled in for Saller on drums after Varkatzas left Atreyu’s European tour due to health issues. As Saller tells Cutter’s Rockcast, having Rosa step in on that tour worked very well and the lineup clicked instantly.

“I think we were really blessed with a moment last summer, where we had to go to Europe without Al, because of his back,” Saller says. “The two things are completely unrelated and have nothing to do with each other, really, but we had played in Europe and felt what that was like with the lineup that we currently have, and it worked, and it felt strong.”

Following Varkatzas’ departure, Saller knew he would be taking over on vocals. When it came time to find a drummer, Rosa was the first person that came to mind.

“So when it came time to figure out what was gonna be, obviously, Kyle Rosa was our first choice to call to play drums,” Saller continues on Cutter’s Rockcast. “If anyone knows me in Hell or Highwater, Kyle is the drummer of Hell or Highwater. He’s one of my best friends and just a phenomenal human. So we kind of started playing with him and jamming with him and going through the motions to see how it felt, and it still felt really great. So that’s where we are now.”

Saller also elaborates on why Atreyu decided to not bring in a completely new vocalist after Varkatzas’ departure.

“A new voice, I think, would completely shatter people, whereas I think just having me — everyone knows me, every Atreyu fan knows my voice and knows what it is in the band, and it’s still there,” he says. “And we just integrated Porter doing a lot more of the screaming stuff. I’m doing some of the screaming stuff on the record, but most of its Porter. If you know our last five records, you know his voice too. Since he’s been in the band, he’s been screaming on records and he’s been in the mix. So it still felt really familiar. We’re trying to take ourselves outside of the band and put ourselves in the fans’ shoes. And this still feels so much like ATREYU, and I feel like we’re stronger than ever. And it feels good, and we all are so excited for this.”

Fans are now getting the first taste of Atreyu’s next album with “Save Us.” Produced by John Feldmann, Atreyu share that the new single is one of the heaviest they have ever written in a long time.

“‘Save Us’ is not only a reflection of where we are musically, but also a mirror to the world in this ominous moment in time,” the band say in a statement. “We chose to pair the powerful message with one of the heavier songs we’ve ever written. This song feels like the anthem that we all need right now. To us, it’s a call to action to light the fire in ourselves. We can begin to make great change — but only if we look inside first.”

Saller anticipates that fans will be surprised to hear the aggressiveness on “Save Us.” 

“I think a lot of people expected us to, for some reason, put out a pop album,” he says on Cutter’s Rockcast. “It’s probably the heaviest record we’ve made in a long time. And that’s not to say there isn’t some freakin’ pop-style stuff on there — there is, just like every other Atreyu record. Every record we’ve done for the past decade-plus has had those moments, and that’s always been the band we are. It’s brutal, and it still feels like Atreyu to me.”

The new single arrives just days after Varkatzas made some ambiguous comments on his Instagram. Last week, he posted two separate stories that used the hashtags “fake heavy” and “just wait and see.”  Although Varkatzas hasn’t confirmed whether or not his comments are directed towards Atreyu, fans think the timing of them is more than just a coincidence.

Atreyu are working on their eighth album to be released through Spinefarm as the follow-up to 2018’s In Our Wake. “Save Us” follows one other new song released since then, which was “Battle Drums” with Kayzo.

Stream “Save Us” and listen to Brandon Saller’s full interview below.

Listen to “Rockcast 207 – Brandon Saller of Atreyu Saves Us” on Spreaker.

What are your thoughts on Atreyu’s new song? Let us know in the comments below.