Lead Sails Paper Anchor
Over the years, Atreyu have been called a lot of things: Metalcore, Glam rock and arena-emo to name a few. However, the best way to describe their fourth full-length Lead Sails Paper Anchor is simply uneven. For those of you wondering if a band who sport three kick drums and towering walls of guitar cabinets live could possibly make their sound any bigger than it was on 2006’s A Death-Grip On Yesterday, don’t worry, the answer is unequivocally yes (no doubt thanks to Used producer John Feldmann)-unfortunately, no production technique can mask the album’s inconsistent songwriting.
Taking a clue from their O.C. peers in Avenged Sevenfold, Atreyu frontman Alex Varkatzas traded his screams for singing on Lead Sails-and although it may catch longtime fans off-guard, it largely complements the complex melodic interplay of virtuoso guitarists Travis Miguel and Dan Jacobs. The anthemic opener “Doomsday” sets the album’s tone early via chunky riffing, concise solos and a melodic chorus sung by drummer Brandon Saller that stretches toward the stratosphere. This formula is evident for much of Lead Sails with various permutations; the arena-ready anthem “Honor” features a Pantera-esque groove that will undoubtedly get pits moving and “Falling Down” expertly implements horns in a way that recalls Cursive’s Happy Hollow for the tattooed masses.
However, despite that Lead Sails starts out strong, it quickly loses steam as the album wears on. About halfway through the disc, one begins to wonder if Varkatzas actually writes lyrics or haphazardly arranges clichés on a piece of paper-and when he sings, “Grab the bull by the horns, the old adage goes” in a tone that’s eerily reminiscent of A7X frontman M. Shadows, it’s difficult not to cringe. Unfortunately, that’s nothing compared to the Mötley Crüe-inspired rocker “Blow,” a profanity-laden song that isn’t only a non sequitur in the context of the album (yup, that’s a cowbell count-off), but will also literally make you dumber by listening to it.
Going into Lead Sails, some Atreyu fans were scared Feldmann would change the band’s sound-and while songs like “Can’t Happen Here” and “No One Cares” are markedly more commercial-friendly, they’re also solid songs. Ironically, the problem with Lead Sails is that the former Goldfinger frontman didn’t step in and exert a little quality control. Then again, maybe it’s not his fault. “We’re not sorry and we won’t conform,” Varkatzas croons at one point, “it’s not our choice but something inborn.” Ultimately it’s up the fans to decide whether this sentiment is sincere or just more cock-rock posturing-but for better or worse, we’re banking that Atreyu mean what they say. (HOLLYWOOD) Jonah Bayer
Avenged Sevenfold’s City Of Evil
Killswitch Engage’sThe End Of Heartache
The Used’s Lies For The Liars
3. Falling Down
4. Becoming The Bull
5. Lose It
6. Two Become One
7. No One Cares
8. Can’t Happen Here
9. Slow Burn
11. Lead Sails (And A Paper Anchor)
RELEASE DATE: AUG 28