Atreyu’s “A Death-Grip on Yesterday”

Atreyu / A Death-Grip On Yesterday / March 28, 2006
04. The Theft / 07. Your Private War
08. My Fork In The Road (Your Knife In My Back)

The one thing I can say about Atreyu is that if you like consistency and you like one of their albums, you will probably love them all. Consistency is certainly not always a bad thing and has its reassuring qualities; change has the potential to be hit or miss while consistency has a tendency to hit the bulls-eyes…for a while. There comes a point in every band’s lifespan when a crucial decision comes into play; do we give the people what they want, or do we try something new and risk losing fans? I think Atreyu chose to play it safe this time around…again. However, I can’t say it’s textbook consistency. Another thing I noticed about Atreyu is that each CD seems to be a continuation of the previous release, as if “Creature” was the next song after “Five Vicodin Chased With a Shot of Clarity,” with more of a gradual change that cannot be determined from CD to CD, but comparing their first release with this new one sheds some more light on their attempts to innovate.

The Atreyu on A Death-Grip On Yesterday is a more melodic Atreyu. The hard riffs and throat curdling screams are still present, but they’ve become a bit more varied in their instrumentation. Much like the CD itself, songs are short (beside the final track, nothing surpasses four minutes) and to the point, completely disregarding gradual intros or entrance pieces; songs seem to almost begin straight at the chorus. There isn’t too much difference in the lyrics, and I find myself hearing songs like “Ex’s and Oh’s” and marveling once again at the ability Atreyu has to churn out lyrics that read like enchanting poetry, yet sing like trite anecdotes.

It’s not a bomb of a record, but I can’t help feeling a little disappointed. There are only nine songs, and when I found a song I was really into, it was over before I really started to get into it. Case in point, “The Theft.” This is just a really, really good song. The verses invite a mystical acoustic guitar with a serene choral backdrop before crashing into a chorus of almost epic proportions sans appearing staple based like some Aerosmith songs can begin to sound. And if you think that comparison is strange, here’s another one: I think Atreyu should pull a T.M.Revolution. That is, not necessarily to put out a cover album of their own songs, but to provide some evidence that they are able to completely evolve their sound without losing the essence of their unique musical spirit (a.k.a. UNDER:COVER). In other words, bring something to the table that old fans will appreciate and bring in new fans who might not have liked their earlier work. It’s difficult, but not entirely implausible.

Until then, I’ll remain disappointed in this release, as it merely seems a continuation of The Curse and doesn’t nearly reflect the time the band claims they spent on it.

Official Site
Buy A Death-Grip on Yesterday