Atreyu: Long Live

When Atreyu announced they were taking a break to pursue other musical interests, fans were concerned that the band was done forever and after hearing side projects I Am War, Fake Figures and Hell Or Highwater, wondered what it would sound like if they did continue. You faithful diehards can unclench your cheeks knowing that the band’s 6th studio album and first for new label Spinefarm Records Long Live doesn’t stray far from the sound that made them famous and was well worth the six year wait from 2009’s Congregation of the Damned. The album was produced by Fred Archambault and is not just the band’s most diverse and compelling work to date, it could just be the best thing they’ve ever done. For you fans hungry for a return to the sound of the band’s landmark albums Suicide Notes and Butterfly Kisses & The Curse, the driving double kick and bellicose riffing in “Reckless” and lead single “Long Live” will more than feed your appetite. As will the brutal breakdown and blistering solos in “Start to Break” and “Live to Labor.” A song about working your life away for a system that works against you, just to survive. “I Would Kill, Lie, Die (For You),” a song about your willingness to give your everything to a love stronger than life itself, is punctuated by a skull crushing bassline and bone jarring rhythms. While “Cut off the Head” is a moshpit inducing behemoth that takes the stance that the punishment should fit the crime for those who prey on the weak. Elsewhere, “Brass Balls” is an old school charmer who’s title and chant of “Say what you want, We don’t give a fuck” says it all, while the face melting fury of “Heartbeats and Flatlines” is textured and absorbing. From the commercial hard rock of “A Bitter Broken Memory,” which deals with ending a destructive relationship to “Do You Know Who You Are,” that employs the familiar stomp stomp clap of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” or the Avenged Sevenfold meets Mushroomhead atmospherics of “Moments Before Dawn,” Long Live covers a lot of musical ground and is satisfying on all fronts. Here’s the bottom line. Long Live is refreshing and engrossing. 8 out of 10. Eric Hunker