ALBUM REVIEW: Atreyu – The Beautiful Dark of Life

With music festivals leaning into the resurfacing of Myspace-era nostalgia, it is not surprising these guys have a new album out. Atreyu’s newest effort The Beautiful Dark of Life (Spinefarm Records) not only revives the head-banging brand of emo your “top 8” friends were once into, but it picks up where they left off with 2021’s Baptized

There has been an ongoing change in direction since parting with vocalist Alex Varkatzas in late 2020 and having Brandon Saller step out from behind the drums to focus on singing. This makes their songs more radio-friendly than the band who released The Curse. This is not a hardcore or even a metalcore album, but a pissed-off and ambitious hard rock one. This album was slowly released as a series of EPs and it wasn’t until “Capital F” that they brought a crunch to the guitars that bordered more on nu-metal. 

There is an almost industrial throb to “GOD – DEVIL”. The vocals belt out the anthemic chorus; it’s a simple formula that still has life left in it.  The band is firmly locked into fan bases of Welcome to Rockville or Rocklahoma-styled festivals that will get everyone’s fists pumping to the more pop-punk sensibilities prevailing here. All the angst gets vented on the verses. The hooky chorus of “Gone” perhaps is the most effective moment of this more commercial genre swing. 

You should not be surprised that “I Don’t Want to Die” feels like a hair metal ballad, given they covered Bon Jovi on their breakthrough album. However, it lacks the grit needed to separate themselves from bands like Avenged Sevenfold

To the band’s credit, their songwriting is almost as solid as that of Desmond Child or Aldo Nova, who penned most of the arena-rocking radio staples of the eighties. “Immortal” stays with the status quo for commercial hard rock, with the obligatory screamed breakdown that paints the proceeding with enough menace to convince your average suburban fourteen-year-old or take thirty-somethings back in time to the early 2000s. 

This nu-metal cross-over they flirt with is a much more interesting approach that helps them come into their own and toy with cross genres. By the end of next summer, if the world is still turning, rapped verses to “Come Down” will in retrospect prove these guys are ahead of the trend, as the nu-metal revival bursts into mainstream consciousness. 

The title track that closes the album leans into their former sound while contrasting it with a Pop-Punk chorus. For what this is, this album is well-produced as everything carries a stadium-ready sound. It is also generally well-written, even as it leans more in a pop-punk direction. If this prompts younger fans to be interested in music outside of generic Top-40 hits, then this album is doing something right.

Buy the album here:

7 / 10