Atreyu parted ways with vocalist Alex Varkatzas in September 2020. The band began teasing their first new song without him "Save Us" the next month, which Varkatzas told fans was "fake heavy". The song was released, fans seemed to dig it, and that was that.
Atreyu keyboardist and vocalist Brandon Saller addressed the "fake heavy" comment in a recent interview with Knotfest, mostly just expressing his confusion. Doubly so considering Varkatzas wrote "Save Us".
"The 'fake heavy' thing was — we don't know where that came from," he said. "Alex wrote 'Save Us' with us. He wrote probably seven, eight songs that are on the next record. He was a part of the beginning of the album, so for him to say it's fake heavy, then he wrote a fake-heavy song.
"I think 'Save Us' is one of the heavier songs we've ever written. It is two and a half minutes of facepunch. Another view we've had is no matter who says what, let's do what we've always done and just let the music talk. We're just gonna continue doing that and let the tunes do all the talking. And people will know what we're all about. They'll know everything they need to know from [listening to] the songs."
Saller also added that the band and Varkatzas agreed to have their split be positive, and the "fake heavy" comment just kinda came out of nowhere.
"The four of us were very, very adamant on this whole thing being very, very positive. There's no shitting on people that we wanna do. There's not a part of us that wanted anyone to shit-talk us or him. And our whole stance was, like, this is what it is, but we can still lift each other up and make our fans feel good about the fact that there's no beef; there's no whatever.
"He did his own thing, and it wasn't exactly the kind of idea of a narrative that we would have liked to put forward. We've always, still to this day, been fully positive. When people say stuff about Alex, I'm still, like, 'The dude's awesome. You should support whatever he does next.' He's learning guitar, he's taking interest in different things, and I will still, till I'm blue in the face, say, yeah, support him. If you like his voice, if you like what he did in Atreyu, he's probably gonna make more music. Now you have two bands you can listen to."