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The former reigning kings of metalcore, Atreyu, are back, for better or for worse. And the aptly named Long Live should answer all questions asked.

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Album Review: ATREYU Long Live

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It’s always really exciting when a well-known band actually makes it back from a hiatus, especially with the same line-up that we left them with. But there are also tons of questions that come with these follow-up releases. Is it going to sound completely different that what we’re used to? Will it be a grand re-return to our favorite album, or should they have just stayed on their hiatus and left it at that? The former reigning kings of metalcore, Atreyu, are back, for better or for worse. And the aptly named Long Live should answer all questions asked.

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Atreyu was once the quintessential teenage-oriented metalcore band. Their lyrics were heavily on the emo-romantic side, and their music was a little closer to being alt metal than really metalcore. With song titles like “Lipgloss and Black”, “Bleeding Mascara”, and “Ex’s and Oh’s”, your assumptions on their sound is probably very accurate. However, as their career progressed, their sound went through a couple of changes as well. They got even closer to alt metal and definitely further away from the metalcore sound that got them so popular. Towards the end of their hiatus, the band had expressed thoughts of wanting to write another album akin to their second release, The Curse, which was the album that initially gave them the most widespread exposure. So now, we have a band that apparently wants to present a regression in their sound, which is something we don’t hear about often. But it may end up being in their favor, depending on if they pull it off.

"Long Live"

It was pretty awesome to hear Alex Varkatzas and Brandon Saller’s vocals leading the charge from the starting gate. Atreyu’s signature sounds are definitely best defined with their voices at the helm. And right from the opening track, “Long Live”, we can definitely hear that the band really tried to make this album sound a lot like The Curse. The following track, “Live to Labor” is probably about as metalcore as this album gets with a circle pit inducing drumbeat, and a chorus full of clean and gang vocals. “A Bitter Broken Memory” is the slower, emotional song of the album beginning with ethereal guitar work, and an emotionally sung chorus. Long Live is definitely not like a lot of metalcore coming out today; this is definitely more in the style of The Curse, though not entirely. That, in and of itself is actually a good thing. Long Live would be incredibly boring if it was an intentional sequel to The Curse, but it is still very close. It’s hard to go into extreme detail without repeating my words too much, but suffice it to say that Long Live is most definitely a metalcore album. Think of any metalcore stereotype, and Long Live has got it. And that was more or less what The Curse was, so I believe Atreyu was very successful in trying to recreate that spirit.

"A Bitter Broken Memory"

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But even though this marks a pretty cool return, and what I would ultimately call a successful comeback album, I also found it hard to have any of these songs really stick with me. I would be hard pressed to be able to fully sing back one of the choruses, and I’ve listened through this album several times. But of course, that doesn’t mean I think these are bad songs at all, but it probably does speak to the overall greatness of Long Live. This album isn’t bad, but it’s not great either. If it weren’t for this being Atreyu’s return, this would just seem like any other album that they’ve put out.

As I said before, Long Live is a very successful return for Atreyu. They certainly have not lost their touch over the years and still have the very sounds that made them so popular in the first place. It’s a pretty good achievement and is also exciting for the band’s new future. I feel this will be very rewarding for the earlier fans of their work and maybe give them a little nostalgia. Truth be told, if you weren’t a fan of them already, this album probably will do little to change your opinion. However, my opinion is that this is a good comeback album, and good metalcore in general. It’s not stellar, but it is great to simply have a new Atreyu album at all.

"I Would Kill/Lie/Die (For You)"

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