In my highly anticipated first update video of the year, I talk about enjoying my time home for the holidays, moving videos to my second channel, toying with the idea of doing picture blog posts, the status of Love Hina Abridged, making new & updated episodes of NFAQs again, new review series where I review new issues of Guitar World & musicians’ autobiographies, starting up a three-part mini-series where I review each season of Misfits, quitting Twitter, giving a shout-out to my bro Rog’s YouTube channel where he goes over video game glitches from current games, and a new episode of First Impact Anime as well as the status of the second season of FIA.
Today’s album review has been specially requested by Ben, one of my best friends. This week, I’m going over Atreyu’s newest release, Congregation of the Damned.
To be honest, I prefer music from the 80s-90s over what’s going on today. However, there have been several newer bands and artists that I’ve been really getting into: Owl City, Orianthi, housethegrate, and Atreyu just to name a few.
Atreyu’s previous release, Lead Sails Paper Anchors, was a good listen and well-received by the critics. Let’s find out how this new record stacks up:
I first heard Atreyu back in late 2007 when I was working at Andy’s Roadhouse and I often listened to the local heavy metal/rock radio station, 98.9 The Bear. Their breakout hit, Becoming The Bull, was played over and over and over and over again. It was great when I heard it the first couple of times, but because radio stations like to pummel listeners to the ground by replaying the same songs over and over and over and over again, Becoming The Bull got really old really quick.
Then, my bro Jon went out and bought Lead Sails Paper Anchors and I became quickly hooked to the song Falling Down. The opening drum-and-bass riff is so infectious it makes the Swine Flu look like a mild case of the sniffles.
I also found out that Dan Jacobs, one of Atreyu’s guitarists, has his own series of guitar instructional videos with Rock House. I checked out a couple of the free clips that Rock House put out on YouTube, and he’s a pretty well-schooled guitarist as well as an easy-going teacher.
The Track Breakdown
The first track, Stop! Before It’s Too Late and We’ve Destroyed It All, starts the record off strong with a Paul Gilbert-approved intro solo and goes into a throaty call to destruction.
The next song, Bleeding Is a Luxury, continues with the throat screams and makes me think of what a collaboration between Sixx AM and Avenged Sevenfold would sound like.
Congregation of the Damned, the title track of the album, gives the throaty shreiks a quick break with some great singing that doesn’t sound overdone.
Up next is Coffin Nails, a nicely-done emo-metal track. I know that emo is still regarded in the same way as goth was before the turn of the millenium, but for me, that doesn’t take away anything from a good song.
After that, it’s Black Days Begin, a Pantera-meets-Scorpions song that takes the excellent groove from both of these bands and adds a nice modern metal sound to it.
Gallows begins with a drumbeat straight outta Racer X’s Scarified and the opening guitar line is equally impressive! This has got to be my favorite track out of this album so far!
If Gallows is my favorite song on this CD, then the seventh track and the first single off this album, Storm To Pass, is an uncomfortably close second! The first vocal line in the chorus (Watching, waiting) is absolutely killer and the guitar work is noteworthy!
You Were the King, Now You’re Unconscious, the longest song on the album at 5 minutes and 8 seconds, begins with a Slayer-endorsed drum-then-pause drum line (think Raining Blood). It then goes into a sing-a-line-scream-a-line pattern that’s characteristic of today’s metal that’s carried throughout the rest of the song.
Insatiable, a hair-metal-meets-modern-metal song, is next on the disc. The vocal lines have enough CFCs in them to rip the ozone layer a new one and teaming with the crunch-and-punch guitar rhythms redefines the phrase “a world of hurt!”
Track 10 is So Wrong, another fiery modern metal track that’s also singleworthy. It starts off sounding like Iron Maiden and shifts between Staind’s quiet voice and throaty screams for the remainder of the song!
The next track, Ravenous, is a pretty straightforward thrash tune from the bowels of Hell. ‘Nuff said!
After that is Lonely, a tune reminiscent of Linkin Park and Fall Out Boy. Is this what FOB would sound like if they were a metal band? No, but it’s awful close.
Track 13 is Wait for You, which is the last of the regular tracks on this CD. It’s an approprietly-placed mellow wrap-up to the album that seems to be the oddball song in comparison to the metal onslaught from the previous 12 tracks. Is it just me or does this track remind you a little of the song Slip Out from the anime BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad?
Up next is Bravery, the first of the 3 bonus tracks. It fits in well with the other tracks with its sing-a-line-scream-a-line combo that Atreyu is so fond of.
We Are the Living Dead, the 15th track on this CD, is quite a screamer of a track! It should find a good home on metal radio stations around the globe, where it will pound listeners in the ear until they go running under their Hanna Montana blankets reciting lyrics from Jonas Brothers songs for comfort!
The 16th and final track on Congregation of the Damned is Another Night (Wishing I Wasn’t Here). It’s my favorite of the 3 bonus tracks and as a bonus track, it appropriatly bookmarks this album.
The Goodies, The Baddies & The Uglies
Looking at a behind-the-scenes sneak peek of this album in one of my Guitar World CD-ROMs, my expectations for the guitar work on this album was frightingly high! I’m happy to say that my expectations were well-met and if you dig modern metal rhythms mixed with bits of tasty 80s shred, you’ll dig it too!
One of the big gripes that I have with Congregation of the Damned is that it has the dreaded from-gut-to-throat-with-hate screams that are kissing cousins with Cookie Monster vocals in their overuse in today’s music. However, I think that Atreyu used them appropriately to accent a song instead of overwhelming it with pig roars, although some songs came close to overdoing it.
Another gripe of mine is that a lot of the rhythm tracks seem to be interchangable with other songs on this album. While some might like this kind of consistency, I however loved the interesting tidbits and then got bored listening to the same stuff played over and over and over and over again.
Despite the annoying vocal & rhythm guitar repetition and pig roars that threaten my sanity, Atreyu’s Congregation of the Damned scores big with some impressive guitar hooks and melodic vocal lines that give me a sense of hope in this generation of musicians!
6 Tracks To Give a Clicky-Click
– Stop! Before It’s Too Late and We’ve Destroyed It All
What is Shiny Jimi? Why, it’s the name of the protective sleeve for this month’s issue of Guitar World!! It’s to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the release of Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland. I’m gonna read it when I’m done posting.
I had my 90-day evaluation today and good news everyone: I didn’t get fired!! Yay.
In other news, I tried to look for a music store in Wapak and couldn’t find it. I’m gonna try again later when I have some moAr money for gas.
Man, this post is short! I’ll try to make it up to you guys by ending it with an amazing solo by my No. 2 favorite guitarist, Paul Gilbert! Enjoy!
Hello, it’s the Andy-San here with a sore shoulder.
I had what seemed like a quick shift today. It was getting near the end of my shift and I was gonna leave a bit early because there were no customers in sight and I was in between 2 other cashiers. One of them said that I had to wait until 5 minutes to the end of my shift to leave instead of 10 like I usually do. The managers have the cashiers do this so that they can prepare to close down their registers and take back items and recycle hangers and bags. Apparently, Wal-Mart hates it when you work past your scheduled shift; messes with the scheduling computer or something. No big deal to me since I get a good amount of hours. Anyway, this particular cashier, whose name I forget, said that it was discussed at the previous cashier’s meeting that cashiers are leaving too early and that it was up on the dry-erase board. Determined to prove her wrong, I looked at all of the dry-erase boards I could find and do you know how many had that written on them? A big goose egg! I found nothing about it on any of the dry-erase boards or on any of the cork boards or anywhere else for that matter!! So after I clocked out, I bought a new magazine by Guitar World Acoustic called Acoustic Rock. I haven’t looked at it yet, but it seems interesting. I get out to my truck, and I see that someone sprayed a dick on my door with shaving cream. Jeez… I cleaned that dick off with 2 buckets of water (wow, that didn’t sound gay at all lol).
In other news, I ran into Travis today when I was on break. He said that he’s got his newest project in motion. It has him on vocals and lead guitar, Kyle on drums, Chip on bass, and get this: Benjamin on rhythm guitar. No it’s not Ben Ben, but some other guy named Ben. And here Travis was so adamant about having only one guitarist in the band lol! But it does sound like a killer lineup and I’ll definitely check them out when they start performing live. Also, I learned part of a song that Marty Friedman does on Rock Fujiyama episode 12 called Mizuiro no Ame that was originally by Junko Yagami. Check out the clip of him playing it right here:
Here’s the clip of the original song:
It sounds awesome when played on guitar. And he mixed it with The Doobie Bros’ Long Train Runnin’. Now you know why Marty’s my all-time favorite guitarist, with Paul Gilbert coming at a very close second. Those bastards are crazy!!!1
Well, I’m gonna hit the shower since my shoulder is killing me from lifting some weights…to scan them lol! Good-Night!
P.S: I got 3,492 views yesterday! Awesome!! Also, I’ll be updating my History page soon!