I remember the first time I listened to Atreyu’s first album, The Curse. It was one of my first times being exposed to that metalcore sound where there was a clean vocalist who complemented unclean vocals. I was hooked straight from “Bleeding Mascara” and it’s kept my attention through their subsequent releases as well. When Atreyu came off their hiatus, most people were ready to see how the band has grown because four years is a long time in “music” years. The particular night at Starland Ballroom, most fans seemed to break out the old Atreyu t-shirts and packed in on one of their only shows in the northeast on this tour run. During South By So What festival in Texas I got to see the band perform The Curse in it’s entirely, so I was ready to see the band break out some other tracks.
Metalcore band from Massachusetts, Unearth opened up the night strong and was almost a perfect warm-up band as well. They kicked off their set with “Giles”, a track off their 2006 release, III: In the Eyes of Fire. There was a decor about the band, especially with 14 years under their belt that screamed polished veterans. Guitarist Ken Susi was noticeably having fun as they played through a ten song set which included songs like “The Swarm” and “The Great Dividers”.
Atreyu took the stage hitting the opening chords to “Doomsday” and it didn’t seem like they went on a hiatus at all. In fact, it looked like the time away helped tighten their chemistry with each other with band members interacting and smiling as they played bathed in dark red and white lights. Bassist Marc McKnight not only went near the bar area to play near fans, he also crowd surfed as well. There were two treats for the New Jersey crowd: drummer Brandon Saller‘s rendition of the “Fresh
Prince of Bel Air” theme and the band’s cover of Bon Jovi‘s “You Give Love A Bad Name”. I loved how even though the band meant business performing the new song “So Others May Live” and 2007’s Congregation of the Damned track, “Gallows”, there was a carefree atmosphere where the band and fans alike enjoyed each others company. Not bad for a genre who sometimes is associated with everyone being “tough”.
There’s a new album on the horizon for later this year and definitely new life within the guitar chords, vocals, and collective of Atreyu. The takeaway from the Starland Ballroom show was that a battle tested band is ready to take the rock world by storm again older, wiser, and enjoying the moments as they come.