Following a critically and commercially successful album is no small feat for any band. For Atreyu, whose fourth full-length, Lead Sails Paper Anchor, sold over 315,000 copies, the task was even more daunting. That album marked a substantial shift for the group, expressing an explosively commercial and alternative side of Atreyu that had been largely unexplored. With their new album, Congregation of the Damned, the members wanted to continue to develop musically, but at the same time return to more of the aggression and firepower they exhibited growing up in the hardcore metal-based scene of Orange County, California.
With a crumbling economy, environmental calamity and international strife as a backdrop, Atreyu -- Alex Varkatzas, guitarists Dan Jacobs and Travis Miguel, bassist Marc McKnight and drummer Brandon Saller – were able to write some of their strongest, most salient songs to date. Congregation of the Damned, produced by Bob Marlette (Airborne, Ozzy Osbourne), mixed by Rich Costey (Mars Volta, System of A Down, Rage Against the Machine) with select tracks mixed by Noah Shain (Endless Hallway, Sonny), comes out October 27, and is simultaneously crushing, exultant and unapologetic, delving further into Atreyu’s quest for the perfect melody while satisfying their taste for street-lethal riffs and ear-piercing solos.
Throughout the 13 songs on Congregation of the Damned, Atreyu cover a variety of ground, including inflammatory and technical hardcore (“Stop! Before It’s Too Late and We’ve Destroyed It All”), raging and anthemic metal (“Carried Away”), and brutally cinematic rock (“You Were King Now You’re Unconscious”). At the same time, they make passing nods to the music they grew up on and still love, including Black Flag, Pantera, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Motley Crue.
While there is no shortage of euphoric sing-along melodies, the songs are more ferocious than anything since 2004’s The Curse. The subject matter is equally intense. “The music is heavier and so I was able to write darker lyrics,” explains vocalist Alex Varkatzas. “There’s personal shit on there: self-doubt, self-loathing. Bands who sing about happy things have their place, and I’m not singing about dark things to promote them, I’m singing about them so I don’t go insane. It’s pure catharsis. I make music so I don’t go crazy.”
Varkatzas finds himself in that darker territory with “Storm to Pass,” a song that has double meaning: the storm as depression, and the storms of war: “You can feel that depression coming on, you can see yourself doing fucked up things but you can’t stop it,” says Varktazas. “I grew up watching the first Iraq war and the invasion of various countries and how the whole thing became one giant shit storm.”
The full track listing for Congregation of the Damned is as follows: “Stop! Before It’s Too Late and We’ve Destroyed it All,” “Bleeding Is a Luxury,” “Congregation of the Damned,” “Black Days Begin,” “Gallows,” “Storm to Pass,” “You Were King Now You’re Unconscious,” “Insatiable,” “So Wrong,” “Ravenous,” “Lonely” and the heart-on-sleeve piano ballad “Wait For You.”
In support of the album, every two weeks leading up to the October 27 release, Atreyu will debut a webisode documenting not only their thoughts on the new record, but they will also take a look back at where the band’s career has taken them over the course of the last 10 years. The first webisode is available now at atreyurock.com. The second installment will debut on September 8. A new webisode will post every two weeks with the final one posting on October 20.
Congregation of the Damned is the follow up to 2007’s Lead Sails Paper Anchor, which was fueled by the Top 5 Active Rock hit “Becoming the Bull” and the #2 charting Alternative Rock hit “Falling Down.” The disc rocketed onto Billboard’s Rock and Hard Rock Album Charts at #1 and on Billboard’s Top 200 debuting at #8, making it the highest-charting album of the band’s career and landing them on the cover of Revolver Magazine, who called the disc "a coffin-tight collection of singles...the potential for hugeness is all over these 11 tunes...," while Metal Hammer declared it "a truly landmark album."
In addition, Atreyu have recorded three other studio albums, (including 2006’s A Death-Grip on Yesterday, which also charted in the U.S. top ten), 2004’s The Curse, 2002's Suicide Notes and Butterfly Kisses, two EPs and a best-of collection. Altogether, they’ve sold over 1.5 million albums plus another one million digital tracks. Their two most recent radio singles “Becoming the Bull” and “Falling Down,” sold over 200,000 downloads each.
In between selling-out their own headlining tours, Atreyu have shared stages alongside Tool and Wolfmother at Epicenter 09, Slipknot and Alice in Chains at this year’s Rock on The Range, with Linkin Park on last year's Projekt Revolution tour, with Korn and Evanescence on the Family Values Tour, co-headlined the Rockstar Taste of Chaos U.S. tour with Avenged Sevenfold, headlined Rockstar Taste of Chaos International across Europe and Asia, played Warped Tour, Ozzfest, Download UK and were tapped to play this summer's Leeds and Reading Music Festivals.
Sat. Aug. 8 Syracuse, NY New York State Fair Infield
Sat., Aug. 22 Pomona, CA Pomona Fairplex
Sun., Aug. 23 Maryland Heights, MO Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
Fri., Aug. 28 Leeds, UK Leeds Festival
Sat., Aug. 29 Reading, UK Reading Festival
Sat., Sept. 26 Phoenix, AZ Phoenix Events Complex
*Fri., Oct. 16 Lubbock, TX The Pavilion
*Sat., Oct. 17 San Antonio Sunset Station
*Sun., Oct. 18 Dallas, TX House of Blues
*Tues., Oct. 20 Mission, TX Las Palmas Race Park
*Wed., Oct. 21 Houston, TX Verizon Wireless Theater
*Fri., Oct. 23 Orlando, FL Hard Rock Live
*Sat., Oct. 24 Atlanta, GA The Tabernacle
*Sun., Oct. 25 Myrtle Beach, SC House of Blues
*Mon., Oct. 26 Charlotte, NC The Fillmore Charlotte
*Tues., Oct. 27 Richmond, VA The National
*Thurs., Oct. 29 New York, NY Roseland Ballroom
*Fri., Oct. 30 Baltimore, MD Sonar
*Sat., Oct. 31 Philadelphia, PA Electric Factory
*Mon., Nov. 2 Montreal, QC Metropolis
*Tues., Nov. 3 Toronto, ON Sound Academy
*Wed., Nov. 4 Pittsburgh, PA Ches-Arena
*Fri., Nov. 6 Chicago, IL Aragon Ballroom
*Sat., Nov. 7 St. Paul, MN The Myth
*Sun., Nov. 8 Omaha, NE Sokol Auditorium
*Tues., Nov. 10 Denver, CO The Fillmore
*Wed., Nov. 11 Salt Lake City, UT The Great Salt Air
*Fri., Nov. 13 Boise, ID Knitting Factory
*Sat., Nov. 14 Seattle, WA Showbox SoDo
*Sun., Nov. 15 Portland, OR Roseland Theatre
*Tues., Nov. 17 Sacramento, CA Sacramento Memorial Auditorium
*Wed., Nov. 18 San Jose, CA Events Center at San Jose State University
*Fri., Nov. 20 Las Vegas, NV House of Blues
*Sat., Nov. 21 Los Angeles, CA Wiltern Theatre
* = Hollywood Undead co-headlining dates