Atreyu – Baptize
Released: June 4, 2021
Brandon Saller // vocals
Marc “Porter” McKnight // bass, vocals
Dan Jacobs // guitar
Travis Miguel // guitar
Kyle Rosa // drums
Talks of Atreyu’s next record has been on our lips since the band’s last Australian tour in February 2020. Yep, the guys managed to make it overseas before COVID-19 shut down international touring. Fast forward a few months, and then-frontman Alex Varkatzas announced his shock departure from the band, citing reasons to pursue solo projects. With drummer Brandon Saller now taking the reigns centre stage, Atreyu are forging a new era in their twenty-year career and on their eighth studio album Baptize, are here to prove nothing to anyone. They’ve worked hard for the last seven records, and according to Saller, “this is only the beginning…”
Opening interlude ‘Strange Powers of Prophecy’ denotes a calming transfer of power as the band ignite this new path. The record really begins with title track ‘Baptize’ kicking up the ante with a powerful riff and Saller singing, “I’ve been living in darkness all my life…” The Atreyu in 2021 is the band coming back to their source of power — the music that undeniably made them an unstoppable metalcore/rock act in the early 2000s. ‘SAVE US’ thunders in with its anthemic roar, a call-to-arms if you will, to the fact that the band are here on their own terms. It’s an underlying theme of the entire album too, with ‘Underrated’ becoming arguably the standout song of Baptize. This collectively sees McKnight and Saller soar as strong as we’ve seen the band on their earlier hits.
‘Broken Again’ continues to draw us in with a pounding drum beat, a song about never admitting to defeat. ‘Weed’ is a punchy, melodic rock anthem that blends together old and new Atreyu perfectly, and should rate as a fan favourite. Amongst other tracks throughout Baptize, this one easily fits onto your playlist next to the latest track from Beartooth and I can definitely see myself hitting play on this more and more. ‘Dead Weight’ finally sees the band slower the pace a moment for a staggering, yet soaring mainstream rock track before picking the decibels back up for ‘Catastrophe’. Drawing us in with an incredible metal riff and catchy rock melody, ‘Catastrophe’ sounds a little like that post-apocalyptic anthem you’d expect to hear in the rolling credits from those new age sci-fi films and tv series.
‘Fucked Up’ features a pretty catchy singalong chant over the chorus, followed by an almost heavy breakdown, while ‘Sabotage Me’ sees Saller taking on a bit of a rap-like stance at the start before coming together into a thundering rock chorus. That crunchy metal sound on ‘Untouchable’ gives the band a punchy, pop punky effect here. While it’s still heavy in places, the song acts as the thumping rock anthem you’re likely to hear at a football game during halftime.
‘No Matter What’ is a song for the hopeless, it’s an empowering anthem about never losing sight of hope. Teetering on the edge of balladesque rock and explosive post-hardcore, this alongside following track ‘Oblivion’ will ignite your inner spark and shed a whole new light in your life, if that’s what you’re looking for. ‘Stay’ is the soaring rock ballad of the album, with a staggering pop/rock element that many post-hardcore rock bands accidentally fall into. Finishing off the album with the added flavour of Travis Barker, ‘Warrior’ serves as the empowering rocky hymn of the record, and I can see now why Baptize makes for a fitting album title here.
Atreyu have cemented themselves as an overarching post-hardcore/metalcore god over the last twenty or so years. On Baptize they’re feeding off the best aspects of their earlier records and essentially creating a byproduct of that. This album is still Atreyu being true to their core, while hinting at a style they feel comfortable with performing today. I honestly believe this is the band’s best work in a long time, and will be enjoyed by fans, new and old.
Atreyu – Baptize tracklisting:
1. Strange Powers of Prophecy
3. SAVE US
5. Broken Again
7. Dead Weight
9. Fucked Up
10. Sabotage Me
12. No Matter What
15. Warrior (featuring Travis Barker)