Album review: Atreyu – The Beautiful Dark Of Life

Metalcore veterans Atreyu turn up the wow factor, but have they still got the x factor?

Album review: Atreyu – The Beautiful Dark Of Life
James Hingle

On 2019's Baptize, Atreyu started a new chapter, with Brandon Saller taking over permanent vocals from longtime frontman Alex Varkatzas, and a shift to a much more polished, glossy sound. While single Warriors saw them gain plenty of radio plays in the States and millions of streams, that album still felt like a band struggling to find their feet.

As we enter the present day, the California metalcore crew have decided to go on a storytelling adventure that started back in April 2023 with the release of EP The Hope Of A Spark. That was followed by one in August in the form of The Moment You Find Your Flame, before another chapter appeared in November, A Torch In The Dark. These three parts help complete their ninth studio album, The Beautiful Dark Of Life, so if you get a sense of déjà vu listening to over three-quarters of this album, therein lies your answer.

It follows a story of despair, hope and self-discovery, encapsulating all elements with the feeling of jubilation. You can feel the band playing to their passionate best, but whilst some moments fly high into the sky like a band re-finding their true form, there’s elements that almost fade into the abyss.

One of the new songs, Insomnia is the band at the peak of their writing abilities, something of an ode to Atreyu of old, with its chorus casting a net across all boundaries with its almost pop-sensibilities and melodic beatdowns. It’s a real stand out moment. The closing title-track is an education in all things metalcore, with its gargantuan sing-along vibes. But where some of this album stumbles are the overtly cheesy ’80s-inspired hair metal moments, particularly that of I Don’t Wanna Die, where the solo feels more Spinal Tap than Guns N’ Roses.

Atreyu feel like they could be great again. You can feel hits within them, but there’s still something missing here that could’ve made it a far more stellar release.

Verdict: 3/5

For fans of: Killswitch Engage, Bon Jovi, Bury Tomorrow

The Beautiful Dark Of Life is released on December 8 via Spinefarm

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