Atreyu – Top 15 New Wave of American Heavy Metal Albums
Tue, 30 Jun 2015 17:14:48
These are the albums that defined the aughts.
The '00s were quite a fertile period for heavy music. So much so that the press and fans anointed the era "The New Wave of American Heavy Metal" or "The New Wave of American Metal." Same difference. MTV resurrected Headbanger's Ball, with Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed installed as the host. Late night TV shows, like Jimmy Kimmel Live!, were booking the bands of the era to perform with increasing frequency throughout the decade. Yes, those firebreathing noise merchants in The Dillinger Escape Plan played Conan and things were never, ever the same.
If you require more proof that the public and media hungered for metal equally, well, think about how Ozzfest ballooned, inviting heavier bands to play both the main and the side stages. The annual heavy metal summer camp was eventually immobilized and replaced by The Rock Star Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, which also grew exponentially and played sheds.
Most impressive were the sales numbers of these bands. Albums repeatedly went platinum and gold, with the likes of Slipknot, Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God and Atreyu notching RIAA certifications and awards for achieving monster sales. More notable was the fact that you could turn on the radio and hear these same bands on the dial and not always after midnight on specialty shows.
Do we even need to mention the Grammy nominations? It made us realize that people with their ears to the underground and in possession of a keen knowledge of the aggressive music scene were influencing the balloting, since extreme bands were notching noms. It wasn't as though this was further atonement for the Jethro Tull gaffe that still haunts the metal category today; it was an institution recognizing and supporting a movement!
Hands down—the '00s were a legit and rich era for heavy metal. These are the albums that defined the period.
7. Atreyu — The Curse
Southern California received its flagship turn-of-the-century metal album with Atreyu's The Curse. For their second outing in 2004, everything got bigger from the searing shredding between guitarists Dan Jacobs and Travis Miguel to the arena-size drumming and melodies from Brandon Saller and the sexy redheaded Vampire in lingerie on the cover. It's as if Atreyu transmuted Bon Jovi's knack for melodious excess into Slipknot's raw and real vitriol, yielding a landmark record for the group and the genre. Touring on OZZfest that year, Atreyu enjoyed a breakout moment, bringing The Curse to the masses and proving their mettle and metal. At its heart, singer Alex Varkatzas delivers one of his most potent, powerful, and passionate performances, practically ripping through each verse.
The album appropriately opened up with the explosive "Bleeding Mascara" where ripping guitars give way to the appropriate "Go" scream from Varkatzas. The record quickly sinks its teeth in on the anthemic refrain. They follow that up with the massive sing-a-long of "Right Side of the Bed," which remains a staple from the band. However, it's the deep cuts like "Corseting" and "Demonology and Heartache" that illuminate the group's intricate nuances and emotional resonances most clearly. The energy is palpable throughout, especially on the bombastic closer "Five Vicodin Chased with a Shot of Clarity."
We'll tell you this too. 11 years on The Curse feels as strong as ever, especially as the group gets ready to release Long Live this year. They're returning with that same fire from this record. We can assure you of that. Until Long Live impacts this fall, crank The Curse again. It'll never leave you like any good spell. Watch "Right Side of the Bed" from Atreyu:
'The Curse' from Atreyu is available on Victory Records.
See the other artists and albums on our Top Top 15 New Wave of American Heavy Metal Albums feature!