A change of pace for Orange County metallers
Singer Alex Varkatzas' inspiration for Lead Sails Paper Anchor is the feeling of hopelessness and despair that he experienced being away from home whilst on tour. This is something which I bet a slew of you will be feeling at the moment. Venturing away for the first time, probably heading off to university within days, you'll be crying into a Pot Noodle by the end of the week, inconsolable that mummy isn't there to wash your clothes and cook for you. Fear not my friends, you have a friend in Varkatzas, but he isn't crying over not having any clean pants here, his woes are anxiety, depression, despair, death and some deep trauma. Puts things into perspective doesn't it?
10 years since they first made their mark on the Orange County music scene, Atreyu have achieved a dedicated following in that time and not just in their native California and their return back into the limelight sees a change in sound and direction for the band.
Encompassing a wide range of emotions and ideas and musically pushing the boundaries a little further than before, this offering sees a far more mature band, looking a little deeper and pushing their capabilities beyond what they've done before. This isn't the complete metal influenced offerings that we've previously seen from the band, instead drawing upon hardcore, thrash, 80s hair metal, industrial and a little dusting of alt country (which isn't quite as bad as it sounds) and throwing these into the mix in a creative and relatively original way.
Triumphant sounding opener "Doomsday" is almost fist in the face, call to arms, affirming their place back on our collective musical radar as is following track "Honor" with its balls out call of "Fight, fight, fight to the break of dawn". But it is the bluesy country tinged balladry of Lead Sails Paper Anchors which is the biggest sea change from their previous offerings. Dreamily, Varkatzas' voice drifts over acoustic guitars, impassionedly imploring "Save me, take me home" and it reflects a deep feeling of homesickness and distance.
So if you are going to be living away from home shortly or have just moved out and the realisation that being so far removed from your home, friends and family will be more a burden than a blessing then perhaps this will be beneficial listening for you. But regardless, this is a solid album and a strong selection of songs and regardless of any popularity that the band have, this still is worthy album.