1000 Albums Project

ALBUM 298

In Our Wake, by Atreyu
Suggested by Rob Catton

When you start a new relationship, you get to share the things you love.

It’s a fun time, but also a little scary. What if your new beau does not hold the things you value in as high esteem as you’d expect? No one wants that, to see fresh love wither on the vine. It’s touch and go, a delicate dance in which you reveal your personality one layer at a time, clinging to the hope that your partner will like what they see.

When Sarah and I got together, some seventeen years ago, we shared a passion for cinema. Not attending the cinema, of course, because that’s always been wretched. We both loved (and love) films, movies. So we shared our favourites, wide eyed with fear.

Almost universally, we hated each other’s tastes.

I love the Coen Brothers. Sarah can’t stand them. Sarah adores schlocky Horror movies. I’m not a fan. One of my all-time favourites, It’s A Wonderful Life? Too earnest and dated for my wife. One of her favourites, The Neverending Story? Absolutely atrocious from start to finish.

So what do you do, in that first blush of romance? Do you speak your mind, and salt the budding earth, or do you graciously lie, and condemn yourself to years of living a lie, watching awful movie after awful movie with a twitching eye and rictus grin?

Sarah and I took the dangerous line. Honesty is the best policy. It helped that I enjoyed The Neverending Story book a great deal, and that Sarah’s opinion of It’s a Wonderful Life is just plain wrong.

Atreyu is a key character of The Neverending Story. We’ve established that I adore the Novel Atreyu and I detest the Movie Atreyu. How with the Musical Atreyu fare? And will I be able to tell the Suggester the truth either way?

In Our Wake is Atreyu’s most recent offering, released in 2018. Formed in 1998, the Californian Metalcore band trip lightly through a number of metal-adjacent styles, from Emo to Screamo, from psychedelic to gothic to thrash to punk and beyond. The opening track, the titular In Our Wake, sets out the band’s stall immediately, as it showcases the drummer / singer’s particular brand of soaring vocals that form a leitmotif throughout the album. The second track, House of Gold, brings their second (and ostensibly lead) vocalist into the mix, with an emotive yet guttural sound that drips with anger and repression.

Blind Deaf & Dumb, with its harsh yet chantable opening refrain, leads into a rather funky Beastie Boys style frat rock rap, but my standout has to be the six-minute epic closer Super Hero. It’s a huge, orchestrated, blustering explosion of a song, with an almost cinematic feel. Maybe the surfeit of Queen of late has made me crave the overblown, but this was fun, pure and simple.

It’s a nice garden overall, but it’s not all roses. While the soaring anthemic choruses are individually decent, en masse they do lean towards the overdone. And even though the songs are energetic, there’s a polish that sands off the edges which does blunt the attack. Nevertheless, Atreyu get a decent 7/10 from me. Approved!

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