Retribution is a great name for a Metal band. Too bad for five Orange County guys the name was already taken by a nearby group. So at the suggestion of a friend they became Atreyu, the name of the main protagonist in the fantasy, The Neverending Story. Atreyu, whose name means "son of all," is summoned by the Childlike Empress to embark on a great quest.
OK, back in the real world, Atreyu released a 7 track EP, "Visions," in '98, which was sold at their shows. "Fractures In The Facade Of Your Porcelain Beauty," rolled out on the Tribunal label. It was following this second EP that Atreyu began a mid-course change.
The group landed at Victory Records in '01 where they released "Suicide Notes And Butterfly Kisses." The set saw the emergence of Brandon Saller as a second vocalist (mostly backing at this point) - spelling Alex Varkatzas.
"The Curse," Atreyu's sophomore effort, earned them some notoriety, which led to being on the soundtrack of the '05 Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie movie Mr. And Mrs. Smith, with a cover of Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name."
A year later, "A Death-Grip On Yesterday," continued Atreyu's move toward mainstream with Saller's vocals being more prominent. Still the group was deemed too "heavy" for radio play. The album drew positive reviews while IGN (formerly Imagine Games Network) called the set "a brief but potent hissy fit."
The next stop was Hollywood Records where they unfurled "Lead Sails Paper Anchor." The '07 effort contained "Becoming The Bull" which landed in the Top 5 of the Active Rock Radio Chart. Now that's mainstream acceptance.
"Lead Sails Paper Anchor" was later reissued in the CDVU+ format. The disc had a cover of Faith No More's "Epic" as well as footage from three live performances, profiles of the band members, behind-the-scenes tour clips and a guitar lesson from Jacobs.
Following the release of '09's "Congregation Of The Damned" and a supporting tour, Varkatzas confirmed that the band was going on hiatus to "recharge and focus on other parts of our lives." That included side projects (Varkatzas - Bleeding Through; Saller - Hell Or Highwater; and rhythm guitarist Travis Miguel - Fake Figures).
Jumping forward, Atreyu performed live in '14 for the first time in nearly four years at the Chain Reaction, a club in Anaheim. "Our history is too powerful to ignore forever," said Saller. "The beast has risen!" The show was a warm-up for their Aftershock Festival appearance in Sacramento days later.
That was followed by Atreyu's sixth album, and first in six years, "Long Live."
2002 Suicide Notes And Butterfly Kisses
2004 The Curse
2006 A Death-Grip On Yesterday
2007 Lead Sails Paper Anchor
2009 Congregation Of The Damned
2015 Long Live
Saller sings with passion and makes choruses soar while Varkatzas finishes the thought on a dark, guttural, belligerent Metalcore note. It is not a new idea but they work it as well as anyone.