"A Death-Grip on Yesterday" is the 3rd studio album by American heavy metal band, Atreyu. It was released in 2006 on Victory Records and produced by the band with Josh Abraham. The line-up for the album was Alex Varkatzas (vocals), Dan Jacobs (guitar), Travis Miguel (guitar), Mark McKnight (bass) and Brandon Saller (drums).
This gets the album off to a shaky start with an odd riff and uneven riff backed up with screaming vocals, but then the chorus kicks in and everything's all right again. Of course, the song's style is a throwback to the band's previous albums but with the clean vocals they're branching out into another realm, almost climbing the ladder of what to do next, musically. It's a song about hiding within yourself, trying to get away from your problems and how doing that won't make the pain go away.
Here is another song with a catchy chorus but this time the guitars sound good throughout the song. It is about putting something behind you and moving on with life to the next thing. It is not certain if that means individually, or if it means the band is doing that and rising to the challenge of a progression of their musical style, probably as a continuation of the first song on the album.
Our Sick Story (Thus Far)
This is one of the heaviest songs on the album, both musically and lyrically. It is full throttle with the double bass drum and chunky guitar riffs, as Varkatzas gives one of his best vocal performances on any Atreyu record, and if you close my eyes and listen to the chorus, it could almost sound like David Draiman of Disturbed singing it. It is a song about losing (or leaving) a girl and how much of a mistake it was for both parties involved.
This takes on a different approach with a ballad-sounding feel to it that you're either going to love or you're going to hate, though it probably sounds too much like Avenged Sevenfold, and while people like that band, it could be perceived as a bad thing. Maybe Atreyu was trying for a unique sound but in doing that, they discovered that it's too much like other bands to put into their own. The song is about how you can work all your life to provide for your family, yet when you look back on what you've achieved there's nothing there for you.
We Stand Up
This is the stand-out (no pun intended) song off the album. It is incredibly catchy with harsher vocals than previous songs, and is a very good live song which gets the crowd going. The narrators (the band) are saying that this is what they want to do with their lives and nothing will stop them from playing music. If the critics hate them, they don't care as long as the fans keep listening to the music.
Ex's and Oh's
This takes us back to the slower side of the album with Varkatzas properly singing again, compared to the screaming vocals on a lot of songs. This is the one song which, when first heard, a lot of fans probably didn't like, but it is a clever ploy from the band. This is the song that would have gotten airplay with a clean version and with airplay comes more publicity.
Your Private War
This blasts in with the Atreyu of old mixed with a little bit of Korn, especially with the guitar riffs and bass line. It's a song about how misspent youth leads to leaving school with no friends and no future, and the narrator is gearing up for some sort of revenge on those that hated on him. It has got a very catchy chorus with some great drumming thrown in.
My Fork in the Road (Your Knife in My Back)
This is a self-evident song about how the narrator comes to a crossroads in a relationship, because he has to choose whether to move on from it or stick it out and get screwed over; basically, he's in a lose-lose situation. There's some heavy guitar playing on this song but it just falls short and may fail to win you over.
This is one of the better songs off the album, but it's too little, too late. Lyrically, it's a continuation from the last track and how the narrator comes to the conclusion that it's probably better if he ends his miserable life but not before taking hers first. He's basically saying she killed him a long time ago, even if she didn't physically commit the act. The song has everything you need in it. It's heavy, it's moody and it's poppy, all at the same time.
This was the album that Atreyu always wanted to make; a stepping stone to what the band was to become. But it is lacking in something. What that something is, is hard to figure out, but it is evident. There are some really good songs but unfortunately, they don't outweigh the not so good.
- Our Sick Story (Thus Far)
- The Theft
- We Stand Up
- Ex's and Oh's
- Your Private War
- My Fork in the Road (Your Knife in My Back)
- Untitled Finale