In October, California metallers ATREYU surprise-released a new song called "Save Us". It was the first taste of the band's music since the departure of vocalist Alex Varkatzas a month earlier. The track showcases ATREYU's current lineup consisting of drummer Brandon Saller focusing completely on singing after previously sharing lead vocals with Varkatzas for most of the band's two-decade-plus existence. Sitting behind the kit is Saller's HELL OR HIGHWATER bandmate Kyle Rosa, who had filled in for Saller on drums in 2019 after Varkatzas bowed out of the band's European tour while dealing with serious back and hernia issues.
Asked in a new interview with the "RRBG Podcast"if fans have responded positively to ATREYU's latest single and lineup change, guitarist Travis Miguel said (see video below): "For the most part, yeah. There's obviously naysayers and people who are bummed out. And that's totally fine — I mean, we all expected that. Because change in any shape or form, really, can be very uncomfortable. Especially for a band that loses their frontman, a lot of bands, they either thrive or it just doesn't resonate the same with the listeners. But luckily, it's not like we got a complete stranger coming in and moving up to the frontman spot. Brandon, obviously, did just about 50 percent of the vocals on all ATREYU stuff anyway. And he's been working his ass off kind of transitioning from literally the dude from behind the drums to into the front of the stage.
"That being said, not this past summer, but in 2019, we did a tour in Europe, and Alex, at the time, he had injured his back and he literally couldn't sit on a plane for 11, 12 hours to fly over to Europe, so he had to sit that one out," he continued. "So we went over to Europe with this lineup that we have now. So there wasn't a whole lot of thought [put into it]. It was kind of a no-brainer. Kyle Rosa, who is now playing drums for us, it was almost like that was his tryout, and we didn't even know it. So it's just kind of weird how things pan out."
Miguel also talked about ATREYU's upcoming album, which was completed last year. "Save Us" will be included on the effort, along with a couple of other singles which will precede the full-length release this spring.
"We were kind of eyeballing May for a release [for the album]," Travis said. "But who knows? Everything is up in the air… We will [release another single], I believe, [in] March. So next month, basically. We actually filmed three videos over a weekend back toward the tail end of the summer, one of 'em being 'Save Us', which is, obviously, already out. And then we have two more kind of being prepped and ready to be served, so to speak."
Speaking about the musical direction of the new ATREYU material, Travis said: "There are definite heavy bangers on there. It's definitely ATREYU, which that could mean just about anything, really. A lot of people would consider that complete shitty music. Some people think it's the greatest thing on earth. It's all over the place, really, which is kind of what we've always done.
"I'm just itching to get it out there into the world — mostly because that's just what I'm used to, as far as being in a professional recording band," he continued. "You have your writing sessions, then your recording sessions, and then your touring cycle after that. So I'm trying to kind of re-adjust my brain to… I constantly tell myself it's not gonna work like that right now, because there's a pandemic going on."
ATREYU spent the first couple of months of 2020 working on material for its eighth album with producer John Feldmann, who previously helmed 2018's "In Our Wake" and 2007's breakout LP "Lead Sails, Paper Anchor".
In August 2019, ATREYU released a deluxe edition of "In Our Wake" via Spinefarm Records. The new version featured the original "In Our Wake" album, along with seven additional tracks. The bonus material included B-sides from the sessions for both "In Our Wake" and 2015's "Long Live", along with alternate versions of the title track and "The Time Is Now" from "In Our Wake". The deluxe edition featured completely redesigned artwork and a total of 19 songs.