(AISE: Redirected from Hell or Highwater)

Atreyu (1998-2011, 2014-present): a Metalcore band from Yorba Linda, California, USA.


riginally named Retribution in 1998, this band assumed the name Atreyu after the character of the same name from Michael Ende's fantasy book The Never-ending Story soon after, and was installed because of a change of members and progressive musical styling.

That style and membership eventually settled with Alex Varkatzas (lead and unclean vocals), Dan Jacobs (lead guitar/backing vocals), Brian O'Donnell (bass/backing vocals) and Brandon Saller (drums/clean vocals/percussion/guitars/piano/programming/keyboard/strings) with Travis Miguel (rhythm guitar) joining in 2000 and Kyle Stanley (bass/backing vocals) in 1999. (Porter (Marc) McKnight (bass/backing vocals) would not come into the scene until 2004, while Chris Thompson (bass/backing vocals) and Mark DuBeau (Studio drumming) would arrive in 2001 and 2006 respectively.

Before being signed to 'Victory', they released an independent seven-track EP, Visions in 1998 that was only sold at their live performances. Their second release, the five-track EP Fractures in the Facade of Your Porcelain Beauty released by underground label 'Tribunal Records' followed soon after and featured tracks that would be re-worked for later releases.

In 2002 their first full-length album Suicide Notes and Butterfly Kisses would arrive, along with the introduction of second singer, Brandon Saller.

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The band's second album, The Curse, was released in 2004, selling 450,000 copies. The act was then featured on the soundtrack to the film Mr. and Mrs. Smith with a cover of Bon Jovi's You Give Love a Bad Name. They were also featured on the soundtrack to Underworld: Evolution with Her Portrait in Black.

Their third studio album, A Death-Grip On Yesterday, arrived on March 28, 2006 and would eventually peak at 9 on the Billboard 200, with sales of 69,000. Further fame came when the track, Exs and Ohs, appeared on the soundtrack to Madden NFL '07.

In early 2007, Atreyu signed a record deal with 'Hollywood Records' for USA, and and an international deal with 'Roadrunner Records'.

A jigsaw puzzle was released on the band's website: the goal was to put all the audio clips of the single Becoming the Bull into correct order, forming the whole song.

The next album, Lead Sails Paper Anchor, was released August 28, 2007, and debuted at number 8 on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 43,000 copies. The American release of the album had a bonus track, a cover of the Faith No More's Epic, while the European and Australian bonus track was a cover of The Descendants' Clean Sheets; the album was a notable change in sound for the band.

On April 22, 2008, Lead Sails Paper Anchor was re-released with new cover art, two bonus tracks, a DVD, and a digital booklet.

Congregation of the Damned (2009), the next album, was said to be "darker" and "heavier" than the band's previous works. The band also described the album as, "...make more sense than the other ones because they finally realize what they are".

In 2011 the band took a break so members could work on side projects. drummer and vocalist Brandon Saller's side project Hell or Highwater (formerly named "The Black Cloud Collective") recorded an album titled Begin Again (2011) with Saller as the sole vocalist in this band. The act's sound had no relation to that of Atreyu, voicing a sound similar to bands such as Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace, the band uses only clean vocals.

In December 2011, Travis Miguel added his own to the list of side projects with his project, Fake Figures and their release of the EP Hail the Sycophants featuring an all-star lineup of himself on guitar, Rus Martin (Hotwire), Robert Bradley (Scars of Tomorrow), and Justin Pointer and Heather Baker (both ex-Nightfall, a project that bassist Marc McKnight played for in 2003 before joining Atreyu.

In July 2012, Steve Ludwig joined Fake Figures as their new drummer and for 18 months between 2013 and 2014 he played as a touring guitarist with Trapt.

July 2014 the band officially announced they were planning to record and play again.

On April 18, 2015 A 7" vinyl was released exclusively for 'Record Store Day'. So Others May Live and a new song When The Day is Done was featured on the vinyl single; only 1,000 copies were made.

On September 18th, 2015, the new album, Long Live arrived. In Our Wake (2018) followed.

The band officially announced that they were parting ways with Varkatzas in September 2020.

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Atreyu performing in Budapest - 2016.
Photo by: Elekes Andor
(CC BY-SA 4.0)

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