Vocalist Alex Varkatzas Says Atreyu “Invented Metalcore”

  • Axl Rosenberg

Alex Varkatzas, the dude who does the screaming in Atreyu, recently gave an interview to Rock Sound, during which he made this bold claim:

“We were a metallic hardcore band with singing parts. There wasn’t any else like that when we were doing it. People get confused and say ‘you’re a metalcore band’, but we invented metalcore. That may sound cocky but I don’t care.

“We pre-date Poison the Well and Killswitch Engage and all those bands. I’ve been doing this since I was literally 12 years old.”

Let’s address these claims in reverse order.

When Varkatzas says “I’ve been doing this since I was literally 12 years old,” we can assume he means he’s been involved in the hardcore/metal scene since he was twelve, not that he’s been singing for Atreyu since he was twelve, because he was twelve in 1994 and Atreyu’s first album didn’t come out ’til 2002 (take this with a grain of salt, given the source, but Wikipedia says Atreyu formed in 1998, when Varkatzas was sixteen). If we assume this to be the case, then I don’t think it’s fair of Varkatzas to claim Atreyu pre-date Killswitch Engage, whose debut came out in 2000, or Poison the Well, whose debut came out in 1999. For one thing, it means he has intimate knowledge of when the members of those bands got involved in their local scenes. And hey, maybe he does. But maybe Jesse Leach, who is four years older than Varkatzas, started listening to Bad Brains when he was ten or something, in which case, by Varkatzas’ standards, would mean Leach “has been doing this since he was literally ten years old,” which, P.S., would have been when Varkatzas was six.

But okay, for the sake of argument, let’s pretend that Atreyu began in 1994, and that people knew about them prior to the release of Suicide Notes and Butterfly Kisses in 2002. I guess it depends on your definition of “metalcore,” which is as amorphous a designation as any in metal. But there were bands experimenting with the amalgamation of metal and hardcore before 1994, like for example, every single band in the original crossover thrash scene and every single band in the original grindcore scene. If Varkatzas meant “metalcore” purely as the early aughts trend of bands with good cop/bad cop vocals and breakdowns, I still don’t think Atreyu would qualify as the subgenre’s creators. You could argue that they were one of the subgenre’s creators, I suppose, or that they helped popularize the subgenre. But there’s not a lot of evidence to suggest they created it.

Of course, the history of extreme music has never been Varkatzas’ strong suit. Remember, this is the guy gave this infamous quote:

“I fucking hate Metallica-flat out, fuck Metallica, fuck Black Sabbath. I don’t give a fuck about the fucking ‘roots.’ Those aren’t my roots, so I don’t fucking care. Green Day was more important to me you know?”

Come to think of it, Green Day is another band that may have a stronger claim to having invented metalcore than Atreyu does. Hm.

[via The PRP]

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