Atreyu’s Brandon Saller Says Former Frontman Alex Varkatzas Helped Write the “Fake Heavy” Material He Insulted

  • Axl Rosenberg

As you may or may not recall (hopefully you’ve had loftier concerns on your mind as of late), shortly after leaving Atreyu last year, the band’s longtime frontman, Alex Varkatzas, did something to suggest the split was less-than-amicable: he called “Save Us,” their first single without him, “fake heavy.” Siqq burn!

Thing is, to hear Atryeu drummer and clean vocalist Brandon Saller tell it, “Save Us” was written with Varkatzas. “For him to say it’s fake heavy,” Saller says, “then he wrote a fake heavy song.”

Saller’s claim was made during a new interview with Knotfest.com:

“The four of us were very, very adamant on [the split with Varkatzas] being very, very positive. There’s no shitting on people that we wanna do. There’s not a part of us that wanted anyone to shit-talk us or him. And our whole stance was, like, this is what it is, but we can still lift each other up and make our fans feel good about the fact that there’s no beef; there’s no whatever.

“He did his own thing, and it wasn’t exactly the kind of idea of a narrative that we would have liked to put forward. We’ve always, still to this day, been fully positive. When people say stuff about Alex, I’m still, like, ‘The dude’s awesome. You should support whatever he does next.’ He’s learning guitar, he’s taking interest in different things, and I will still, till I’m blue in the face, say, yeah, support him. If you like his voice, if you like what he did in Atreyu, he’s probably gonna make more music. Now you have two bands you can listen to.

“The ‘fake heavy’ thing was — we don’t know where that came from. Alex wrote ‘Save Us’ with us. He wrote probably seven, eight songs that are on the next record. He was a part of the beginning of the album, so for him to say it’s fake heavy, then he wrote a fake-heavy song.

“I think ‘Save Us’ is one of the heavier songs we’ve ever written. It is two and a half minutes of facepunch. Another view we’ve had is no matter who says what, let’s do what we’ve always done and just let the music talk. We’re just gonna continue doing that and let the tunes do all the talking. And people will know what we’re all about. They’ll know everything they need to know from [listening to] the songs.”

Of course, just because Varkatzas was involved in the writing of this material doesn’t mean he’s proud of it. But Saller makes it sound as though Varkatzas never voiced concerns about the material to his bandmates.

Which would be weird. Especially since in the weeks prior to his departure, he took to social media to express a desire to start “a super heavy band” with “some sick Swedish riffs” and “super heavy breakdowns,” citing groups Blood Has Been Shed, In Flames, and Lamb of God as potential influences. So he certainly made it sound like the heaviness, or lack thereof, in the band’s music was an issue for him.

The other kinda funny thing about all of this is that Saller is right: “Save Us” is probably as heavy as anything Atreyu have done. I mean, they were never exactly Portal, y’know? It actually makes me wonder if he’s heard anything the band has released since Lead Sails and a Paper Anchor.

You can check out the entire interview with Saller below. Still no word on what Varkatzas is up to since leaving the band.


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