Writing and RecordingEdit
For Congregation of the Damned, Atreyu expressed an interest in returning to their "heavy hardcore" roots, following 2007's Lead Sails Paper Anchor, while also wanting to "move forward." Comparing the new album to Lead Sails, drummer Brandon Saller stated that "there were parts of 'Atreyu' missing and that we needed back, so we've brought them back." He also went on to claim that the band had been "reflecting on how far we've come and where from. It's stepping forward to new territory but taking with us the best of where we've been." Similarly, lead singer Alex Varkatzas claimed that the record is a "mix of everything we've ever done. For every song that's more melodic or rock-driven there's a total shitkicker, and I think that's what makes us a well-rounded band."
When speaking about lyrical themes, Alex Varkatzas claimed that since "The music is heavier, I was able to write darker lyrics." He went on to state that the "personal" material encompasses themes such as "self-doubt" and "self-loathing", and claimed that "I'm not singing about dark things to promote them, I'm singing about them so I don't go insane. It's pure catharsis. I make music so I don't go crazy." On the matter of lyrics, Brandon Saller, claimed that "a lot of them are in a similar vein" to the band's 2004 album Curse (Atreyu) The Curse, but without the "vampire stuff."
On the subject of the album's title, Varkatzas stated: "I wrote the line "Congregation of the Damned" for one of the songs on the album and it got me thinking. It kind of feels like in a lot of ways that we, as members of a society, are just gathering around and collectively getting fucked over. When you look at what's going on in our economy and how other people treat each other, it's kind of like we're all just lemmings. We're lined up blankly staring blindly at nothing and just going along with the flow like a congregation of the damned. So this record really reflects my thoughts and feelings about that in every possible way"
The band started a co-headlining tour with Hollywood Undead and Escape the Fate in October 2009, and as promotion of album have debuted songs like "Bleeding Is a Luxury" at K-Rockathon 14 in New York State Fairgrounds, Syracuse, NY., and "Gallows". Atreyu has also promoted their new album in many other ways. For example, 5 webisodes, between September 1 to October 20 every two weeks, have been released advertising the album. They describe the album to "Make more sense than the other ones because they finally realize what they are."
They have also released two songs on their MySpace page, "Stop! Before It's Too Late and We've Destroyed It All" and "Storm to Pass", on September 13 and September 15, 2009 respectively; "Storm to Pass" was also their first US Radio single from Congregation of the Damned. "Gallows" was later released on October 20 in a promotional game entitled "Metal Head Zombies," designed by video game creator Jason Oda ("Dropkick the Faint") which is a first-person shooter, where fans can play here, the game based loosely on Call of Duty.
Dan Jacobs and Travis Miguel also appeared in Issue 5 of the Eternal Descent comic book series, which featured a narrative inspired by the song "Black Days Begin" from Congregation of the Damned.
The song "Ravenous" features on the music video game, Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock.
Atreyu began their The Congregation of the Damned Tour with blessthefall, Chiodos, Architects (UK), and Endless Hallway on October 20 in Anaheim, CA.
- "Stop! Before It's Too Late and We've Destroyed It All"
- "Bleeding Is a Luxury"
- "Congregation of the Damned"
- "Coffin Nails"
- "Black Days Begin"
- "Storm to Pass"
- "You Were the King, Now You're Unconscious"
- "So Wrong"
- "Wait for You"
- "We Are the Living Dead"
- "Another Night (Wishing I Wasn't Here)"
- Alex Varkatzas - unclean vocals
- Dan Jacobs - lead guitar
- Marc McKnight - bass guitar and backing vocals
- Travis Miguel - rhythm guitar
- Brandon Saller - drums, percussion and clean vocals
- Produced by Bob Marlette
- Tracks 1-5, 7 and 12-13 Mixed by Rich Costey
- Tracks 6 and 8-11 Mixed by Noah Shain