Dead Icarus

Alex Varkatzas Walks Back His Claim Of Atreyu “Inventing” Metalcore


Back in 2018 then Atreyu vocalist Alex Varkatzas drew controversy when he proclaimed that his band “invented metalcore.” Speaking to Rock Sound at the time, Varkatzas boldly stated of the influence he felt his band had:

“You know I don’t know where we fit in any scene and I don’t think that any scene knows where we fit. I think that’s just part of us.

This is going to sound a little cocky but I’m a singer in a band. I don’t think we fit into any genre. I think we are hard to pin down. When we first started it was a little easier.

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.

So throughout that I still don’t know where we fit, and I think our fans know that. This is the place to be you. This is our driving force and heartbeat. This is the place we go to express ourselves.

I think our fan base and the people who like our band are like that too. They like music and we play music.”

With the seeds of metalcore having emerged long prior to Atreyu‘s reign, Varkatzas‘ comments were justifiably not well received. In fact, the backlash to his claims have continued to haunt Varkatzas and Atreyu in certain circles of the internet to this day.

Reflecting on that now, Varkatzas, who currently fronts Dead Icarus, told ‘Talk Toomey Podcast‘ host Joshua Toomey that his comments were part of a publicity stunt for Atreyu‘s eighth studio album “In Our Wake“, and now contends that what he said was “bullshit”.

Varkatzas told Toomey of that [transcribed by]:

“I say stupid shit sometimes. Like I said I invented metalcore once. You can call me out on that if you want, it’s fine.”

He continued:

“My thoughts on it are like, we rode on the backs of other bands that we liked at the same time. There were bands that were coming up doing the same thing. And at that time, I think that screaming and singing together was like kinda that bridge that made it a little different. But no, I mean, I didn’t invent anything. I also didn’t invent chopping the water when you have a new record coming out.

Like most people I think who know me, know that me saying that ‘I invented metalcore’ is fucking ridiculous. Because I don’t care. Metalcore wasn’t even a coined term when bands like Lamb Of God and all that… They were calling it like the ‘new wave of American heavy metal ‘— ’cause that sounds way cooler, right?

I’m chopping the water, trying to make business for… You know at the time Atreyu wasn’t exactly killing it. So, you got a new record coming out, you gotta get a little resourceful.

I learned from that to not try to play the heel, to not be disgenuine to myself, and that’s the major lesson. I kinda deserve whatever lumps or anything anybody wanted to say about it, because it was like a callous thing. But at the same time I think that people that know me, know that that was bullshit. And people who don’t know me are more than happy to throw stones anyway.

So it’s kinda like it is what it is. I gave some people some ammo for years to come in the bottom of messageboards and stuff. What’s life without a little chopping the water, you know what I mean? I learned from it.”

According to Varkatzas, the next single from Dead Icarus will arrive on December 01st. Furthermore, the project, which sees Varkatzas joined by Gabe Mangold (guitars) and Brandon Zackey (drums) of Enterprise Earth, will be in the studio this winter, with hopes to have their debut album out in the summer of 2024.

Speaking of some of his motivation behind this fledgling project, he told Toomey that in part it was a reaction to the course Atreyu‘s creative output and career took after the band’s gold-certified 2007 album “Lead Sails Paper Anchor“. He explained:

“I feel like I have a lot to make up for. I feel like when Atreyu made the first record with [producer John Feldman], I should have dug in my heels about certain things artistically, and I didn’t.

And once the ball goes too far and money starts coming in — not just to the band — but the managers and to the record label, there’s all this other pressure and all these other things and you’re in your early to mid-twenties trying to handle it all, it’s a lot. And not everybody can navigate that successfully.

I look back and I did not at times. At times I did, at times I didn’t. I wouldn’t go back and change anything, because of what I learned from it all. But yeah man, it’s humbling, starting over’s crazy. I forgot how crazy it is to be in a band and to care.”

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