It’s odd how certain bands never come across your radar. I was thinking about this the other day when I realised that I could only name about two Ronnie James Dio songs despite his legendary status.

The same was true of Atreyu until last month. I had gone to watch Bullet For My Valentine, and they opened. They had a way of sweeping you along, and there was something special about their live show. 20 years or not, it was the first time I’d seen them.

All of which means “Hope Of A Spark” has come just at the right time, and it’s a fine resumption of what they did that night, too.

“The Hope Of A Spark” kicks off with “Drowning,” all the aggression and positivity that underscored the show. Brandon Saller, evidently enjoying his switch to frontman, is formidable. So much so that when he yells “Let’s take the power back!” on “God Devil,” you’re ready to join. There’s something else here too, and it’s the fact that they have a ready way to write anthemic stuff. Guitarists Dan Jacobs and Travis Miguel are formidable, the riffs are thick, the solos soar.

They are capable of some heavy moments; “Capital F” is ready for any moshpit, and on “Watch Me Burn,” which is sort of halfway between hard rock and something more aggressive, fists are up, and Saller is screaming “I’ll be fighting for my last breath.”

Four tracks. Lean, mean, and right up for the fight, Atreyu is evidently one of the finest bands that modern hard rock has to offer.

Whether you know this already, or you’ve never come across them before, let “The Hope Of A Spark” ignite something in you.

Rating: 8.5/10

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