Sometimes in order to live, first, we must die. Truly reckoning with the past may require erasing the person the world knew. When broken, vulnerable, confused, and alone, the only way out is through.

Alex Varkatzas found himself at such a crossroads when his tenure as vocalist for Atreyu, the band he fronted for over two decades, ended abruptly. No longer tethered to the music and people he’d defined himself by his entire adult life, the California native resolved to rebuild from the ground up.

DEAD ICARUS is the result. An uncompromising, brutal, impassioned, confessional assault, Alex’s new musical vehicle introduces itself to the world with five blistering songs before unleashing a full-length project in 2024. The song titles tell a story: “Sellout,” “The Vultures Circle,” “So I Set Myself On Fire,” “Ad Infernum,” and “Yesterday Don’t Mean Shit.” A furious rebirth, instantly relatable to anyone facing down a life-altering crossroads.

“The last few years opened my eyes to who I am as a person and how I treated myself,” the vocalist explains. “If you’re unhappy with who you are and rough on yourself, how can you be kind to others?”

Gabe Mangold, the mastermind guitarist behind deathcore favorites Enterprise Earth, performed all of the guitar and bass on the DEAD ICARUS EP and produced it, as well.  Brandon Zackey, who plays with Mangold in Enterprise Earth and as a touring member of Whitechapel, played drums on the EP.

DEAD ICARUS sounds both fresh and familiar for the legions of metalheads who revere the unapologetic aggression of Pantera or the dynamic metalcore of Killswitch Engage.  The heavy riffs Mangold sent Alex’s way lit a fire. Soon, the pair were sending preproduction demos back and forth.

“I have an artist’s brain. I have to create compulsively,” Varkatzas says. “Whether it’s painting, building guitars, or making music, I have to get the things inside of me out there. I thought I would be done when everything stopped with my old band. But I realized I still have a lot of things to say.”

A staple of Ozzfest in the mid-2000s with two gold albums, Atreyu is one of the defining bands of the New Wave Of American Heavy Metal, alongside groups like Avenged Sevenfold and Lamb Of God. Alex’s distinctive scream powers metalcore classics like The Curse and A Death-Grip on Yesterday.

The roar last heard at full force on Atreyu’s 2015 comeback album Long Live and 2018’s In Our Wake is stronger than ever, scorching earth with vocal exhortations that brim with an authentic fury.

“I can be a melodramatic, emotional, and sensitive person, like many people,” Varkatzas reflects.  “And that’s the beauty of music. I get to put these feelings out there, and other people connect with them.”

Drawing closer to friends, family, and the sound that shaped him with DEAD ICARUS, the singer launches an unforgiving war against fair-weather fakes and, most importantly, his own self-doubt.

“I believe in blessings in disguise. Sometimes you have to go through something; you need to be alone,” Alex offers. “It reignited my artistic spark. I only want to make things that are true to who I am. I have to make the music that I want to make. And that is what DEAD ICARUS is all about.”