Review

Song Review: ATEEZ – Guerrilla

ATEEZ - GuerrillaSo far, ATEEZ’s work has been divided into series. Their debut-era Treasure series remains unrivaled in scope and quality. Follow-up Zero felt less narratively (and musically) cohesive, though it had its standouts. But, that’s all in the past. We find ourselves at the start of a new chapter with The World Ep.1. For years now, I’ve hoped ATEEZ would venture down a techno, cyberpunk aesthetic. They’re getting quite close with this project, even if title track Guerrilla sees them retracing tropes they’ve already mastered.

Teased earlier this month via an extended dance preview, Guerrilla’s shouty hook struck me as way too familiar for the grand kick-off of a new ATEEZ era. I mean, every boy group from big-name agency to hole-in-the-wall startup are recording this style of blustery chorus – low on melody, high on attitude. They don’t feel remotely ambitious or unique anymore, and with a vocal line as strong as ATEEZ’s I wish they’d opted for an epic, melodic centerpiece that truly flexed their skills. After all, part of what makes their music so transcendent are those majestic vocal climaxes. We get a hint of these during Guerrilla’s pre-chorus and much more during its bridge, but overall this is a performance piece with emphasis on contentious energy and daring musical flourishes.

With that said, Guerrilla is a solid example of this gruff, swaggering boy group trope. The song brings in a few psychedelic rock turns that flesh out the instrumental and add needed heft to its modest bones. I’ve always thought you could judge a truly great song by how well it fares when stripped of its flashy production. Guerilla wouldn’t pass this test, but I’m not sure that’s the point. This song is all about production and performance. The rap hits hard, the dynamic post-chorus howl shreds as furiously as any electric guitar solo, and the guys even flirt with screamo in places. This heady mix is enough to distract from Guerrilla’s let down of a hook. The song succeeds on sheer verve, and really comes to life during its final minute. In fact, I wish the entire track sounded like its hard rock bridge.

On another familiar note, I fear we got Take Me Home’d again. B-side Cyberpunk‘s full-on techno crunch would have made an epic single that offered something we can’t hear anywhere else in K-pop. There’s still time, guys!

 Hooks 7
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.5

36 thoughts on “Song Review: ATEEZ – Guerrilla

  1. This is my favorite single and album of the year. Hands down. I’ve been waiting for ATEEZ to rebound for quite some time now and I am glad that they’ve finally come back with an album which points into new directions for the guys whilst still showcasing what makes the guys so damn great. It has majestic vocal moments, hard-hitting rap verses and that mad-cap apocalyptic energy that a group like ATEEZ can pull off.

    Guerrilla’s fantastic, and a great example of ATEEZ pulling an idiosyncratic twist on the most boring of tropes. Yeah, I wish it opted for a more melodic approach but the refrain really digs inside your skin after a few listens. I absolutely love how the song’s post-chorus just goes ham with both vocal and instrumental. The verses are great and the contrast between the second-half of both is excellent. And that final minute? One of ATEEZ’s most finest moments, I love that they utilized that final-minute switch up which categorized most of the group’s Treasure series tracks. I love this song.

    And moving onto the album, what a great album! Even generic songs like Sector 1 and WDIG stand out because of that impeccable ATEEZ Charisma. The Ring is a top-tier hip-hop track, and tracks like Cyberpunk and New World are phenomenal. I’d argue both songs are even better than the title! And I can see that the guys have grown a lot, both in terms of voice and performance.

    Please excuse me for this, It’s just been so long since I’ve been so excited from a project released by ATEEZ. I am resisting myself from vomiting words out from my keyboard lol
    My rating for all the tracks:
    Sector 1: 8.5/10
    Cyberpunk: 9.5/10
    Guerrilla: 9.25/10
    The Ring: 9/10
    WDIG: 7.5/10 (The only dud for me)
    New World: 9.5/10

    Excited to see the rest of the series! Fingers crossed!

    Liked by 3 people

    • The album just gets better and better with every listen! I think this might be my favorite project from ATEEZ yet!

      Like

  2. I was expecting to dislike or even hate this one after watching teasers. But now I can confirm that I’m pleasantly surprised. Ateez saved the song with their charisma despite it being pretty standard blustery boy group fare. Also, this rock guitar sprinkled throughout the track is just chef’s kiss.
    However, I wish that there was less shouting in the hook and more actual singing.
    My rating would look like this:

    Hooks: 7
    Production: 9
    Longevity: 9
    Bias: 7
    Total: 8/10

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Surprising myself by liking this, ever since they dropped that initial performance preview video! Same thoughts: could do with more melody but its a banger of a song and has some really epic moments. I’m also probably kinda biased since I’ve been planning to do a dance cover of it with a group of friends so from the teaser onwards I’ve been thinking abt it from a performance perspective – but I suppose thats the focus of this track anyways!

    Totally agree on Cyberpunk though, I liked it from the album preview alone!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. To be honest, the first half had me kind of bored but then came along 1:37 and then the song went up from there. The second half really made up for the song and pushed it up higher.

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  5. This song is a solid 9 for me. It was beyond what I expected from just the teasers. While its style is a familiar territory for ateez and kpop boy groups, at least ateez does it extremely well. The song has influences of edm, rock, metal, hip hop and even screamo. So much going on in one song but it doesnt feel like random noise. I waited a long time for ateez’s comeback and they did not disappoint!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. the intro/verses are aight, but imo the post chorus + everything happening in the last minute and a half save the song. overall, it’s one of my favorite comebacks from the recent years. i definitely prefer cyberpunk though, what a banger

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  7. Phew. I love that energy Ateez brings to songs like this. Most groups going for a harder dirtier sound deliver it like a swagger Ateez feels like they’re trying to smash you in the face with it. I disagree about the lack of hooks I just think it take it time, now the whole song is full of hooks. Anyway this really is the latest comeback from any group in a while that I’ve really been impressed by. Really good stuff. Love Ateez.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. The NCT-ification of ATEEZ, specifically with “Kick It” as a reference point. Not too bad, honestly better than most of the Fever series, mostly because they perform it with so much panache. It really takes off towards the end, Edenary really know how to craft a great bridge. Mid-to-high 8s for me.

    But omg Cyberpunk is so good. It feels like a companion track to Dreamcatcher’s Poison Love. That chromatic chorus melody is stuck in my head. Eagerly awaiting the Buried Treasure writeup!

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  9. This is not your mother’s shouty chorus kpop song.
    Boy, they knew what they were doing when they turned it up to 11. There are a lot of goodies buried in here. And they perform the shit out of it.
    Sounds like a trifecta to me.

    Liked by 6 people

  10. ATEEZ knows how to do it like noneother. I have to say, I was let down hearing the chorus in the preview. But having the whole song, I appreciate the totality so much.
    They know how to pull it together and deliver a thrilling exciting total package.

    I gotta say the Mingi verse is kinda incredible, I love hearing him back in full force.
    the bridge too. crazy production and melodicism. A lot to like here…love all the hidden goodies in the beat.

    I remember an earlier Bias List Ateez review saying that Ateez takes all our least favorite K-pop trends and spins them into something exciting and novel. I think they’re doing that again here.
    Very very cool.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Totally contrary to my expectations, I love this one.

    My favorite thing about Ateez is that they have one of the really key skills for a K-Pop group: commitment to the bit. It elevates something that could be utterly eye-roll-inducing in lesser hands, like this YA-dystopian-novel vibe they have going in the MV, to being fun and exciting instead. They certainly aren’t half-assing anything and I love to see it!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I don’t know. I feel like one of those czennies who encountered Punch for the first time. Is is a song that will grow on me, is it just a good performance piece and not much more, or is it a mess? (I liked Punch on first listen. Then again it had a killer chorus.) the video is incredible, though. I’ll go listen to Cyberpunk now.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Cyberpunk should have been the title track – it’s got the groove, the space pirate swagger, and a f’ing great chorus.

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  14. THE HOOK IS SO UNDERWHELMING HELP
    i can say this song is pretty solid, the production is on the roof and i admit it i liked it.
    just for this song, how can a song’s chorus being so underwhelming while the production slaps ?

    7,5/10

    also i listened to the album, Cyberpunk should’ve been the title track tbh. the best track on the album.

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  15. Well, in the minority here, but I actually like this more than Cyberpunk. Maybe I haven’t got a fine ear, but some samples here feel quite fresh + the construction of the song is kind of sinuous but in the right, eventful way + it’s more screaming than shouting and it makes all the difference. This song has the extra flavors that the other shouty songs and EDM lack. It just keeps on being surprising.
    (But maybe that’s just the first few listens enthusiasm)

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    • I agree…Cyberpunk feels very 2nd gen to me (which is maybe why it’s getting so much love here?). Guerilla feels very different, to the point where my least favorite part is the prechorus because it sounds so Ateez-y. The rest of it is not something I associate with them, at least not their title tracks. I’m not sure if this sounds like any other group out there right now? It’s got much more passion and excitement than NCT. There’s always one Ateez song (Answer, Inception, The Real) that gets me every year, and I think this one is it.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Good lord, imagine this in concert! The energy is off the charts. I wanna go out and break things while screaming the chorus. Of course I love all this noise and commotion. And like @mymagoogle said. I feel like there’s so much in there I haven’t even heard yet.

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  17. some thoughts:
    – how dare they turn the type of music i generally detest into this masterpiece
    – cyberpunk.
    – pls make cyberpunk a 2nd promoted single
    – imagine cyberpunk’s chorus in place of guerilla’s tho?
    – sector 1 is so pretty (esp prechorus) except for the shouted “yeah”s
    – the ring’s chorus reminds me of txt’s angel or devil and i think that’s great
    – wdig is a bit too much on the vocal effects / autotune. pls dont be like hybe
    – new world preview reminded me of skz’s slump but the overall song is v solid. almost cyberpunk level
    – the album is so cohesive this might be edenary’s best work yet???

    Liked by 2 people

  18. When I heard the teaser my heart almost stopped because oh god…. I was not expecting Ateez to fall to this NCT sound. I mean I like NCT but that doesn’t mean I want Ateez to become NCT💀

    I was almost sure that this was going to be a freaky NCT 127 meets Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas….. but oh boy, am I happy to be proved wrong!! 😁

    I actually really liked the song and the raps were so crazy good! And that bridge and climax was awesome! And for the chorus – I actually really liked it! And then it struck me how the chorus vibe is like 2 other songs from last year – Cravity The Baddest (a song I loved) and TBZ Breaking Dawn (an instrumental I loved).

    Hehe… I’m happy with this song and I haven’t watched the performance yet but I know I’ll be screaming this song within a week! ❤

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      • Oh yes lmao exactly that one!! 😋 For some reason the line “We the baddest” makes me confuse the name of the song as Baddest!

        But yeah – the way the pitch drops at the chorus part in Bad Habits and progresses kinda reminds me of the way the chorus is here in Guerrilla 😀

        Like

  19. Besides the chorus, I really like this whole song’s musical flow. I watched a live performance of them just singing and man it was good! Jongho’s vocals really don’t disappoint, and they all sounded pretty darn good.

    Like

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