Parkway Drive


Written by: MN on 20/10/2015 18:25:35

Parkway Drive is the ultimate household name on the metalcore scene, and with good reason. The Australian outfit have quite literally taken the world by storm with their raucous and explosive live shows. With four records to boot, Parkway Drive have now hit a self-recognized crossroads, in which new directions and formulas must be put into action. For what reason? Simply put: Progression. Even though their contagious and punchy riffs (some of the best on the scene) have firmly cemented their position in metal, it is clear that their ambitions run higher than just remaining that killer Australian, Byron-bay based metalcore act. So what direction would this be? Their answer is the quite brilliant revelation “Ire”, just recently released to the masses.

Let me make it clear, Parkway Drive have not taken a drastic switch to a more mainstream sound. The vocals of Winston McCall still remain beastly and potent as one of the best growling vocalists in the game. The riffs remain catchy and induce a carnal need to head bang in sync. The main and significant difference lies in the approach to melody, it all of a sudden seems more rustic and to some level, more epic, referencing to the golden moments of 80s heavy metal, think Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and at times thrashy Metallica. The lead guitar melody seems to get more emphasis, as it perfectly complements the recognizable rhythm riffs. Opening track “Destroyer” is a great example of this deviation from formulaic metalcore, where a key melodic riff leads a groovier approach that despite remaining brutal, still sets a positive mood for the record.

“Dying To Believe” is brutality in its best manifestation, thrashy and unsettling in lyricism, this is more old-school Parkway Drive, and the song brings forth one of the best breakdowns, queued by the screams of McCall “Forked Tongue Motherfucker, How the hell do you sleep at night?!”. This track is extremely similar to a lot of Slipknot work, where rapping lyrics are both convincing and nowhere near cringe-inducing, as is the case with most rap-metal. Winston McCall is undoubtedly developing himself as a versatile screamer. A personal favourite comes in form of “Crushed”, where monk-like chants set a very revolutionary mood to the track. This has the album's most daring lyrics, which alludes to frustrations regarding religion, the ever-expanding problem of refugees and themes of oil and gas exploitation of, presumably, the Middle East. This is lyrically a great song, as it seems to have plenty of contemporary events seeming relatable, and as the mood queued, revolutionary in spirit.

“Fractures” and “Bottom Feeder” will and should be moshpit classics, where the latter actually sees Winston McCall attempt some raspy clean vocals at some points. He is clearly a better growler but pulls through occasionally with quasi-clean vocals. “The Sound Of Violence” is one of the faster-paced bashers, and “Vicious” has an almost Godsmack-like mood surrounding it, it also contains some mean solo work. Album finisher “A Deathless Song” is introduced by some commendable solo guitar work, not unlike what an Opeth track would queue, the song is based around an almost In Flames-esque riff, where the vocals retain brilliant sing-a-long potential.

So is there anything wrong with this record? Yes and no. It could easily have placed more emphasis on the brilliant direction the instrumental section is going. These musicians have the capacity to produce melodic passages with originality. Secondly…You know what? Fuck it! This record is a brilliant direction for Parkway Drive and I simply cannot nit-pick at it for the sake of criticism. As it now stands, this is one of strongest releases of 2015 and I can only see Parkway Drive continuing their dominance with this.


Download: Bottom Feeder, Destroyer, A Deathless Song
For The Fans Of: Northlane, Caliban, Heaven Shall Burn

Release date 25.09.2015
Epitaph Records

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