Parkway Drive

support Heaven Shall Burn + Northlane + Carnifex
author EL date 12/12/14 venue Camden Roundhouse, London, UK

Australian metalcore giants, Parkway Drive, landed in London on Friday night at the Camden Roundhouse, and boy did they bring the mother of all storms with them; they were also joined by Heaven Shall Burn, Northlane and Carnifex. Being one of the most hotly anticipated shows of 2014, it was evident from the second the show sold out, that the Byron Bay legends were there to put on the best goddamn show anyone had ever seen. With a queue that had an estimated waiting time of an hour or more, just to get into the venue itself, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the fans freezing their pants off outside, as the Roundhouse itself didn’t appear to have a particularly well thought out admissions process.

Once inside, bodies crammed up the narrow staircase and wound around the various corners, waiting to shuffle into the main area. As I sat, waiting for the show to start I couldn’t help but wonder why Carnifex had been chosen to kick off the night, given that they have a larger fan base and have been around four years longer than Northlane. Having said that, with the recent internet craze that surrounded their search for a new singer by youtube auditions, I can only imagine that this added to the popularity boost the Northlane has been met with and therefore they would have been the more logical option to be third on the billing.

Regretably we had no available photographers on this evening.

Carnifex

So with that, Carnifex kicked off the night to a moderately filled out room with their “Deathwish” intro from their 2011 album, “Until I Feel Nothing”. With ominous clanking and the rattle of chains filling the room, vocalist Scott Lewis breaks in with the awesomely harrowing growl of “Fuck The World” and continues straight into their next song, “In Coalesce With Filth and Faith” which prompts a small circle pit to open in the middle of the room and has a few bodies whirling around in it. Despite their greatest efforts to get the crowd going, the people down below fell short of anything even remotely spectacular, with an abysmal show of enthusiasm or energy. I was hoping that by the third song the crowd would have perked up at least a bit, perhaps even managing to do more than just bob their heads like emotionless robots, but alas, my faith in the younger gig goers was not restored and I found myself growing incredibly bored of their boredom.

Finally my interest was peaked with an epic organ intro to “Dark Days” and my disgruntled feelings towards the people down below subsided somewhat. Continuing with a better pace, “Die Without Hope” and “Lie To My Face” followed and managed to keep my attention away from the still anesthetised crowd. Upon playing their final and heaviest song of the night, “Hell Chose Me”, Vocalist Scott Lewis graciously thanked the crowd for the support and for buying a ticket to the show professing that the show was just getting started and this was the crowds last chance to get stuck, which they did not bar a few enthusiastic do-gooders who will mosh to pretty much anything.

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Northlane

During the interval between Carnifex and Northlane I had to laugh at the bizarre choice in music over the sound system, as Flogging Molly jigged through the speakers and the crowd. What pissed me off more than anything is that the crowd had the audacity to laugh, jump and cheer to a pre recorded pop punk jig, rather than get stuck into an awesome live band. Shame. On. Them.

Moving on to the next set of the night the space downstairs started to fill out more. The second the lights went out a huge scream erupted from the darkness and Northlane exploded onto the stage, introducing us to their new vocalist, Marcus Bridge. It’s safe to say I can now see why they weren’t the last billing of the night as the crowds’ energy suddenly picked up and the atmosphere in the venue shifted immediately. Credit given where credit is due, Bridge’s clean vocals are astounding and his harsh vocals are equally as impressive; they made the right choice with their new front man, that’s for sure.

Starting the set with “Genesis” the band as a whole went full throttle when it came to using the wide space given to them. The crowd is already clapping manically as Bridge continues to bounce around the stage eagerly prompting the crowd to get even more pumped. “Scarab” followed with a melodic intro and even more clapping and I was impressed to see the sheer level of commitment this band had to each other’s on stage connection. The second newly released single, “Rot” blasted out from the stage as the crowd absolutely lost their mind and needless to say a couple of fan girls got taken out by overly enthusiastic windmills and sweaty two steppers.

“Worldeater” and “Masquerade” were played next but failed to be anything memorable for me as I slowly felt that their set was becoming too repetitive and so my interest yet again waned. Luckily their final song of the night, “Quantum Flux” was so well performed I instantly got back into the swing of things. All I can say is that this new addition to their band was definitely a fantastic decision and I am very much looking forward to what they have in store for their fans in the future.

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Heaven Shall Burn

German boys Heaven Shall Burn took to the stage next with a fantastic light show, which projected an eerie, sunken submarine theme with its blue hues and watery sound effects. Slowly the intro began with the crowd clapping along to “Counterweight” which launched an immediate assault into their second track “Land of the Upright Ones”. My biggest issue with this track was the lighting set up as it was agreed by a number of people that the flashing was so intense some people actually felt ill and had to turn away to avoid the risk of being induced into a seizure.

After “Voice of the Voiceless” ended, vocalist Marcus Bischoff, whose brother Eric Bischoff happens to be the bassist of the band, insisted that the crowd wake the fuck up and create a wall of death which they did quickly and obediently. “Hunters Will Be Hunted” kicked off and then wall of death catapulted itself inwards and I’m convinced I saw a leg or two fly the wrong way upon impact.

After “Combat”, came an awesome cover of Edge Of Sanity’s “Black Tears”, much to the delight of everyone in the room and the crowd certainly didn’t hold back when singing the lyrics back to the stage.

“The World’s in Me” and “Behind a Wall of Silence” revved up the anger notch by ten and really made the crowd work for their sweat and blood. “Endzeit” was the closing song, which produced an enormous blur of a circle pit in the middle of the room. Despite this being a much better set than the preceding bands, nothing could have prepared me for the headlining band that was to appear on stage imminently.

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Parkway Drive

With the room stuffed to the brim now with every single person in the venue, the buzz grew more and more electric and the mood grew into that of one of uncontrollable excitement and wide-eyed desperation. In all my life, nothing could have prepared me for Parkway Drive’s set. If I had any sort of high expectations to begin with they were promptly chucked out of the “that’s not enough expectation” window and would have been replaced with a “holy fucking shit, I can’t even begin to describe how wrong I was”. The stage is made up of mock molten lava rocks, glowing with an orange hue, the lights fade, smoke fills the room and slowly the intro is played into the room as the band walks onto the stage. The crowd goes absolutely ape shit and a surge of bodies’ pushes as hard as they can to the front. Vocalist Winston McCall places himself centre stage and kicks off the mayhem with a terrifying roar with “Wild Eyes”.

As “Wild Eyes” tore the roof off the venue, cannons blasted confetti and streamers into the hysterical crowd. As if driven insane by fever the crowd pushed and shoved in every direction, opening up one of the biggest circle pits I have ever seen in an interior venue. “Sleepwalker” came next and provided the audience with a breathtakingly stunning light show, millions of colours washing the room like a sweet box. When “Karma” began, Winston proclaimed that London had always been one of the most impressive and supportive cities when they had been on tour in the past and so rolled into the breakdown laden, “Karma”.

Paired with absolutely awesome fire pyrotechnics, I could feel the heat all the way from the balcony as the flames shot up into the air with every breakdown that crashed through the room. If it was hot up on the balcony I can only imagine that the hell like stage was hotter than the Piccadilly line in a heat wave rush hour. Hell continued to be unleashed as Parkway Drive went from strength to strength, continuing their set with, “Dream Run”. By this point in the evening it is so incredibly obvious as to why Parkway Drive have sold out the majority of their shows as they are just far too good at what they do.

When “Idols and Anchors” begins to play, if it is at all possible, the people in the venue step it up several notches as two rival pits open up on the floor. Not one body is standing still, everyone in the balcony is on their feet and everyone is roaring back at the band. With even more exceptional light designs, more smoke, more pyrotechnics, I don’t quite know at this point how they can even top their set anymore as it is just the greatest thing I have ever seen.

The crowd starts chanting “Winston, Winston, Winston” over and over again, to which he replies with thanks and says, “Thank you so much…but we are Parkway Drive and we are here to fucking tear the house down,” which was met with hysterical screams from the sweating bodies down below with a now reformed “Parkway Drive, Parkway Drive, Parkway Drive!” In response the band goes on to play “Mutiny”, “Dark Days” and “Deliver Me”, never dropping the pace, constantly going from strength to strength. After playing “Romance Is Dead”, the all too familiar tones of “Home Is for the Heartless” begins and the crowd begins to chilling chant, “woahohwoah-woahhhh”, and it spills through the venue in echoes only to finally end with “Swings”.

The band finally leaves the stage and everyone begins to scream and shout, “TWO MORE SONGS! TWO MORE SONGS!” and of course the band obliges with “Horizons” and last but not least, their most popular, most intricately perfect “Carrion” which was met with more fire, more lights, more emotion and more passion.

All I can say for this experience is that I can’t wait for Parkway Drive to return to the UK. The word in the audience is that this was the best performance Parkway Drive has ever done and that they have completely reconfirmed why they are one of the best bands in this industry. My mind was completely blown by their stage design, their lighting design, and their pyrotechnic design and of course by the overall performance of the band. It was hands down the best thing I have ever seen live.

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