Artist: Parkway Drive
Release Date: 25th September 2015
Label: Epitaph Records
The titans of metal that are Parkway Drive have heaved another mammoth slab of heaviness onto our plates in the form of Ire, you might recognise the shape and taste of the music but I can promise you, the consistency is something wholly unexpected from, arguably, one of the best and biggest bands in the scene. No doubt you’ve already read some reviews, seen some interviews and might have heard from some friends yourself that this album is a different approach from them, and they’d be right, it is different, but I’d argue that it’s a bigger, better different. A natural progression to a sound that shows maturity and talent from a band with both in heaps.
Hopefully those interviews and friends I was talking about didn’t scare you off, because this is a beast of an album. It’s heavy. Seriously heavy. You get neck-ache from listening to it, it’s so heavy. The introduction to the new sound, in the form of Destroyer is a gentle one, it has many elements you’ll know and love from the Aussie hard-hitters with some new ones you’ll recognise from older forms of metal. It’s a foray into the unknown that initially had me confused and made me musically double-take, it needed a second listen. And a third. But I soon accepted their new sound and the rest of the album flows and gels with this beautifully. Dying To Believe is closer to their older sound, it’s fast, unforgiving and tenacious, the whole reason why I originally started listening to them again was as a soundtrack to gaming and exercise (because without some serious motivation I can’t get out of bed in the morning let alone to a gym) and this song follows perfectly from the slower opening.
“The chains set to break your soul. Day by day
You know the choice you have to make
Freeze up and fade
Or be the flame that lights the way”
Up next we have the first single from the album, Vice Grip, possibly a safe option for a single, it has mass appeal, shouted choruses, it’s slower and more positive than many of their other songs in the past. This is a key theme throughout the album, lyrically it’s quite stark and heavy, but the feel and tone of the album is one of happiness and hope in the same sense that a Rise Against album is. It delivers a message and uplifts at once. I like this choice as a first single, I think it’ll bring in more potential new fans. Well, after this softer track, we have my favourite of the whole album, Crushed. A slow, pummeling track with nu-metal style guitar riffs, simple leads and simple drums that really let the individual elements shine. The lyrics are a call to action and a rallying cry, something that fans can chant along and will be singing in their head for days after. The chorus is churning and brutal in its simplicity, the vocals are perfect, stripped back and layered up to build this monolithic sound which pulls all the individual elements together to form an almighty beast of metal.
Another track that older fans may find familiar can be found in Fractures. It’s got all the elements old Parkway Drive had in the swelling chorus, rhythmic guitar riffs and a subtle introductory cowbell in the background. It fits perfectly with the rest of the tracks, a tether between the old and the new, something that will bring older fans in and something to drive newer fans to look for their older works. Writings On The Wall takes an entirely new approach, something which I love. It’s so different I can’t help but get goosebumps thinking about it. It brings to mind something of 80’s/90’s hard rap, something of Tupac if he was in a metal band. If any song was ever to be a call-to-arms of a young generation, this would be it. It’s both poignant and enticing, I kind of want to start a revolution when it comes on, that or just fight something. You’ll know what I mean when you listen to it. Another masterpiece from an album littered with gold-dust. Bottom Feeder is another track that I feel reminds me of older PD, it has elements of Atlas and Deep Blue in and I love it for that, fusing parts of the old with something new, a real example of their growth as a band. Simplicity and elegance in metal, who’da thunk it?
The Sound Of Violence continues in a similar vein, something new and something old fused to create a different sound entirely and the more and more you hear it, the more you’ll come to love it. It’s something I have yet to hear in the world of music. They’ve officially done it, they’ve created a sound that nobody has ever had before, not even close. Now we’ve got a track that I’d really like to praise for days because it shows so much maturity from every member of the band. Every instrument, every note is placed perfectly and the lyrics all melt around each other to form a delicious golden brew of metal perfection. One thing I’d like to point out more is Winston’s performances throughout the album, they are immaculate and broad. His range has improved a thousandfold and his melodies are excellent, he has clearly worked hard for this and it pays off. They have a more melodic sound without losing any of the venom and he sounds more comfortable throughout every song. Dedicated is another power-hungry motivator, driving guitar and intense drumming beneath Winston’s choral screams of defiance create yet another powerhouse of brutality and positivity.
To finish off this momentous album, A Deathless Song really pulls out all the stops. A sweeping riff follows from a gentle swaying opening. Winston again calls forth his gentler tones and harmonies to render a love letter profound and tender to a metal audience looking for something more in a genre filled with hate and anger. It’s really quite an exquisite track, something epic to finish off a superb album. “Because I drown in your shadow, like salt in the rain, if my fear is tomorrow then your memory’s the fight in my veins.”
Parkway Drive are about to go on tour in America and then Europe
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