New Parkway Drive album, At-las(t)
Hopefully you've forgiven me for the terrible pun and now you've convinced yourself into reading the review, undeniably the heaviest album I have reviewed. So let's begin!
It is the return of the Australian metalcore band Parkway Drive with their fourth studio album 'Atlas' and they have 'mapped' themselves back onto the current metal scene. Again, sorry for another awful pun. Their previous album 'Deep Blue' was well received and generally loved amongst hardcore fans of the band, so a follow-up of the album had to be just as solid as 'Deep Blue' with promises of it surpassing and becoming the band's best album to date.
Well the first comment I have to make about 'Atlas' is that the beatdowns are back, and better than ever. They don't all feel repetitive, each one has its own flair and sound more edgy than their earlier attempts. It is fair to say that when it comes to metalcore, Parkway Drive are renowned as one of the greatest to do it. I have to agree, especially after hearing this album. The brutality of each song is exciting and feels like a sudden adrenaline rush that makes you want to punch a lion. Of course, I don't condone hitting mammals. The record seems more diverse than their other records. They have slightly stepped out of their comfort zone and what would usually be seen as 'generic' has been greatly developed and thought through to make it sound as unique as possible, yet still recognisably Parkway Drive.
The ferocity of the instruments is simply outstanding, however there are melodic nuances that intertwine with the heavier riffs perfectly. The guitar solos are both energetic and refreshing, you feel like headbanging when they kick in, but also the melodies are a pleasure to hear. The drums pound through your entire body, just as you would expect. There are a couple of tracks on the album that are extremely reminiscent of a 'Dark Side of the Moon' era Pink Floyd. The opener 'Sparks' and the introduction to 'The River' have sublime acoustic/clean moments which sound as soothing as can be. Also, to be noted, lead vocalist (screamer) Winston McCall's voice is very dynamic and fits in brilliantly with the band, as well the backing vocals in some of the songs. They are executed perfectly in my opinion, most metalcore bands sound forced and have no real passion or emotion, but Parkway Drive seem to have a real determination to make their music the best. Their work rate is commendable.
The lyrics suit the general vibe of the band, they talk about the world with a pinch of hatred. It presents an overall emotion that flows through the rest of the album.
Overall I would say this is a relatively enjoyable album, a very good comeback from Parkway Drive.
Stand-out tracks on this album: 'The River' and 'The Slow Surrender'
Rating: 8 out of 10