Parkway Drive – Ire
By Karl Whinnery
Parkway Drive’s latest release pushes boundaries – but does it push the right ones?
Ire, the latest from Australia’s leading metalcore quintet, finds the band stretching their wings. The end result is It fails to soar but still catches air. The band loses their harder edge with a few exceptions and brings in a large hair/arena metal influence.
Songs like “Destroyer”, “Dying to believe,” “Vice Grip,” “Crushed,” and “Bottom Feeder” are sure to keep the long term and die-hard fans happy, but this is a far cry from Horizons. These songs are more predictable Parkway Drive sans the additions of some “yeah yeah yeahs” on “Vice Grip.” “Vice Grip” was the lead single, so we’ll give ‘em that one. “Crushed” in particular stomps in ways that Parkway Drive haven’t done before, and it feels like the band is firing on all cylinders. The video is pretty damn killer too. You can check it out here:
Front man Winston McCall’s scream sounds as ear pleasing as always and the lyrics are stellar throughout, and still channelling their “save the planet” vibe we’ve all come to love.
Things start to falter on tracks like “Writings on the Wall” – I’m not sure if Winston is trying to channel his inner Mike Patton or just try something new but the first two minutes just seem like a miss. When they branched out on 2012’s Atlas with the track “The River” they killed it with backup vocals, beautiful melody, and amazing lyrics. They’ve only got the lyrics on this one. “Fractures” feels like a missed opportunity with all the “woah woaoah” soaking up space that could have been put to better use.
Unlike Bring Me the Horizon aping some Nu-Metal influence, Parkway Drive borrows heavily from 80’s hair metal staples like chants, harmonized leads, and arena type drum beats. It’s this writer’s humble opinion that it’s a mistake. “Vicious” is definitely 80’s influenced with the riffing, leads, and drums, and even a synth, but the more Parkway elements stop the song from falling into parody territory and bring to an enjoyable tune.
“A Deathless Song” is a great way to close the CD – at least they go out on a strong note. Like I said, the CD doesn’t fly into the ground but it never gets close enough to the sun to have heat issues either. A “Deathless Song” shows Parkway Drive at their most musical and ambitious – why didn’t they do more of this on the rest of the CD? The song starts out with a beautiful classical acoustic guitar with finger picking and lead work, then blends into great melodic Parkway Drive riffing.