Parkway Drive
Horizons


2.5
average

Review

by rasputin USER (196 Reviews)
October 29th, 2007 | 295 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A bland sophomore album that is overshadowed by its predecessor,and does not add anything new to the hardcore/metalcore genre.

Parkway Drive are one of the leading bands in Australian hardcore (probably the leading band?), and have really set the level needed to be a success in the hardcore scene. Unfortunately, this isn't very high. I have had Horizons since its release and have listened to it quite extensively. I have also listened to Killing with a Smile, Parkway Drive’s previous effort extensively. I mention this because I think it necessary to compare Horizons with Killing with a Smile in order to produce a fair review. I concluded that Horizons is no better than Killing with a Smile, perhaps even worse. It also shares most of its strengths and weaknesses with Killing with a Smile; Horizons is basically more of the same stuff, albeit a little differently executed. I have seen the band live several times, and in terms of a live show, and making good, standard heavy music, they are a very strong outfit. In terms of originality and breaking away from mainstream hardcore, I think the band does not really achieve anything at all. In general, this album is a good effort, but it’s nothing new, nothing amazing, absolutely nothing to go crazy about. To those who give this album a 5, please give me a break. And readers, please keep in mind that I am writing this from the view of someone who does not ‘live for the breakdown’.

The biggest strength of Parkway Drive is their vocalist, Winston McCall. He was what attracted me to the band in the first place, and he is the only reason why I still continue to listen to the band. I don’t think I’ve heard any hardcore/metalcore vocalist who is better than him. He has a huge diversity in his voice, and can go incredibly low (listen to the breakdown at 2:51 on the track Boneyards, or the 1:50 minute mark onwards on Idols and Anchors) as well as screech to his heart’s content. He performed well on their first album, and in my opinion, his vocal delivery is as good, if not better, on Horizons. To any wannabe growlers, take a leaf out of Winston’s book.

Moving onto the actual album, Parkway Drive has maintained its sound from the previous album, and perhaps built upon it. However, there is just something about Parkway Drive’s sound which is all too familiar, like you have listened to it before, which doesn’t help the band from being labeled generic. Horizons sounds very similar to Killing with a Smile. It also sounds very similar to a lot of mainstream hardcore. There is not much differentiation involved with this album, which eventually makes it boring to listen to. There are some moments on Horizons which I thought were a tad original and inventive however. An example of this would be on the track The Siren’s Song, around about the 2:20 mark. The bass just sounds delicious.

Now on to the topic of breakdowns. As you’d expect, Horizons is full of them. I know this probably keeps all the hardcore moshers happy, but eventually you realize that every song is just based around the breakdown. I remember when I used to listen to Killing with a Smile, I actually got to the point where I would skip most of each song and only listen to the breakdowns, or the heavier and/or melodic parts. With so many breakdowns, the rest of the music gets quite dull, and in the end the breakdowns just get dull too. I listened to Killing with a Smile quite a lot, it was an exciting album to listen to, and for a short period of time really had me hooked. Once I was finished though (after maybe one or so months), I completely stopped listening to it. I haven’t listened to it at all in the past 12 months. Why am I ranting on about Killing with a Smile? Mainly because Horizons follows the exact same formula as Killing with a Smile. I’ll say that it definitely sounds better, but is not really that different. I am already getting a tad bored with the album. I don’t doubt that most people will enjoy it for some period of time, but it only has any real longevity for those who are really into the band. On the other hand, on a pick up and go basis, and for lovers of breakdowns, Horizons has everything you’d want.

Other then the breakdowns, the other important point about the music is the moments of melody that Parkway Drive have incorporated into their music. There is definitely a melodic-death influence, but frankly it pales in comparison to leading melo-death bands of today. There are melodies dotted throughout the album, that provide a notable balance with the brutal moments on the album, which is generally done well enough. As with the trend of this album though, every good thing is countered with a bad one, and the melodic side of the album is plagued by quite bad lyrics. I think there might be a little improvement over Killing with a Smile, but generally follows the same sort of trend: lyrics that my girlfriend calls emo. Lines like ‘they can’t wipe the blood from her eyes’ and ‘every scar still bares your name, every scar still bares an angel's face’ don’t really do it for me. I don’t think I came across the word suicide however, but please correct me if I’m wrong.

Instrumentally, the album is good and bad. The drumming is very good. I won’t say it isn’t, because for any band to be good in this genre the drumming has to be decent. I think it’s vital for the style of music being played. On the other hand the guitars and base are very standard, and very simplistic. The riffing on the guitars especially is so very samey. It sounds like other songs on this album, it sounds like Killing with a Smile, and it sounds like songs from other bands in hardcore. I think that many hardcore bands share this problem, and it is one of the reasons I am not such a huge fan of the genre. I think that metalheads who aren’t into hardcore will not like the genre mostly due to this reason.

Overall, Horizons is a standard, perhaps even average, hardcore album. I think that in terms of its own genre it is relatively decent. In a wider scope of metal however, Parkway Drive doesn’t really break any new ground or give us something new and exciting. I’ll use the example of the recent release Hangman’s Hymn, by the Japanese band Sigh. It’s good to know that there are metal bands who are willing to try something different, even if it means that it could result in making a poor album (don’t think that Hangman’s Hymn is a poor album though, it’s one of the best albums I have heard). I don’t think Parkway Drive will be changing their sound anytime soon, because in the hardcore scene there are plenty who like them just the way it is. But for general metalheads, I doubt Parkway Drive will remain in your CD players for long periods of time.

I have tried my best to this album justice without bagging them too much or making them sound better than they are. Looking back, the review really reflects how I feel about the album: There are certain things I like about it, but there are definitely parts on it which really bother me. However, as said before, a decent effort by Parkway Drive. I recommend it to anyone who liked Killing with a Smile, or likes the sound of Australian hardcore or hardcore in general.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
jrowa001
October 29th 2007


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

this is nothing compared to KWAS. it just seems so blah to me. KWAS had more energy and intensity. this feels like they went for a more commercial approach. good reivewThis Message Edited On 10.29.07

tuk
October 29th 2007


151 Comments


The review reads more like a 3, the music itself is nothing more than 2.5.

Descripitive review.

Confessed2005
October 29th 2007


3314 Comments


Band never really interested me. Pretty decent review though.

rasputin
October 30th 2007


14550 Comments


tuk: yeah, I was on the verge of giving it a 3, but I thought I'd give them a chance.

rasputin
October 30th 2007


14550 Comments


Another way of looking at it, if you're into hardcore, 3.5 is a decent score. Other then that 3 is sufficient.This Message Edited On 10.30.07

br3ad_man
Emeritus
October 31st 2007


2125 Comments


Although they're a good live band, they're not at all interesting. Australia has potential to have a really great hardcore scene, but instead we just get PWD and Her Nightmare pushed to the front while no one cares about the good bands.

rasputin
October 31st 2007


14550 Comments


I've re-read my review, and listened to the album another 3 times, and I've concluded that I'd rather give this album a 3. So I'll change my rating as of now.

b0ggy
November 7th 2007


15 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

KWAS is so much better, it had the raw sound and passion.
Horizons sounds overproduced and generic.

charliecoolman
November 7th 2007


23 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

favourite band i fuckin love them. kwas was less commercial. but i still highly rate horizons. theyre still the best metalcore band in my opinion, havent heard anything better yet.

SylentEcho
November 7th 2007


1573 Comments


I liked their previous one better, btw I didnt know they were Australian. :o

rasputin
November 7th 2007


14550 Comments


SylentEcho, yeah they are, from Sydney.

favourite band i ****in love them. kwas was less commercial. but i still highly rate horizons. theyre still the best metalcore band in my opinion, havent heard anything better yet

Killing With a Smile was no less commercial than Horizons is, both of them are absolutely commercial. The only reason you think KWAS wasn't is becuase Parkway Drive wern't as popular then as they are now. And giving this album a 5 is a joke.
This Message Edited On 11.07.07

botb
November 7th 2007


9718 Comments


he said it was his favorite band. give him a break. this is a strong release from a great band imho.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
November 8th 2007


2125 Comments


SylentEcho, yeah they are, from Sydney.


No they're not, they're from Byron Bay.

rasputin
November 8th 2007


14550 Comments


umm, Byron Bay is in NSW, so I just said Sydney because anyone not from Australia would have no idea where NSW was.

iyae
November 8th 2007


54 Comments


good review. i think im gonna check this out. THEN ill check their previous release. by the sounds of it thats probably the way to go
This Message Edited On 11.08.07

i am the robots
November 8th 2007


1027 Comments


This band is very boring, imo. Their singer sucks at spoken word.

iyae
November 8th 2007


54 Comments


but didnt you hate divine heresy? i loved bleed the fifth. so maybe our tastes differ slightly.

rasputin
November 8th 2007


14550 Comments


robots: yeah, I hate his spoken word too. His growls are decent enough though.

iyae
November 10th 2007


54 Comments


i quite like this album. though its not exactly original or anything, at least itll openup ground for more bands like this from australia

ReDIcE
December 5th 2007


95 Comments


I like the cover art :D Otherwise, my anticipations failed me. After loving KWAS, I was looking forward to this, but nothing was surprisingly new.



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