Review Summary: With an impressive debut- Parkway Drive continues to break through bigger Horizons6 of 6 thought this review was well writtenI
’ve always been intrigued by bands that didn’t come from the States. I myself have never been anywhere out of the country besides Canada (like that even counts) and always wondered how the music scene or any “scene” was to be different. Parkway Drive is a band from the outback which combined metal tones with hardcore crunch. You’ll find no Australian accents here or girly singing so step back if that’s what you’re looking for. Parkway Drive has the usual configuration of a 2 guitarists, a bassist, a drummer, and a vocalist which is the golden standard of the genre they fall into. Horizons
is the bands second effort LP and it comes in with a lot more of the same that fans of “Killing With A Smile” will find homage to. With this being said I found a sense of maturity within the record itself.A much more polished sound that was already fairly polished off
in their previous material. The brutal LOW screams of McCall make me think of Karl Schubach from Misery Signals. They present a hardcore feel with some killer lows. The album itself feels like it has an introduction, many verses, a climax, and an end. Unlike “Killing With a Smile” a lot of the songs consist of feeling and emotion through the tempo changes and even in the vocals. Don’t worry, because the straight up punches to the face are still in the music and everyone’s beloved use of breakdowns. Horizons
will turn it up and turn it upside down with a new approach within the band itself.
The album introduces itself with “Begin” which sounds like the prologue to the album. It features a nice soft ambient guitar lick and shuffling behind the drums. It really sets the mood off right and feels different from a band that was up in your face for all of the 30 minutes in the last album. “The Sirens’ Song” puts the listener through a frenzy of guitar rhythms and lead licks. It’s as hard and brutal as it’s ever been. The vocals are right up to par with a nice vary of group screams and “talked out” yells. Then through the chugging comes in the lowest audible screams I’ve heard in a while. The song keeps up a hyper tempo and really put the listener through a rollercoaster ride. Even during the interlude the bass line is more than audible to prepare for a breakdown which enters in with a mass of brutality and pinched harmonics. “Feed Them To The Pigs” is more of a circle pitting song where it starts off at a fast pace and feels like it’s spinning all around you. The song inevitably slows down for some fun crunches and then unloads. Let it even be known that a punk feeling of fast tempo is felt through the second wave of assault onto the listener. It will make you want to move with the double bass machine gunning away with the guitars moving fearlessly up and down their fret boards with licks.
“Carrion” is the real deal here though. It comes in with a guitar drowning with chorus and flange which probably could be carbon cut from an Incubus song but then a massive scream is unleashed. How I could listen to that guitar intro with the scream on loop for hours. It makes me feel like I’m on a ship sailing right into a storm. The song itself is just as technically sound as the previous songs. The chorus is really the hook with the bright sounding distorted guitar. It’s such a fresh sound in a genre that’s so concerned on chugging and tuning lower then slipknot. The balance comes in within the verses which are always presenting new hooks and variations. The vocals give off this epic feeling throughout the song packed and poised with so much emotion without any melody. “Five Months” is a song that feels like a mix of Misery Signals and Unearth. The guitar is the leader in this band without a doubt as the production notes it highly and it should be that way. The tremolo picked licks mixed with chicken picked palm mutes really give it up for the progress the band is displaying. As the breakdowns are more than evident, the little hooks and variations can make a sound engineer love his work. The vocals just sound haunting in this track. “The hours have become irritations” is a strong catch within the vocal mix which is group shrieked and screamed that is layered beautifully. With all the heaviness comes in a nice soft clean part. Don’t expect singing though which is a pleasant surprise with all the directions of these bands going these days. The clean part is a nice break of the action but singing/melody wasn’t needed. The solo provided a whirlwind of melody and power which comes in shortly after. “Boneyards” is the first single off of Horizons
and reminds me a lot of the bands previous track “Smoke ‘Em if You Got ‘Em”. It’s really heavy and dissonant. It presents the bands more listenable side with more chugging and breakdowns. It still has a few memorable licks but the breakdown in this song is colossal. Yes, I used colossal to describe a breakdown but when you listen to what sounds like B tuned guitars cranking away and then “THERES BLOOD IN THE WATER” I almost crapped myself the first time I listened to it.
In all honesty though the first time I heard that line I thought it was coming out as a burp.
“Idols and Anchors” is a track that will show off the bands maturity in song writing. The introduction itself shows off a more melodic side then the constant bruteness. Once again the punk like tempo is presented in places in the song that really create some grooving rhythms for the listener. An angelic sounding tap part comes in 2 minutes and really shows off a more technical side of the guitar. Continuing its trend I found variations and hooks a many. The last minute or so of the song really breaks the mold for me in the guitar work as it goes off on a tangent. “Moments of Oblivion” really gives off the feel of being on the arctic oceans on a pirate ship. I don’t know if I’m just a weirdo thinking this when I hear the licks but it really makes me feel that way. It must be the schizophrenic like timing changes and grooves that I fall into. While it can be fast and relentless it can also be slow and soothing. Being like this can really turn off old listeners who expect the brutality constantly all throughout. Horizon’s
is not that… “Breaking Point” is a song that really gives off a repetitive feel of all the other songs. It really doesn’t present anything new and follows through the same exact formula of the previous songs. Don’t get me wrong though if I could hear this album live all throughout I highly doubt I’d be bored. These songs feel like they would excel in a hostile live environment with all of the chugging and guitar heroisms.
“Dead Man’s Chest” is the sleeper song on this album. It shows off most of the old tricks the dog already did in “Killing With A Smile”.
It’s slow and heavy to start off and gets faster and then gets really slow and brutal. Fans of vibrato eat your heart out here. When you thought nothing was going to get lower and heavier then “Boneyards” breakdown, this song is right up there with it. I know a lot of people who holds the song even higher and is their favorite song by Parkway Drive. Not as much for me but it’s haunting and heavy in its own. The headbang is more than ever alive.
“Frostbite” is one of the only songs I really couldn’t get into on this album. I really didn’t enjoy its melodies and fast paced parts as much as the other songs. It really feels distant between the other songs for me and I can’t really grasp it. “Horizons” the title track really is a beautiful exclamation point that was given to us long before this last track. It’s got a power ballad type of feeling with the one acoustic guitar and heavily distorted guitar. It’s meant to be a soft song for a band who doesn’t know how to sing but quite frankly I don’t think it could have been executed any better.
The song begins to unload in its usual Parkway Drive fashion with the speed riffing and screaming and really doesn’t let down. I feel like the song unravels to what the album’s highest points was. You have the epic guitar solos, tapping, chugging, and melodic parts without the singing. When you listen to the last song you will be wanting more and wonder where this band will go off in their next outing.
Parkway Drive has come out swinging once again. The bass drops and chugging will probably annoy really technical metal heads but for people who enjoy a hardcore listen this is right up the alley. The vocals and lyrics mold tremendously into the music and wouldn’t be the same without it. Think of the August Burns Red vocals on steroids which really kicks in on the breakdowns where it’s almost like a growling burp but sounds excellent. Everyone should know by the now the basic formulas of the metalcore genre. It doesn’t really surprise people that the song construction is a “cool lead riff” that 12 year olds dream of playing, a chugga chugga, a chugga weewoo breakdown, and a repeat. This band might fall into the stereotype but there is more than enough emotion within their sound enough to be worth it. It’s no wonder that this band is always in the studio with Adam D of Killswitch Engage because a lot of the guitar playing is right up his alley. If you’re a Killswitch Engage or Adam D fan this is a MUST need. People who dig Misery Signals and wants to listen to Australia’s version of a more listener friendly Misery Signals will believe it’s a hit.
+ Guitar Work
+ In your face brutality
+ Can listen for fun anytime
Original Release Date: October 9, 2007
Produced By: Adam Dutkiewicz
Parkway Drive is:
Winston McCall – Vocals
Jeff Ling – Guitar
Luke Kilpatrick – Guitar
Ben Gordon – Drums
Jia O’Connor - Bass