After a split with I Killed The Prom Queen, support slots for Chimaera and In Flames, an EP of their own, sold out live shows and more hype than any other Australian hardcore band has ever had, Parkway Drive release their debut full length. Featuring production from Adam Dutkiewicz of Killswitch Engage, as well as landing themselves a spot on the ARIA charts, Parkway Drive are already making it in the mainstream hardcore scene.
Winston McCall - Vocals
Luke Kilpatrick - Guitars
Jeff Ling - Guitars
Ben Gordon - Drums
Shaun Cash - Bass
Parkway Drive bring their own brand of hardcore onto the scene with Killing With A Smile
. With ripping guitar work, vicious screams and growls and a sound that is unashamedly Australian, Parkway Drive are not only making waves in their home country, but also overseas. Most people who think of Byron Bay think of hippies and bead shops. Underneath all of the tourist attractions, however, is a flourishing hardcore scene. At the forefront is Parkway Drive, one of the most powerful bands in Australian hardcore. While they aren't doing anything incredibly new, their sound has a unique flavour. Breakdowns appear on almost every song, some of them being great, others being standard metalcore fare. Their EP, Don't Close Your Eyes
was fast, brutal and punishing. On Killing With A Smile
, Parkway Drive take it further with songs like "Blackout" showing a new, much more deathy sound, while the breakdown in "Picture Perfect, Pathetic" is an extremely heavy moment, even for a band such as this. The album breakdowns have quite a few catchy moments and there are even a couple of softer points throughout. The album truly stands out during it's more melodic points, noticibly influenced by European melodic death metal acts such as Soilwork. Leading the way for an international breakout of Australian hardcore, Parkway Drive's debut is a very worthwhile album.
Musically, Parkway Drive are as good as they come for Australian hardcore. Lyrically, it's obvious that they still have a way to go. Although there are some great one liners throughout the album, the overuse of a certain four letter word, as well as some just downright crap lines ("cry me a fuc
kin river, bit
ch") detract from the album. Although the lyrics are generally sub par, the vocal performance is excellent. Possessing a range and versatility that many hardcore vocalists don't have, McCall is brilliant as both a frontman and a vocalist for Parkway Drive. While the intensity of a live Parkway Drive show is hard to duplicate on record, Dutkiewicz does a great job of bringing out McCall's vocals. The production overall is thick and chunky. Though Killing With A Smile
is being sensibly marketed with the fact that Dutkiewicz did produce it, the production is actually nothing special at all. Though not particularly good, it certainly isn't bad and it does get the right mix of instruments (though the drums could perhaps be a bit louder). The drumming is, indeed, a great part of the album. Ben Gordon has certianly found an excellent style, which fits the music of Parkway Drive perfectly. Guitar wise, the two guitarists manage to pull out some ripping solos which allow them to show off their ability without being detrimental to actual songs.
The album includes some good soft moments, most notably at the end of "Romance Is Dead" and at the beginning of "It's Hard To Speak Without A Tounge". These soft parts are something that the band are good at and should be taking far more advantage of. Fan favourite "Smoke 'Em If Ya Got 'Em" puts the band's live intensity on display. As "Smoke 'Em If Ya Got 'Em" was a highlight of their last EP, Parkway Drive have added some better production and sounds to the track. Along with opener "Gimme A D", "Smoke 'Em If Ya Got 'Em" sums up everything that Parkway Drive are about, crushing riffs, heavy breakdowns, melodic guitar parts, technical drumming and emotional intensity all feature in these two songs (both of which are avaliable for listening on the band's myspace). The emotional lead and riff at the end of "Smoke 'Em If Ya Got 'Em" is particularly amazing. All in all, Killing With A Smile
is a great effort from Parkway Drive. To realise that the band have come to this from nothing in just two years is astounding. Aside from some minor issues which will hopefully be fixed up on later releases, Parkway Drive have an extremely bright future ahead of them. If you live in Australia, make sure you catch them live either on their headlining tour, or their tour with Every Time I Die.
Great guitar riffs and solos
Some really beautiful and emotionally intense parts
An all around kickass album
Some shoddy lyrics
Lacks variation at times
Breakdowns are overdone and are all pretty similar
[url=www.parkwaydriverock.com]Parkway Drive's Official Website[/url]
[url=www.myspace.com/parkwaydrive]Parkway Drive at Myspace[/url]
FINAL RATING: 3.5/5