Review Summary: Buy it today, then buy your friend a copy and support an amazing band of five unimaginably giften musicians. Eight out of Five- no more needs be said.
Admittedly, this album may rub some of the "hardcore kids" the wrong way, but if you have even a semblance of an understanding of this genre you cannot deny its force. Let us deconstruct it as a whole. Lyrically it blow all of its predecessors out of the water. However, it goes significantly beyond retrospectively surpassing all of Parkway Drive's former albums. "Atlas" has something to say that was at best only superficially present in "Killing with a Smile," "Horizons," and "Deep Blue." Not only does this album deal with a markedly more mature side of Winston, the primary lyricist, it viscerally deals with a deeper and much more profound side of the band as a whole. Gone are the base lyrical constructions of albums past, here we see a much more rounded, human side of the band. Seamlessly we are transported from the most personal, intimate lyrics of "Sparks" to the universal, almost all encompassing lyrics of "Dark Days." Even more exciting and revealing is that the rest of the lyrics show a side of the band's ability to to craft what this listener can only call rich, evocative words. Nevertheless, "Atlas" consists of more than just Winston's lyrics.
Parkway Drive show a wonderfully progressive and evolutionary side of their overall musical composition, while remaining true to form and their perviously established sound. Each song follows the standard "Metalcore" genre while at the same time departing from it in a new and unique manner. The best comparison to the musical chops of "Atlas" is As I lay Dying's new CD "Awakened," which itself is quite the standout. However, that CD lacks the passion, or maybe inspiration of "Atlas." Every aspect of this CD if fresh, new, and somehow extremely familiar all at the same time. Rather than returning to the same tired, boring formula of old, the Australians have discarded or clearly have improved upon. Each one of the songs of this album brings a piece of palpably deep and rewarding musical genius. For a band that does little more than ridicule itself at every turn in interviews this quintet shows an astounding sense of humility in light of what they continue to create.
"Atlas" represents the pinacle of the genre and at its weakest demonstrates what all other "Metalcore" bands could only wish to aspire to. From "Sparks" to "Snake Oil and Holy Water" it gives fans of the genre a forceful, powerful record that can easily be digested for years. If you find yourself even remotely interested in PWD or "Metalcore" as a whole do yourself a big favor and give this record a listen. Go through it once, and sit on it, give it a day, and really digest it. "Atlas" is like a spicy meatball, it takes more than one bite to understand what exactly one is eating, but every moment yields wonderful rewards. In summation, this record is nothing short of wonderful, powerful, rich, deep, and fantastic. If you miss it, you have done yourself a disservice. It is a classic, and should remain so in a genre full of generic, derivative, boring, copy-cat artists. If you enjoy heavy, melodic, and overall excellent music you have already wasted a significant amount of your time wading through this pool of pedantic gibberish. Buy it today, then buy your friend a copy and support an amazing band of five unimaginably giften musicians. Eight out of Five- no more needs be said.