Friday, 16 November 2012

Parkway Drive - Atlas (2012)

After a few days of quiet writing, we have Aaron's review of Parkway Drive's latest, the simply titled "Atlas". But first, as a big Suicide Silence fan, Aaron would like to leave his own personal message regarding Mitch Lucker's passing from this world.

Before I get started I’d like to offer my condolences to the friends and family of Mitch Lucker, the late vocalist of Suicide Silence. Mitch was cruelly taken from us at 28 when he lost his life in a tragic motorcycle accident. I’ve always been a huge fan of Suicide Silence and one of my greatest regrets was that I never had the privilege of seeing them live. His vocals were among the best in the business, with a screaming range that was particularly impressive and made Suicide Silence a standout band in their genre. The Metal community will forever remember and miss you and it breaks my heart that his daughter Kenadee will grow up without her Father. R.I.P Mitch.

And now without further ado, the main reason you're all here.

1. Sparks 2:18
2. Old Ghosts/New Regrets 2:50
3. Dream Run 4:09
4. Wild Eyes 4:19
5. Dark Days 4:05
6. The River 5:27
7. Swing 3:32
8. The Slow Surrender 4:14
9. Atlas 4:09
10. Sleight Of Hand 4:27
11. Snake Oil & Holy Water 2:49
12. Blue & The Grey 5:47
Total Time: 48:06

There must be a lot of pressure inherent in being among modern metalcore’s elite; expectations for Parkway Drive are sky high, especially after their sublime third offering Deep Blue in 2010, the album that gave them their big break and made it blindingly apparent that they were a force to be reckoned with.

This time around the band has taken their normally furious lyrics and infused them with a razor-sharp social commentary, painting a picture of the destruction of our world to come. This is a band that appears to have the weight of the world on their shoulders and is making it their mission to inform us that the fate of our planet is in our hands. Therefore there is no more fitting a title than simply “Atlas”.

Such a bleak, nihilistic vibe in terms of lyrical content is nothing new to Byron Bay’s finest, however this kind of fierce social consciousness is unusual territory for Winston McCall and co. This time around the band has taken an interesting new world weary direction lyrically on this album and I for one find it ironic that such a bleak album is so enjoyable to listen to. 
The eerie start on opener “Sparks” begins with acoustics and a peaceful chant like spoken lyric, then you are treated to Winston’s ever impressive growl halfway through the song and as usual, he delivers. Then on “Old Ghost/ New regrets” it’s back to business as usual with Parkway’s trademark rumble prevalent pelting you through a starkly bleak and heavy ditty. Songs like this “Wild Eyes” “Dark Days” and “The River” are trademark slabs of Parkway Drive’s brilliance which are packed with the superb Parkway style riffs which drive the songs and get pits going. 

However this is an album that is exceedingly adventurous, especially compared to old offerings. The acoustic guitar on “Sparks”, the pop-punk style chanting at the beginning of “Wild Eyes”, the clean female vocals on “The River” and the orchestral sections on the title track. I personally think these are brilliant additions and I’m pleased Parkway are trying new things, However these innovations will no doubt divide opinion amongst fans and may alienate some die hard fans. We may even hear the oh-so-cliché cries of “sell-outs” within the band’s fan base… which would be quite frankly ludicrous. This being said there are some little things that haven’t worked as well, for example the DJ scratching on “The Slow Surrender” is something which ruins a perfectly good lyric and just sounds unnecessary.

All things considered I’d say this was a bloody good album, which offers something new and intriguing for Parkway fans and critics alike and I’m certain this record will divide opinion. I strongly recommend this album as it is further cementation of Parkway’s place at the top of the Metalcore pile. Particular highlights for me are “Wild Eyes”, “Dark Days” and “The River”. This album gets the ParaReviews seal of approval.


Check this out if: you're a fan, or are new to metalcore/metal in general and want to see how they do it down under.

For fans of: Parkway Drive, Hatebreed, As I Lay Dying, August Burns Red
Atlas is out now on Epitaph Records
Atlas is streaming in full here

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