[Review] Parkway Drive – Atlas – At Their Finest Hour!

Parkway Drive - Atlas Cover

I’ve been following Parkway Drive since their Horizons album. I had found them through KillrBuckEye who does guitar covers. (that guy is pretty wicked, check him out.) From the first time I heard Five Months, one of their tracks off Horizons, I’ve been hooked on their music. Their interesting blend of metal, metalcore and a bunch of others you can hear, but aren’t sure what it is, has truly been quite a pleasure for the ears. Late in 2012, Parkway Drive released their forth full length album, Atlas. The album has since been received well by their fans and many critics alike.

Parkway Drive is an Australian metalcore band from Byron Bay, New South Wales, formed in 2002. As of 2012, Parkway Drive has released four full-length albums, Killing with a Smile, Horizons, Deep Blue, and Atlas, two DVDs, an EP, entitled Don’t Close Your Eyes and two split albums.

I had been egarly await Atlas, since their previous offering, Deep Blue, which was in fact an amazing album, filled with riviting breakdowns, spine chilling guitar solos unlike traditional solos and raw unmatched vocals. Parkway Drive has been masterful since their early days coming out of Byron Bay in Australia.

Parkway Drive - Photo #4This time around the band took a similar approach to this album as they did before, with Horizons and Deep Blue. Infact this time around one can aruge that Atlas is alot heavier than their previous album. At times I feel like this isn’t true, but that doesn’t deter it from being an enjoyable experience. While their songs follow a traditional song structure, it is quite easy to get lost in them, negating the traditional song structure. However, at times they simply just throw this sturcture out the window and go with whatever feels right.

Parkway Drive - Photo #2Previously, Parkway Drive had stated that they had alot of punk influence, which while listening to many solos and melodies throughout this album you can hear that influence. Maybe not as much as previously, but it still nice to know that Parkway Drive hasn’t changed who they are since their signing to Epitaph Records. The band also included scattered use of orchestras as well as scattered use of electronic elements and their signature acoustic riff throughout the album.

Now on to the actual band itself. On vocals, we have Winston McCall, who again develivers right on the money. In fact I would argue his vocals have gotten even better than before. This time around Winston McCall hit lower register with more melody giving an already melodicĀ  song even more melody and even more of a raw feel to it. In songs such as “Dark Days”, the first release off the Atlas album, his vocals are spot on, and really accents the raw sounds of the guitars. In addition, “The River”, another song off Atlas, shows off Winston’s more lighter heavy vocals, giving the song a stronger, more emotional atmosphere, something that has become well-known in each album. For Horzions, it was “Carrion”, for Deep Blue, it was “Home is For The Heartless” and this time around “The River”. Songs such as “Sleight Of Hand” and “Dream Run” create a much more driving metal vocal feeling which is quite well received if you asked me.

Parkway Drive - Screenshot

For the lyrical aspect, its no secret that Parkway Drive has had some impressive lyrics over the years, dealing with everything from Heartbreak to war to things truely unknown. This time around Parkway Drive tackles issues such as the destruction of the environment to the World’s problems, everything from dealing with age to how society wants you to perceive something as well as corporations who lie and such. As with all Parkway Drive’s lyrics, its quite an earful if your willing to listen.

Parkway Drive - Live Performance #1

Jeff Ling, Luke Kilpatrick and Jia O’Connor are the bands guitarists and bassist. The rawness of the tones of the guitar was brilliantly done in addition to their little runs of scales throughout each song. The solos where incredible, the riffs where hardcore and it all blended perfectly. Again songs like “Sleight Of Hand”, “Dream Run” and “Wild Eyes” feature some of the heaviest riffs in the whole album though “Dream Run” is more melodic and driving than a hardcore riff. The guitarist where able to create an atmosphere that brought out a great sense of emotion, even without the use of vocals. This is evident in songs such as “The Slow Surrender” and “The River”. Overall the guitarist did one hell of a job on this album and there isn’t much else I can say. Once you listen to the album and you’ll know what I am talking about.

Ben Gordon’s attack of drums was pretty wicked. In addition to the scattered use of electronic drums here and there for additional effect, the drums were hardcore and quite amazing. Everything was fitted perfectly with all of the elements that the band used. It was all a perfect sequence of drumming on Ben’s part. I must say it all added a truly hardcore atmosphere for the entire album, even when the song was slower filled with acoustic guitars and ochestras, Ben Gordon’s drums still mange to create something that was still driving and something you would rock out to.

Overall this album was incredible, and if you’re a Parkway Drive fan this is a must have. If you’re not, fear not, you won’t be disappointed. There wasn’t a really let down of a track in this album, each song you can rock out to and really feel what the band is trying to portray. This is an album you should check out.

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