Review: Parkway Drive – Ire
It’s always interesting to see what Parkway Drive have up their sleeves with each new album. While they’ve never attempted a complete genre-flip in the same way some of their peers have, they’ve proved over the course of their last three records that they’re far from opposed to thinking outside the box. Metalcore has split in many directions since its Swedish death metal origins, but rather than scramble to keep up with the digitalisation arms race or the nu metal revival, Parkway have simply slowed things down a touch, upped the riff factor and played to their strengths by catering to the needs of their gargantuan live show.
“Destroyer” offers an ample taste of the prominent stadium rock influence heard throughout the album, and though single “Vice Grip” proved too much of a departure for some fans, with more listens it becomes pretty hard to dislike and should get all but the most cynical fan singing along to its guilty-pleasure of a chorus. The Rage Against The Machine influence that fans began to predict in the wake of Parkway’s live cover of “Bulls On Parade” becomes momentarily evident in “Crushed”, a pounding mosh track with a Gregorian chant intro that somehow finds itself in a scratchy Tom Morello-esque guitar groove – it’s truly impressive to see how smoothly the band have amalgamated the new elements of their musical arsenal.
On the other end of their musical spectrum, “Bottom Feeder” and “Dying To Believe” are the kind of tracks that likely would have been chosen as singles on one of their previous two albums – the former is stacked with harmonised tremolo leads and packs a pounding verse, while the latter is safe in its appeal to their long-time fanbase with relentless double-time riffing as well as one of the best breakdown setups on the whole record, with Winston McCall’s vocals taking on a Slipknot-esque rapid-fire approach as the track builds to its climax. Surprisingly, these older metalcore tropes actually feel like a breath of fresh air in the context of the album rather than a crutch or a compositional staple, and herein lies the album’s strength; Ire demonstrates a significant shift in direction but does not attempt to distance itself from the band’s roots, instead tastefully scattering them throughout almost every track to varying degrees and tying the whole thing together with tight song structures and undeniably monstrous vocal delivery.