I have had this review on the back burner for some time now. So with the release of Ire (Deluxe Edition) last Friday its time to revisit Parkway Drive‘s most diverse and brilliant album to date.
Parkway Drive have always been had their place in my collection, with their music being so simple yet so enjoyable to listen to. They are essentially a metal band for hardcore kids or a hardcore band for metalheads depending on your outlook. Ire does not disappoint but it is by far the most out there Parkway Drive material taking influences from an entire history of metal and hardcore.
Ire opens with a melodic riff that sounds more like a hats off to classical style of metal. It’s a classic metal riff amiss an aggressive bridge and breakdown. The riff would fit at home in an 80s metal bands back catalogue for sure. However it is still damn catchy and sets the album up to smash the boundaries of metalcore for good. The guitar work of Luke “Pig” Kilpatrick and Jeffrey Ling has raised the bar to the max. Dying To Believe is nearly as heavy as a death metal song with its rhythmical galloping verse, yet drags listeners kicking and screaming into the halftime mosh ready chorus. There is nu-metal influences all over the shop with songs like Crushed and Dedicated oozing Rage Against The Machine. The aggressive nature of the album lets bass player Jia “Pie” O’Connor and drummer Benjamin Gordon build up the tension with head bopping verses before the anger packed choruses. Vocalist Winston McCall has taken up to writing more revolt inspiring lyrics, showing anger is the right response to the state of modern society. Writings On The Wall evokes the sounds of King 810 and even early hardcore punk bands with its spoken word structure and marching drum beat.
However the album is still packed with plenty of Parkway so it doesn’t just sound like a tribute album. Vice Grip has that oh so sweet Parkway style. Its sweeping melodic riffs and chanting chorus harks back to songs such as Dark Days and Carrion whilst maintaining the tempered bounce of the new sound. Breakdowns are back in a big way. More head banging and arm flailing is always a bonus. Though there is more focus on band synchronization with intricate chugs matching jumping drum beats than simple palm muted opens. These songs hammer home that the band is evolving but isn’t doing it for more radio play or selling out but to give fans a new view in which to listen to their music.
If I had done a top 10 albums of 2015 Ire would have been close to the top, if not number one. It is an example of how removing the shackles of a ten year career doesn’t have to alienate your fans whilst pulling in new ones. Parkway Drive have produced a perfect album. 10/10. 5 stars. 100%. It is so worth a purchase for fans of any form of heavy music.