Album: “Ire” Band:Parkway Drive Location: Byron Bay, NSW, Australia Date of Release: 25/09/15 Genre: Metalcore Reviewer: 420 Glazed
I’m starting this review off with a question. This is a question that has been burning in the back of everyone’s mind ever since Vice Grip was released and surprised us all with it’s almost Bon Jovi-esque dad rock riffs and sing along style vocals. This is a question that has been scaring me for the past 2 months as arguably the biggest Parkway Drive fan at IPHYB. The question is; “Is Ire a Parkway Drive record?” The answer to this question is complicated. The clearest answer I can give you is “Technically, yes, but not really. (I’ll be elaborating on this a little later in the review)”. This is the most far removed record they could possibly have made short of making a gangsta rap album and renaming the band ‘Thugzz from B-Bizzle’. BUT (and this is a big ‘but’) does this mean that this is a bad album?
God. Fuck. No.
I am likely putting my neck out here throughout this review because I am about to explain to you why this may very well be Parkway Drive’s best record to date. Keep in mind while I am writing this review that I have a reputation at IPHYB for being a pleb when it comes to music taste. To put this into perspective, Horizons is my least favourite Parkway Drive album. This is the person that you are dealing with throughout this review. So before you get onto the comments section going ‘LOL U FUKN DUMKHUNT’ please keep in mind that I understand. But can you blame me? This album is fucking amazing.
Let’s just go from the start where we are introduced to Ire by opening track ‘Destroyer’. Anyone who hadn’t heard any of the other pre-released tracks after Vice Grip would not be blamed for thinking that Parkway Drive had gone full dad rock with the main riff of this song, but goddamn is this one hell of a catchy track. Opening with the thundering gang chants of ‘Destroy!’ guitarist Jeff Ling wastes no time in tearing out some of the most 80’s glam inspired riffs I have heard in my life. And then I hear it; Winston Mccall’s raw punishing growls. Maybe it’s because I’m a pleb, maybe it’s because this is my favourite band, but hearing Winston’s voice on this song made me realise something; This. Is. Parkway. It doesn’t matter that they have clearly got some crazy influences going on here, it doesn’t matter if this sounds nothing like what we have come to expect from them in the past, this is going to be a Parkway Drive record.
That’s not to say that this album is completely devoid of anything classic Parkway. Straight after ‘Destroyer’ we are offered the much more ‘Parkway’ sounding ‘Dying To Believe’. If you were a fan of KWAS and Horizons, this song is for you. The fast drums beats, the string-skipping riffs, the tapping solos, it’s all there. I can almost guarantee that this song, ‘The Sound Of Violence’ and ‘Bottom Feeder’ are all going to be praised by fans of the previous albums. All these songs feature what people have come to expect from a Parkway Drive release. These are far from bad songs however, Bottom Feeder in particular I find to be a total banger of a track, reminiscent of ‘Wild Eyes’ (and goddamn do I love that ‘FUCK!’ followed by a mic drop at the end).
With that said, I want to focus on the unique aspects of this album. From the 80’s inspired guitar lines in songs like ‘Vicious’, the thrash metal groove of songs like ‘Fractures’, the ambience of tracks like ‘A Deathless Song’. Perhaps the most unique feature of this album, in my opinion, is Mccall’s vast range of vocal techniques and ideas. No previous albums have had anywhere near as much variation in the vocal sound as on this album. Most notably, the Tom Waits style spoken word track ‘Writings On The Wall’. His deep, gravely baritone will no doubt have you chanting ‘Put you hands up! Put your hands up!’ at the top of your lungs.
One thing in particular that has also begun to stand out to me is the severe lack of breakdowns. This album is very much leaning towards the metal side of the spectrum of metalcore. This, in my opinion is a welcome change, since way too many chumps these days need to learn how to write a good metalcore song without a fucking breakdown. You wanna learn that shit? This album is how you fucking do it. Sure there’s enough parts for all the scrubs to spin their arms around to, but this album is about the songwriting, the form and of course, tasty, tasty riffs.
Whilst on the topic of riffs, it has also become apparent to me that most of the guitar leads feature only one guitar with a lot less harmony lines than in previous albums. This is in no way a complaint from me as guitarist Luke Kilpatrick has taken this chance to really lock in the groove with the bass guitar and the kit. This album has some of the tightest rhythms that I have heard in any metalcore album and it’s because they made the effort to actually use a rhythm guitar as a rhythmic device rather than just a second lead. Listen to the groove in ‘Fractures’ and you’ll see what I mean.
Now, as with any album, Ire is in no way without flaws. The most glaringly obvious being the FUCKING DRUM MIX! SERIOUSLY, WHO’s FUCKING IDEA WAS IT TO HAVE A SNARE THAT SOUNDS LIKE BON JOVI IN 8-BIT?! WHO’S IDEA WAS IT TO PUT THE CYMBALS SO FAR BACK IN THE MIX YOU CAN’T EVEN TELL THEY’RE THERE HALF THE TIME?! Well, you win points with the bass drum sound, shit’s tight, BUT YOU STILL FUCKED UP!
But all in all, a mediocre sounding kit is not enough to take away from the fact that this album is quite frankly nothing short of a metalcore masterpiece. The songs are some of the best that Parkway have written in their career, from the vocals and lyrics to the rhythmic devices and new ideas displayed throughout. I tried as hard as I could to make this a funny review and add as many jokes as possible, but when you have an album that’s this good, there isn’t much else you can say but “God. Fucking. Damn.” Maybe I’m biased because this is my favourite band, maybe this opinion will change in a few weeks, but right now, all I can think is ‘Parkway Drive are fucking back.’
I Probably Hate Your Band is a shitty website full of asshole writers. We do nothing but destroy the hopes and dreams of young bands, and have never offered a single positive thing to the world. /Sarcasm
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