For Fans Of
The time, has undoubtedly arrived. Zeus and Hades stare foe to foe in the pearl of one anothers’ eye. Julia Gillard does not say ‘sorry’ but instead, cries for ‘horns up’. The vuvuzelas allow the world to breathe once again and pause their irritatingly undying tirade of ‘national identity’. Every Xbox, bucket of corpse paint, footy ball, webcam for youtube guitar/bass/drum/’vocal’ covers, fanny pack, boogie board and hair straightener of the closet emo is hung up, locked away and turned off for this momentous occasion. Two years since the release of the colossal ‘Horizons’ and four since the drop of their debut, ‘Killing With A Smile’, nation-wide heroes Parkway Drive have returned in the hope of stirring every jock/emo/nerd/goth/surfie/neo-punk fan alike with their third full-length to date, ‘Deep Blue’. Delivering thirteen tracks of sheer monstrosity, these surf rats not only attest to their label as Australia’s most successful heavy export, but exceed this to declare their throne amongst the global kings of metal today.
Following the huge success of their previous releases – featuring an onslaught of crushing riffs, demonic vocals and melodic serenades – every fan was left wondering how the five-piece would separate their third instalment. Parkway Drive answered, with breakdowns. Propelling their status from Byron Bay warriors to international emperors of the heavy, the group have maintained their trademarked fast and metallic sound, and further, addressed the call of the down-tune to embellish this with a central focus on the punishing chug. Whilst an overall heavier album, what we have here is nothing inherently different, but moreso an extension of the heavy style they’ve foregrounded in the past. Immediately, the album’s centrality of the heavy is cemented in the intro, ‘Samsara’; the fine-tunings and atmospheric decorations of producer Joe Barresi (Queens of the Stone Age, Bad Religion, Pennywise) heightening this from simple living-room mosh-antics to stadium massacres. Moreover, 0:41 of ‘Unrest’. That is all.
What’s hoisted this release from simply another metal score, and undeniably elevated the sheer ferociousness of this CD are the vocals of Winston McCall. Each release we’ve seen a general progression: pretty heavy, heavy, heavier. This is just barbaric. “Satan with bees and wasps and fucking giant ogres in his mouth.” “Death. Times infinity.” “Like yelling through a million ‘mosh’ pedals but not actually.” ** In all seriousness, it is only the first few seconds of ‘Pressures’ – where vocals are the definitive aspect of the piece – and ‘Karma’, to realise what four years of relentless touring worldwide has done to this man’s vocals; developing it to be one of the most deathly voices in the industry today. With vocals in mind, ‘Deep Blue’ sees a new addition of clean singing with Brett Gurewitz of Bad Religion playing his part in “Home is for the Heartless”. The anthem-like chants of “Whoa, Whoa” see a huge contrast to the unforgiving approach of ‘Killing With A Smile’, where their aggressive attitude had no room for heavy metal ballads and group sing-alongs. Love it or hate it, it unquestionably ingrains their position as a stadium band throughout the world today.
Previous albums have showcased the group’s ability to compose full-lengths with every track holding the potential to be a single. ‘Deep Blue’ is a metal album. ‘Deep Blue’ is also a very long album. Whilst possibly their heaviest to date, with tracks such as “Alone” and “Deadweight” highlighting their increasing lean towards mainstream metallic tendencies, there’s a feeling that maybe thirteen tracks was an overshot. At certain points throughout, particular riffs and various chord progressions seem re-used, and somewhat stale. There is a re-working of ‘Don’t Close Your Eyes’, ‘Hollow Man’ (now titled ‘Hollow’) that, whilst is hard as hell with its heavier spin and incorporation of Marshall Lichtenwaldt of The Warriors on vocal duties, just does not surpass the original feel championed in their debut EP. Essentially, though supreme in its structure and evidently superbly thought out, maybe ‘Deep Blue’ as a ten-track could have encased the juice they conjured and better preserved the impact they sought to achieve through this release.
** May or may not have made up those quotes.
Parkway Drive rebounded a third time to confirm that they are the country’s premiere heavy export and one of the most sought after groups of our century. Whilst possibly better in ten, ‘Deep Blue’ hammers thirteen arrangements of crushing breakdowns, fast metallic riffs, metal ballad choruses and pummelling drumwork to declare their third instalment to be their most heaviest to date. As tracks such as ‘Unrest’ and ‘Karma’ maintain their traditional metalcore identity, the duo-guitar onslaught of ‘Wreckage’ and ‘Deliver Me’ cements their status as a stadium-touring band throughout the world. It was unofficially the nation’s release of 2010 before it was released, and for fans and newcomers everywhere, Australia’s kings of heavy have delivered a trophy sufficient in keeping arenas packed out and growing for the years to come.
8. Deliver Me
10. Home Is for the Heartless (ft. Brett Gurewitz of Bad Religion)
11. Hollow (ft. Marshall Lichtenwaldt of The Warriors)
12. Leviathan I
13. Set to Destroy