Parkway Drive – ‘IRE’ (Album Review)

ire

‘Ire’ is the fifth album to be released by Australian metalcore band Parkway Drive. The 2012 release of ‘Atlas’ saw the band plateau producing a solid but all too familiar album with typical Parkway Drive sounding songs that were difficult to distinguish from each other. The band stuck to what they knew and didn’t take the risks that they have done with their newest album ‘Ire’. The album undoubtedly depicts the band’s progression since ‘Atlas’, moving away from their well established and trademark brutal breakdown metalcore sound to a more straightforward heavy metal/rock sound. ‘Ire’ is a potent and audacious reinvention and improvement of Parkway’s sound, something I think they really needed to achieve.

‘Destroyer’ is the impressive opening track on the album, a song which injects wrath and fury into your veins. The song builds with the pounding echo of drums, a gradually amplifying guitar riff and the potent repeated chants of “destroy…destroy…destroy” before erupting into a dynamic amalgamation of powerful ‘ire’ filled music. The track holds a distinctly unique sound, unexplored by the band within previous albums. It presents a culmination of  80s rock and metal, continuing their heavy sound whilst at the same time incorporating cleaner riffs/vocals, spoken-word sections creating a tantalising sound for Parkway fans.

‘Destroyer’ is followed by the vigorous ‘Dying To Believe’ which has a much rawer/heavier sound to it. We’re thrown head first into the track with the savage lyrics ‘like dragging nails through my skin’. The track is jam packed with blastbeats, rampant thundering drums and aggressive pulsating riffs. Parkway are reputed for their distinct breakdowns and angry lyrics shown here as McCall yells ‘How do you sleep at night?’ This is an outstanding and consistent track.

‘Fractures’ is one of the clearest examples of McCall’s impressive vocal range, from spoken word to gut wrenching growls. There’s a lot more variation and experimentation with different vocal styles on this album – it’s ambitious. Towards the end of the song they use a spoken word section accompanied by a clean toned electric guitar riff which creates a calm atmosphere before they plunge you back into the powerful fast paced chorus accompanied by catchy guitar/drum riffs. Certain riffs seem to replicate 80s style thrash metal grooves giving the music a completely unique sound.

‘A Deathless Song’ ends the album. It starts with a serene and intricate piece of guitar work before bursting into an enormous electric guitar riff. McCall’s new gruff vocals carry through the song. It blends together all of the new elements seen throughout other songs on the album. The clean melodic intro sounds similar to those seen at the beginning of songs on Atlas. Similarly, Writings on the Wall’ incorporates violins at the beginning of the song which is unheard of in Parkway Drive’s brutal discography. Then a slow and steady drum beat begins and accompanies McCall’s vocals making them like a chant. Using whispers and clean spoken word sections that still retain an aggressive quality is impressive and a dynamic new aspect of  ‘Ire’.

‘Writings on the Wall’ is one of the most unique songs on the entire album. Few guitar parts are used and McCall uses coarse spoken word throughout. A continuous pounding drum beats throughout and there are many piano parts.  There are distinct nu-metalesque and Rammstein influences appearing within the few guitar parts, making it the furthest they have strayed from the sound of their earlier albums. ‘Crushed’ begins sounding like a typical heavy Parkway song but turns into something much more creative, incorporating bold spoken word alongside an ominous sounding guitar riff which begins after the lyrics “we’ve been crushed by the fist of God”.

‘Ire’ succeeds in being brutal, however it’s much more dynamic and progressive as the band have taken risks by exploring new sounds and vocal techniques. It’s a solid and very commendable album overall. They have incorporated the violent riffs and angry lyrics typical of the genre and of Parkway Drive whilst at the same time being robust and experimental.

4/5

The band jumped from a plane to create their brilliant video for ‘Vice Grip’. This is a quintessential Parkway Drive song, it’s heavy, uses brutal vocals and has a brilliant, catchy fast paced guitar solo and drum riffs. You can watch it here:

 

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