I do need to preface this review by saying I love Parkway Drive. I think out of the current crop of metalcore bands dominating the scene that they are one of a handful of bands that is really at the top-tier and they are getting better with every release they put out.
Their previous album “Atlas” was amongst my albums of the year in 2012. It really felt like the culmination of everything they had been working towards with their previous albums “Horizons” and “Deep Blue” and was a very strong showing for a band that was firing on all creative cylinders. As such, it has been an agonising three year wait for the follow-up, but it is finally here and honestly I can say it is definitely not the album I was expecting as the follow-up to “Atlas” but that is definitely a good thing.
“Ire” is a record that takes the rule book, tears it in half then sets it on fire using the flames to burn down the entire scene. That is not hyperbole, that is an indication of how strong this album is. This is Parkway Drive like you have never heard them before. You want classic metal sounding anthems? Ok, well ‘Destroyer’ and ‘Vice Grip’ have got you covered. Both songs have a strength in simplicity and will no doubt be live staples for a long while to come.
‘Dying to Believe’ is so outrageously heavy that I literally felt like Winston McCall had climbed out of my speaker and screamed directly into my face the first time I heard it, it’s a straight up heavy metal beast that wouldn’t sound out-of-place on a Killswitch Engage or Lamb of God record. ‘Crushed’ is another song that is stupidly heavy featuring monk like chanting, partially rapped vocals and lyrics about being crushed by the fists of god, it’s basically a four minute musical equivalent of the apocalypse.
The album pulls out its wild card about half way through, with ‘Writing on the wall’ featuring strings, and what is essentially a series of stomps and claps as far as instrumentation goes. Vocally it’s Winston‘s most menacing and sinister performance of his career. It’s definitely a step into uncharted territory for Parkway Drive and sounds very much like Tom Waits jamming with King 810, and their song ‘Talk about us,’ while Nick Cave takes notes in the corner.
‘Bottom Feeder’ and ‘The Sound of Violence’ are perhaps the most Parkway Drive sounding songs on the album and will ultimately be the songs that the die-hard fans are most drawn to, especially ‘Bottom Feeder’ which is classic Parkway through and through.
The final track on the album ‘A Deathless Song’ is quite something, again it’s something a little outside of the Parkway Drive comfort zone that again demonstrates how far the band has set their sights with “Ire” and helps the album to leave s lasting impression on the listener as its final strains fade out.
“Ire” is perhaps the most mature and thought-provoking album that Parkway Drive have ever released, full of wide-eyed ambition and the kind of reckless abandon that you would expect from a band with their level of artistic integrity. They are a band that is not content to rest on their laurels and this is another knockout blow that shows Parkway are currently without equal, a band that is setting the pace and playing by their own rules, waiting for an entire scene to play catch up.