Sound: The DVD from Parkway Drive is a documentary detailing the Australian metalcore band's rise to fame. Along with the documentary comes a professional recording of the band's entire performance at The Roundhouse in Sydney, Australia on the Sweat Fest Tour 2008.
The sound quality is pretty good, everything is very well balanced and audible. Winston's vocals sound pretty different live, though. Whereas on record they're very dry and hollow (which is great in my opinion), his vocals are very throaty and thick on the DVD, almost gurgly.
The playing during the live set has it's ups and downs, though. In the beginning of the set, Winston's vocals sound great, but the rest of the band seems to have a bit of trouble keeping time with each other (which is painfully obvious during some of the early breakdowns).
As the set goes on, however everything seems to reach a state of equilibrium. The vocals keep going strong, and the band is in the groove and running like a well oiled machine. Timing improves greatly. Winston's voice does begin to falter towards the end of the setlist, but with his vocal style, that is expected. // 8
Content: This is the kind of DVD that you watch and think, "I wish my life was this awesome". Even before the documentary focuses on music, you're jealous. The band members all grew up together in Byron Bay, Australia, which by the looks of it, is it's own kind of paradise. Countless shenanigans (some of which we've all done in our lives, and some of which we've all wanted to do) have been caught on film.
Foolish acts of questionable intelligence aside, this DVD covers everything. And I mean everything. From humble beginnings playing in tiny venues to headlining huge festivals, it seems like the guys in Parkway Drive always had a video camera running.
It really is inspiring to see some of the things the band had to go through in order to get where they are today. Some people dismiss metalcore as a talentless trend where labels scramble to sign any band they can in order to bring in a profit.
Well, if that is your opinion, try watching this DVD. I can't guarantee a complete perspective change, but what I can say is that after watching this DVD, you'll have a bit more respect for one of the genre's most popular acts. I won't go into too much detail, but imagine this: You're touring across a continent with hardly any fans and hardly any cash, and you have nowhere to stay because you have no money. You don't even have proper gigs arranged so you have no idea where you're supposed to be going. You're literally sleeping on the ground every night, in abandoned fields, on beaches, wherever. Your vocalist gets sick, your bassist leaves the band, and you're stuck. Tensions rise, and everyone is sick, tired, and hungry. What do you do?
Most of us would call it quits and return home in the face of such odds, but not Parkway Drive. It's their spirit and dedication that makes this DVD so worth watching. When they didn't have proper gigs to play, they had to fill in on bills where the opening act had dropped. When their vocalist got sick, their merch guy (who was horrible, by the way) filled in. And when their bassist left the band, and returned home to Australia leaving the rest of the guys stranded in Europe, the boys in PWD flew out their only other friend, who they weren't even sure could play bass, and continued playing shows.
Eventually, as The DVD shows, their hard work pays off. Adam D. of Killswitch Engage eventually catches wind of Parkway Drive and decides to produce their debut album, and Parkway Drive eventually catapults into international fame. The rest, as they say, is history. Well documented history which is great material for a DVD, of course.
The actual live show on The DVD is stunning as well. Parkway Drive command the crowd with such power it's amazing. The fan's dedication lasts throughout the entire show as well, as the crowd never stops moving, moshing, dancing, or headbanging. The great thing about this DVD is that it places a lot of emphasis on the crowd responding to the band, which is something that the lack of which can really bring down other DVDs (such as Between the Buried and Me's COLORS_LIVE DVD).
The tracklist is as follows:
02. Gimme a D
03. Idols And Anchors
05. Guns For Show, Knives For A Pro
06. The Siren's Song
08. Feed Them To The Pigs
09. Dead Man's Chest
10. Smoke 'Em If You've Got 'Em
11. Romance Is Dead
Pretty balanced setlist, although I personally think the inclusion of Dead Man's Chest is redundant if Mutiny is already on there. Those are the only two songs in their catalogue that don't sound like the rest of their songs, but somehow they sound completely identical. Anasasis (Xenophinitis) would have been a better choice in my opinion.
There are some extra features like bonus interviews and whatnot, but you'll have to get The DVD yourself to find out. // 10
Production Quality: The production is clean and very well done, sound quality is great, videos are well edited, etc. Not much to say here. It's very well put together.
One thing that I thought was very interesting, though, was the inclusion of the helmet cam during the live set. This guy was crazy, but he was essential in capturing the audience up close. He was crowd surfing, moshing, stage diving, whatever. Breakdowns were his specialty. During Boneyards he did somewhat of a stage dive, although it was more of a "run off of the stage and step on everyone's heads", similar to what the frontman for The Number 12 Looks Like You used to do. His crown achievement, however, was during the encore. In one of the breakdowns to Romance is Dead, he is shown standing atop a huge stack of what appears to be speakers. And I mean huge. This guy must be at least 20-30 feet in the air. And what does he do? He flips. Into the crowd. It's cool seeing that from the helmet cam's perspective. // 9
Overall Impression: Overall, this is a great DVD. In order to accurately sum this up, I'd have to say it's a cross between This Is Who We Are from As I Lay Dying and Majesty from The Black Dahlia Murder. It takes the best qualities out of each of those DVDs (great direction and lots of laughs) and combines them into one memorable package.
No matter how impressive some things on this documentary are, I don't think it's as impressive as seeing Michael Crafter (from I Killed the Prom Queen) saying something nice for once. That blew me away. If Crafter approves of something, that's a sign. More specifically, it's a sign that you need to do yourself a favor and watch this DVD. Even if you aren't a fan of the band, I guarantee that the documentary will keep you entertained. // 9