Atlas review by Parkway Drive

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Oct 29, 2012
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.6 (149 votes)
Parkway Drive: Atlas

Sound — 10
Australia. The land referred to as "down under" and the land that is home to some HUGE insects and creatures that shouldn't be living in this world. But, I'm not here to talk about the ridiculously sized spiders that could eat me in one bite. I'm here to talk about the greatest thing to come out of Australia, and that is Parkway Drive. I'm sure (if you're a fan of metalcore) that you immediately think of them when you hear about bands from Australia. They have been dominating the metalcore scene in Australia (and the US) for years now. The new album, "Atlas", marks their fourth full length release, and I can easily say that it is slowly becoming my favorite Parkway Drive album. Quite possibly my favorite metalcore release of 2012. I have been a fan of Parkway Drive since their first album was released, and ever since then they have gotten progressively better with each release. That's a hard thing to do, especially in a genre that is usually dull and has no progress. "Deep Blue", their album from 2010, showed a different side to Parkway Drive. It was a story album, and the production (along with some of the music) was different than previous releases from the band. Many fans loved the album, but many also thought it was a disappointment because it wasn't on par (in their opinions) to "Killing With A Smile" and "Horizons". I can tell you though, that if you were one of the ones that did not like "Deep Blue", or if you absolutely loved it, you will love "Atlas". From the moment "Sparks" rings in until the end of the album, you are given one of the most passionate and heavy hitting albums of 2012. The guitars shred faster, the drums hit harder, and the breakdowns... Well they are wicked. Any fan of Parkway Drive will recognize their signature style on this album. You'll hear hints of earlier releases, while also hearing hints of "Deep Blue". But most importantly, the band grew their sound even more on this album. It sounds more fine tuned than "Deep Blue", and the production sounds clearer.

Lyrics — 9
Excellent, according to a press release, the album, which follows 2010's "Deep Blue", finds the band reflecting on their constant travels, with global themes permeating Winston McCall's lyrics. "The album was written at a time the band was travelling very extensively which had a major effect on the lyrics," the vocalist said in a statement. "While there is no overarching theme, the songs resonate with the travels we as a band have made, and the effects they have had. This has lead to some of the harshest, and also some of the most personal lyrical content that we've ever put to music. In every way, this record has been shaped by the experiences that shaped us a people."

Overall Impression — 9
Some of the songs that really stuck out to me while listening to this album were "Wild Eyes", "Swing", and "The Slow Surrender". "Wild Eyes" may have become my favorite Parkway Drive song. Ever. The first note that rings in on guitar, mixed with the slow chants that work their way into the start of the first scream just set up such a fantastic song. Then one of the best guitar riffs ever written by the band lead you into the rest of this perfect song. It reminded me of the "Horizons"-era Parkway Drive while still showcasing their growth. The same can be said about "Swing". This song reminded me even more of the older Parkway Drive. It starts off fast, and doesn't let up at all. The song goes on and sounds fantastic, then some drumming kicks in that leads you into what you know will be an epic and classic Parkway Drive moment. Then you hear vocalist Winston McCall start screaming "SWING" over and over. And the moment that comes next is intense. "The Slow Surrender" starts off with a low tone and keeps that throughout the song. The musical composition of this song really stood out to me. Parkway Drive has always been a fantastic band musically, but something about this song really made it stick out. The riffs in it, the drumming, all of it blended together just makes for a great song. There's a very odd moment in this song though where you hear a DJ scratch mixing the vocals. It is incredibly odd to hear, but it works so well. I actually really love it. It's a nice, very odd addition into a song, but it fits. This whole album is full of extraordinary riffs, pounding drums, and the great vocals of Winston McCall. I could take the time to write about every note, every lyric, and how great each song is, but it's really something that you just need to listen to. Whether you have been a fan of Parkway Drive from the beginning, or you are a new fan hearing them for the first time on this album, you will fall in love with it. There isn't one thing about it that I would change, and that's how I know I really loved and enjoyed an album from a band. Parkway Drive have already established themselves as a powerhouse in the metalcore scene around the world, and with the release of "Atlas", they have proven that they deserve to stay at the top. Do not sleep on purchasing this album. It is worth every penny. I'm incredibly excited for whatever the band has planned for the future, and you should be too.

45 comments sorted by best / new / date

    AWESOME album! Parkway Drive never fail to dissapoint, one of the most consistant bands of today. And agree with Wild eyes being one of the standout songs, spine chillingly good
    Overall, this is an excellent album. They've really pushed themselves to embrace new ideas, different instruments etc. There are only a few weak sections, which mainly occur when they play the same old familiar breakdowns. Vocals are excellent as always; guitar tones are fantastic; drums are solid; bass is too low in the mix though. Personally, I think bands should push the boundaries like PWD have done (for the most part) on this album. It's definitely their most challenging and interesting album to date
    tbh, this is VERY different from all other albums DCYE, KWAS, horizons and deep blue. did what metallica did with load and reload, did what megadeth did with their albums in the ninties. just changed their style a bit. and i like it. but, speaking of metallica, i honestly think they need to put the bass up more, its just like and justice for all, hardly any bass
    Mr Winters
    " I'm here to talk about the greatest thing to come out of Australia, and that is Parkway Drive." Yeah, well, Karnivool are also Australian.
    I have never heard of them, so im not sure if theyre relevant enough. anyhow, Tonight Alive is another great band from Australia if we we to stray away from talking about metal on here. Not to mention the lead singer is ****ing hot
    Mr Winters
    The cmparison isn't fair anyway, because Karnivool don't have even the slightest trace of metalcore in their sound, they are more like progressive alt rock. But in any case they are a million times better than Parkway Drive in terms of musicianship and skills on the instruments. Which isn't really that difficult anyway, seeing how PwD are basically an open string breakdown machine.
    Good album, but I have to say, I miss Epi's ranting on Metalcore. He's been slacking lately.
    Very good album! From a guitarist point of view, riffs are still as kickass as ever but not nearly as many solo's than in their previous albums and when there are solo's, they don't seem too difficult to play :/. However, I like the addition to more pinch harmonics top tracks on it are wild eyes, dark days, the river, and the slow surrender in my book
    I didn't start listening to these guy's until Horizions came out, with that being said these guy's are my favorite band. This album exceed's everything I was expecting and more. I know I will probably get looked down on for this but, people come on if you dont see what PWD have done on this album musically and wiriting wise then your just hear to nit pick everything that you don't like. I mean I'm not saying I wouldn't mind but band's have to change something up after a while or every god dam metalcore album would sound exactly the same. I guess that's what everyone wants right, 20-30 albums by different band's but they all sound exactly alike.
    My favourite album is still Killing with a smile anyday but this is a solid album and as an avid PWD fan i'm happy blasting this on my speakers.
    There's something that's so...convincing about this band for me. I think it's Winston's vocals. I adored Horizons, but I never bought Deep Blue when I couldn't find a single song that stuck out like Carrion or Horizons.
    Currently on my 4th listen through since yesterday, and I'm still very impressed on the whole. Wild Eyes and The River have stood out to me the most so far.
    Altough I agree that its a solid album and it sounds better then Deep Blue, I just cant shake the feeling of dissapointment writing wise in every album since Horizons. They have gain'd something great but it seems as though they lost that Punk/Hardcore feel to them after Horizons, that was one of the best things about them but I just can't feel it anymore...
    Brilliant album, Parkway never disappoint. Sounds incredible on my surround sound system - can't ****ing wait to see them live again to hear the likes of "Wild Eyes" and "The River".
    Solid album for sure but I feel like they have regressed ever since Horizons. Still a great band, though.
    It seems that people judged Deep Blue and Atlas relative to KWAS and Horizons (and the other 7 or 8 texbook breakthrough core albums by other bands) and don't really see the beauty in the new records. If this is a logical point that follows, for god sakes spread it. KWAS and Horizons were on the list of albums that started this technical metalcore breakdown superspeed movement with pinpoint production and a signature tone. Parkway had to step out of the wake of its own creation (the flood of clone bands) with deep blue and atlas to avoid being swallowed up and lost at sea.
    i wish people would quit with the metalcore metalcore metalcore, its just music, hardcore music, passionate music i love this album, its near perfect and parkway are awesome
    Great album. I honestly think Deep Blue and Atlas are their best sounding albums. I feel bad for you if they don't sound good. Only thing I dislike about this album is not enough solos. Other than that they keep getting better and better.
    I have been listening to parkway and many different bands of this genre for a while now and do agree that its a different type of sound to previous albums but being a guitarist myself i loved this album for the many riffs it has i could never really get into playing previous albums except for deep blue but as ive watched with many bands they will go i guess soft for a period and then the next album will most likly be alot harder but over all think a had an eargasimn listening to this album
    How about using some punctuation? Anyways, I think it's a kind of boring album guitar-wise, and I still don't like the 'Deep Blue' guitar-sound. I guess I just miss the Horizon days...
    To be honest, this album was hyped up to be great and I was quite disappointed by it. It just sounds like Deep Blue 2.0.
    What happened to the UG that liked good music...?
    You sir, need to open your mind up more. PWD is one of metalcore's finest in today's music. Don't judge their label of "metalcore" for no damn good reason. Done with people's elitist talks on here. It brings us no good, just sayin'.
    Def buying this album the day it comes out. gonna be on my workout playlist for awhile \m/...anywsys this knocks As I Lay Dying's and Texas In July's new albums out of the water. With that being said, I think this is just as good as Converge's new album, but I still think that Every Time I Die's Ex Lives took over this year in metalcore. Memphis May Fire also had quite a year with their new release, great lyrical content. Epitaph records def took over this yr with great album releases. Im glad that they have so many good bands on their label unlike most from Rise and Fearless...
    I thought Awakened was As I Lay Dying's best release since Frail Words Collapse. A Greater Foundation is one of the most interesting things they've ever done.
    It is very interesting indeed. Its very hard to compare AILD's releases with their other ones, for who much they have evolved i have stuck around and supported them for all of these years. I still think AOBU is my favorite btw. I loved TPR headbanging-wise throughout the whole album, and Awakened was more on how far thevy have come. Creativity wise is great, but i still prefer AOBU. And PWD is my favorite metalcore band, i just cannot see anyone topping them today...everything about them is just great.