Atlas review by Parkway Drive

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  • Released: Oct 29, 2012
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.6 (149 votes)
Parkway Drive: Atlas

Sound — 9
Atlas marks the 4th overall studio album from the Australian metalcore band Parkway Drive. Since their formation in 2002, Parkway Drive has come to be known around the world for their raging guitars, deafening drum beats, volcanic bass lines, and ferocious, screaming-style vocals that have continued to appeal to fans throughout the last decade. After first announcing themselves to the world with their debut album, Killing With A Smile, the members of Parkway Drive have gone on to tour and perform alongside such metal contenders as Megadeth, The Devil Wears Prada, and GWAR. And now, 2 years since their previous critically acclaimed album Deep Blue, Parkway Drive has returned with their new studio album, Atlas, that wields enough power to easily attract any heavy metal follower, and should leave longtime fans chanting for more. This album is magnificently kicked off with Sparks, which couldn't be a grander opening song. This two-minute long track holds a significant Pink Floyd-influence that reminds me of something off of "Dark Side Of The Moon", featuring a marching drum beat and an arithmetic acoustic guitar riff, backed by soothing keyboards and a spoken-word intro by lead vocalist Winston McCall. Within the last 30 seconds it slowly begins to transform with heavily distorted guitars and anger drenched vocal delivery as we transition into Old Ghosts/New Regrets, which maintains the raging metal style that fans have to come to know and love from Parkway Drive. Throughout the remainder of the album, Atlas is simply overflowing with dynamic solos and memorable guitar licks that left me with a strong craving to pick up my own guitar and jam alongside the rhythmic playing styles of Jeff Ling and Luke Kilpatrick. Creativity, raging power, and downright fantastic music are in surplus in Atlas. It is, in a word, fantastic.

Lyrics — 8
Winston McCall is simply an extremely talented and gifted singer, with a voice custom built for heavy metal. Throughout all 12 new tracks that Atlas prominently features, Winston provides some downright dynamite vocal execution that helps give this album a nearly overwhelming heavy metal sound. At times it can be admittedly difficult to understand exactly what he's saying behind those thick layers of anger and rage, but he does such a great job at maintaining his growling sound that I really cannot complain too much. If you listen to the lyrics of Old Ghost/New Regrets, you immediately tell that they're right in line with something you'd expect for this genre of metal: Forever f--ked/ we wage a war of suffering a deceit/ 100 thousand years of dreaming, drowned in a flood of fear and greed/ Precious heritage laid waste before the chainsaws of snarling teeth/ Bleed the earth, bleed her til her heart no longer beats/ And still we wonder why/ As the ground beneath our feet turns to dust/ The air we breathe, laced with poisons/ A legacy of disgust/ A legacy of sorrow/ So we're born with nothing and we die alone.

Overall Impression — 9
Once the album was available for pre-order, I went all-in for the Deluxe Edition, and I have to say you definitely get more bang for your buck. Not only do you get the entire new album, but you also get a DVD documentary of Parkway Drive's 2011 world tour, which features some downright awe-striking live performances of the band performing in several different countries across the globe. My favorite cuts off the new album would have to be Sparks, The River, Old Ghosts/New Regrets, and the title track Atlas. And honestly, I couldn't find any song off this album that I dislike in the least. So overall, I believe that Atlas is a fantastic metalcore album with absolutely no filler, and is definitely worth a place in your personal music library.

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17 comments sorted by best / new / date

    This album is definitely a step in the right direction for Parkway Drive. As much as I liked Deep Blue I thought it was an album written without a clear direction, it felt like it was written in the middle of a transitional phase for the band. It wasn't a carbon copy of Horizons but it felt like the band were trying to evolve their sound whilst trying to keep too many elements of their previous releases. I don't have a particular favourite Parkway album, I enjoy all of them, and Atlas is definitely just as strong as previous releases. Parkway are just one of those bands that consistently produce good material, I wouldn't say they have a 'best' or 'worst' album, all have their strong and weak points but ultimately all attain the same standard.
    I respectfully disagree. Although you're right about it being a sort of transitional album (you can see the clear progression from Deep Blue to Atlas), I reckon Deep Blue had a fair bit of direction. It's a concept album, and each song fits perfectly together, helping to tell the story. I dunno though, I could be biased, I live about an hour away from where Parkway grew up and started playing together, and they certainly hold a special place in my hearts, as they are 'forever the underdogs.'
    Coming from a musician's standpoint; their albums seem to get progressively better as they push the boundaries of metalcore and experiment more. The songwriting seems to maintain solid across all of the albums, but I find myself enjoying each album they put out more than the last.
    The first time I listened to this, I felt like they are going backwards but once you listen it to 3+ times it gets better. I liked Deep Blue but this is better then Deep Blue!
    I know no one is going to agree with me, but Deep Blue is my favourite Parkway album. I love the others, Horizons in particular. Anyway, on to this album. Different from there others but still very Parkway, its a great album and im not in the slightest dissapointed
    Oh my God this album is amazing. I love how this band just gets better and better with each album. Absolutely blown away.
    Reminded me of what Bring Me the Horizon did on their last album - incorporating chick singers, string sections, more moody ambient passages. I feel like BMTH did it a bit more successfully. Good to see the lyrical content with more depth though
    One of the few metalcore bands that I actually like..... The other being Trivium (earlier albums)
    They'll never beat Horizons. It's a shame when a band peaks for me that early. Another example for me personally would be Funeral For A Friend with Casually Dressed And Deep In Conversation. I keep loving the bands, but I'm always (slightly) disappointed Solid release though, miles better than Deep Blue.
    I was beyond disappointed with this album. They seem to have gotten lazy with their riffs. I figured once Horizons was released, they would progress into melodic metalcore giants. This album in my opinion is nothing but re-hashed lazier riffs with boring/predictable breakdowns. It seems as if all they want to do is appease the mainstream audience who just enjoy breakdowns. I bought it and as soon as it was done, I took it out and broke it in half. This album gets 10 out of 10 middle fingers from me. Huge letdown from a fantastic band.
    It's solid, but it is not at all what I was expecting after the majesty of Deep Blue. It's just very empty-sounding. Horizons is my least favorite PWD album, and I barely listen to it. KWAS is my favorite PWD album still and Deep Blue is a very close second, but Horizons and Atlas are not up there. Atlas just doesn't hold up very well. I don't want to keep listening. With Deep Blue I kept wanting to hear what was next, I just didn't feel that with this album. Sadly, the best songs are the ones they released before the album was released, so I had already heard the best, and everything else was jsut a step down. Disappointing, but still worth a listen. This is not one of my fave Parkway albums.
    And I don't know why everyone thinks Horizons is their best. It was their breakthrough, but it doesn't mean its the best...its boring honestly. I really dont like Horizons, yet every Parkway fan raves about Boneyards and Sirens Song all the time.
    Randomly clicked this review. Never listened to them until now. Pretty dope.
    The River is definitely one of the most underated songs on this album, if you give it a few listens it really does sound amazing.
    I feel like these reviews are biased big time. It's just whether the one writing it likes the band or not.
    Been a fan of the band since KWAS, and i'll always have a soft spot for em no matter how much people say metalcore sucks. That being said i'd have to say Dream Run, Atlas, Sleight of Hand, Wild Eyes, SWING, and the River are my standout tracks. Just a fun album overall and that main riff from Sleight of Hand gets stuck in my head all the damn time. Solid riffs. A couple weird moments that don't seem to fit but kudos to PwD for experimenting.
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