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Released: Oct 29, 2012
Label: Resist, Epitaph
Number Of Tracks: 12
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.
Shashi_Cloud, on october 25, 2012 4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: 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. // 10
Lyrics: 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." // 9
Overall Impression: 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. // 9
UncleTomsCabin, on november 01, 2012 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: 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. // 9
Lyrics: 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. // 8
Overall Impression: 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.
mpedara429, on november 01, 2012 0 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: For those who don't already know, Parkway Drive are the metalcore kings of Australia. They formed in 2002 and "Atlas" is their fourth full-length release. This band is very highly regarded within the genre for their innovation and unrelenting sound. When given the term "metalcore", many people often associate it with monotonous breakdowns and poppy choruses. Parkway Drive does not fall into that category at all. Parkway Drive isn't your cookie cutter kind of band and they are a true mix of metal and hardcore. Metal in the sense of fast paced, thrashy riffs and hardcore with big, epic, unpredictable breakdowns and song structure. They have great technical craft, powerful vocals and lyrics, and most importantly, they are true to themselves and the music. Their sound is truly one of a kind. Everything they go for is of epic proportion. This can be seen in their growing names of their album titles. "Horizons", "Deep Blue", and now "Atlas". To keep on pace of epicness, they will need to name their next album something like "Solar" or "Universe".
"Atlas", is no different than how I previously described the band. Heavy, relentless, melodic, powerful, technical, and brilliant. Well, sort of... as I explain later on in the review. I see "Atlas" very much an extension of "Deep Blue" as far as the sound goes. There has been some criticism about "Deep Blue". I felt that "Deep Blue" was a very good release from the band, the only issue was the production. Guitars were tracked too low and it was super bassy. In a way, it was kind of cool because it gave it a really raw hardcore feel to it. "Atlas" has a cleaner production. Every piece used sounds so crisp. Vocals, guitar tones and drums are mixed to near perfection. Bass is where it should be to let the guitars shine. The band also introduces some new elements that blend in pretty well. The intro track "Sparks" comes out with a kind of classical style acoustic guitar with a sort of orchestral march playing in the background. Again, on the self-titled track "Atlas" there are those orchestral moments with acoustic classical guitar. It's actually kind of a progressive track. On "The River" there are some clean female vocals in the background. The bridge in "The Slow Surrender" has Winston's vocals scratched up via DJ-style record scratching. I can't remember PWD ever adding anything to their music that couldn't be played on stage as a five-piece band. // 10
Lyrics: Vocalist, Winston McCall, is as sharp as ever on "Atlas". Vocals are definitely a strong point on the album. Comparing his vocals to their previous works, something sounds better. McCall is a full range screamer and has always been, but he has never sounded better than on "Atlas". Maybe it is the production of the album but his vocals seem to be more intense and full of emotion.
Lyrically, McCall is always great and he shows it again on "Atlas". There are no generic lyrics about unrequited love or partying. That's not his style. Parkway Drive strives to be themselves and sort of anti-mainstream. He has got powerful lyrics, a lot of rage, and a pessimistically optimistic approach on life. His lyrics are relatable and believable. Dark, yet full of hope.
A great example of the lyrics are in "Dark Days". It is all about sustainability on earth. It sounds cheesy and I'm no treehugger, but when McCall is screaming "I can't watch it burn!" or "How will you justify watching the world die" he is pretty convincing. Same thing on "Old Ghost/New Regrets" about past and present war and atrocities on earth he says "Bleed the earth, bleed her 'til her heart no longer beats". A similar theme also in "Wild Eyes" and "Sleight Of Hand". Some more worldly issues are seen in "Swing" where it is about corrupt politicians making the world turn. Most of the other tracks are about personal issues but McCall does a good job of writing them to make sure they are not in the vein of generic pop lyrics. The closing track "Blue And The Grey" is a sort of combination of both themes present on the album and lyrically my favorite track because it seems very poetic. // 9
Overall Impression: I've been a fan since the "Killing With A Smile" days and they've always held strong as one of my favorite bands for all of these years. Up until "Atlas" these guys had done no wrong in my book. Being a long time fan of Parkway Drive, "Atlas" is their worst album to date. If "Deep Blue" was never released, then "Atlas" would be innovative, new, and a good progression for the band. "Atlas" just kind of sounds the same as "Deep Blue". They also hint back at some of their earlier releases, but I really expected them to reinvent the wheel while still keeping their signature sound. They always have in the past, but not on "Atlas".
I've listened to all of Parkway Drive's songs many, many times so I know them all pretty well. The amount of recycled riffs, basslines, chord progressions, and other elements reused are atrocious. I went through every song on the album and all but "Dark Days" and "Atlas" had things I felt I had heard before. I could understand if it was one or two riffs, but recycling is present in nearly every song. Here is what I found;
01. "Old Ghost/New Regrets" - The opening to this song sounds like the riff about 30 seconds into "Karma" off of "Deep Blue".
02. "Dream Run" - Opens up just like "Sleepwalker" from "Deep Blue" with the low-fi sound, but is pretty original after that.
03. "Wild Eyes" - Has background chants sort of like "Home Is For The Heartless". The bridge in this song and "Sleepwalker" also seem very similar. Both songs were off of "Deep Blue".
04. "The River" - The intro reminds me of "Alone" off of "Deep Blue". The first riff after the intro sounds like the riff at about 2:10 on "Horizons" from the album "Horizons"
05. "Swing" - Sounds like a combination of "Unrest Off Of Deep Blue" and "Breaking Point" from "Horizons".
06. "The Slow Surrender" - Opens up like "Hollow" from their EP as well as "Deep Blue".
07. "Sleight Of Hand" - Has a slow intro that reminds me of "Samsara" and "Home Is For The Heartless" from "Deep Blue". The verse riff after the intro is also similar to the first verse riff on "Home Is For The Heartless".
08. "Snake Oil And Holy Water" - The opening to this song sounds similar to the first verse riff in "The Sirens' Song" from "Horizons". The second half of the first verse in this song sounds like a fast version of the verse on "Romance Is Dead" from "Killing With a Smile".
09. "Blue And The Grey" - The first verse where the vocals kick in sound like the chorus in "Alone" from "Deep Blue". The whole beginning song structure is just like "Horizons". The riff in the verse is very similar as well. Both also happen to be the last songs on their respective albums. The part in "Blue And The Grey" around 2:10 sounds like "Deliver Me" with the triplets of notes. Chord progression is even similar.
My only other gripe is that I find some of the transitions within the songs a little bit forced. They have always been masters at different song structures and time signatures, but they fail to fully execute on "Atlas". The good news is that the original riffs are actually pretty good. If this album was a standalone it would be nearly perfect. Unfortunately, as a long time fan, I know what they've done and what they are capable of and "Atlas" is not a good representation of their talent. // 4