Sound — 6
Parkway Drive certainly haven't broken any ground with their latest effort, Deep Blue, as many seem to be claiming. The first impression left little desire to listen to it again and was somewhat disappointing as they definitely set high expectations following their previous two efforts. A couple of songs such as Unrest have been recorded in drop A#, lower than their usual drop Bb tuning. This seems to contribute to a bigger, heavier sound directed more at live performance and this unfortunately doesn't make for enjoyable listening. There aren't really any stand out songs on this album but they are by no means bad. Sleepwalker has a completely different style and sound to anything they have done in the past and shows they are not afraid to experiment. The album just doesn't seem to have as many catchy riffs as the previous two and it really misses the crisp and polished sound that Adam D was able to produce.
Lyrics — 7
The lyrics on the album aren't any better or worse than the lyrics on the previous releases. The lyrics do continue to have references to the ocean as Horizons did. Lyrically it is a concept album which tells a story throughout the songs. The vocals on the album were a pleasant surprise. Vocalist Winston McCall failed to disappoint with a very powerful performance behind the mic. There is quite a lot more range in the vocals on the album. There are even some guest vocalists featured on the album - Marshall Lichtenwaldt of The Warriors on Hollow, and label owner Brett Gurewitz (of Bad Religion fame) on Home Is For The Heartless.
Overall Impression — 6
Parkway Drive seem to have lost their solid footing which they had on KWAS and Horizons. While most of this review may seem negative it is by no means a bad album but just not what you would expect after a couple of really solid records. Sleepwalker impressed in terms of its new/different sound from anything they have done before although it won't be everyone's cup of tea. Hollow had quite a catchy section that reminded of the Parkway of old but overall nothing really to talk about. Although a lot of people may not like As I Lay Dying, Adam D and co. must be commended for the sound they got out of AILD's latest release The Powerless Rise. Why is this relevant? Well, with no disrespect to Joe Barresi, it seems Parkway should've stuck with Adam D as they had a winning recipe and Deep Blue could have been a completely different album if it had been touched by the hand of Adam D. If lost or stolen, rather buy Horizons or Killing With a Smile if don't have those already, otherwise save up for a pedal or something.