Sound — 10
"Ire" will divide fans, the album is more a metal album than anything else, not that genre matters, what matters is the music. For me the album is not even close to disappointing, Winston's vocals are better than ever and Jeff's awesome leads are abundant throughout the album. What this album lacks in some areas is made up for in others. For me the album has just as much energy despite it's generally slower tempo. Simple power chord progressions are still made interesting by interesting leads, and above all else Winston's vocals and lyrics.
I love the change in their sound, many of the songs grow on you the more you listen to them, in particular "Writings on the Wall" and "A Deathless Song." "Vice Grip" is a good song in the context of the album, I don't think the song takes itself too seriously and whilst the lyrics and rhythm guitar are quite superficial by Parkway Drive's standards I think the song still has it's place on the album.
All up the album sounds incredible.
Lyrics — 9
Winston' lyrics are just as good, if not better than on previous albums. Combine this with the generally improved vocal sound on this album and you get what in my opinion gets this album over the line from just mediocre, 6/10 to impactful, bold and 9/10.
The lyrics on this album are often have a similar theme, focus or intention revolving around flawed economic and political systems, the abuse of power and rising up against it. Some might say this gets repetitive, however to me it just seems like Winston wants to hammer a message home. It worked for me. There are also are other focuses, "Vice Grip" focuses on getting the best out ones self despite the challenges life can throw whilst "A Deathless Song" is a positive ending to the album which focuses in finding comfort and happiness in personal relationships. "Dedicated" is also has a different theme with its lyrics, lets just say if you didn't like this album or claim that Parkway Drive have become soft, I'd like to turn this song up full and hold your ears right next to the speakers.
Winston's lyrics are as still aggressive and poetic as ever in this album, my favourite lines at the moment are from "Destroyer":
"We're all addicts hooked into a toxic culture
Infinite growth in a finite world
Empires of gold return to sand
As silver tongues rust beneath the guilt of man."
Overall Impression — 9
01. "Destroyer" - Great lyrics, perhaps had the potential to hit a little harder in parts, but I still loved it.
02. "Dying to Believe"- Heavy, brutal, doubt this song has many haters. Perfect demonstration of Winston's new vocal exploits on this album.
03. "Vice Grip" - Catchy and simple, it doesn't take itself to seriously. The lyrics in the verse do have some weight: "A system of complete control. The pressure builds, It wraps its hands around your throat. A constant battle A silent war of mind and soul."
04. "Crushed" - Certainly different and musically it is not the biggest stand out on the album, however lyrically and vocally I think it is close to the best. this song hits hard and I love it. "It's cash, blood and oil, in the age of the refugee."
05. "Fractures" - Awesome leads all throughout, somewhat reminiscent of horizons. Love the chorus, don't mind the "woah woahs" I think they sound great. Lyrics again shine through.
06. "Writings on the Wall" - Very different, the more I listen the more I like it, lyrics again the main point of interest.
07. "Bottom Feeder" - Got a groovy verse and the chorus is just awesome, the outro is also brutal. This song makes me want to run through walls. The bridge was the only slight reservation have about the song, I'm just not quite sure about it yet, more listening will tell.
08. "Sound of Violence" - Heavy and pretty fast. For me it lacks any huge stand out factors but is a good solid song.
09. "Vicious" - Thought the intro was really cool, really enjoyed this song, awesome guitar solo and pwoah "BURN THEM ALL TO ASH" really liked this one.
10. "Dedicated" - Love what Winston is saying in this song. Probably something to savour for the fans who preferred their old stuff. Very heavy, kind of reminds me off deep blue.
11. "A Deathless Song" - A beautiful finish to an album that on the whole gave me an overall feeling of dread towards the human race. Two simple chord progressions that are brought to life with just amazing lead guitars and amazing vocals by Winston. No doubt in my mind that Winston could sing reasonably well if he wanted too, Not that I'd want him too necessarily.
I think this is a great metal album, one that will be listened to by me a lot. I think it's great that Parkway Drive changed their sound, one trick ponies can get boring. I'm not willing to say it's Parkway's best album yet, I definitely don't think it's their worst. I am very interested to see where Parkway Drive go from here. I hope their music maintains that edge and balls that it has so far, that being said I think they are capable of having a huge sound that can sell a lot of albums. I hope they continue to stay true to themselves and continue to find the right balance in their future work.