Sound — 5
So with "Ire," Parkway Drive has released their fifth studio album (not counting "Don't Close Your Eyes") and overall I consider it their least appealing offering. Obviously, Parkway Drive has decided to take their music in a new direction (which they have honestly been doing since "Deep Blue") and I am not going to condemn a band for trying out new sounds and trying to breath fresh air into their songwriting; my problem with "Ire" is that new direction is not executed cleanly or well in my opinion. The album is littered with recycled riffs, repetitive drumming, and a plethora of "cheesy" or "gimmicky" type parts. Parkway Drive has managed to write five full length albums without ever changing the chords or scales they use, which never really posed much of a problem until "Ire." While Parkway Drive were writing "Killing With a Smile" and "Horizons" (followed by "Deep Blue" and "Atlas") they were writing fast, finely tuned songs with well thought out hooks, good heavy parts, emotional melodies and overall elevated songwriting. Because of this, the repetitive nature of their chords and scales was not overbearing (I was willing to accept it because hey who am I to judge if they can take the same chords and scales and create a multitude of great songs).
But with "Ire," they have slowed everything down and really just made every song consist of power chords, generic leads, and slow (almost drum machine) sounding percussion. Adding to the disappointment with "Ire" is the fact that it took Parkway Drive three years to write, record, and release this album. After such a long period of time, I expected a well thought out and finely tuned masterpiece from one of the true heavy hitters in modern metal music. What I got was a record that seems uninspired, recycled, and just flat out boring (one of the best examples is the intro to "Bottom Feeder" sounding exactly like a segment of "Sleight of Hand" from their "Atlas" album). The thing is, Parkway Drive may be "reinventing" their sound, but they certainly aren't breaking any new ground as far as metal is concerned, I mean "The Sound of Violence" sounds like it was ripped right off of a Disturbed album. The only bright spot on the sound of this album is that the actual production seems to be a step up compared to "Deep Blue" and "Atlas" (still not quite as tight and tuned as "Horizons" though).
Now, it would be unfair to say that this album from start to finish is awful, that is not true but the stand out moments are few and far between. "Crushed" is a pretty cool song that is a Rage Against The Machine combined with Rammstein sound. It certainly is a "riffed out masterpiece" but it's a pretty good head banger that I'm sure they will play live. Another song that has some stand-out qualities is "Fracture" which has a pretty awesome chorus with nice gang vocals and a good lead that seems to be this albums "Home is for the Heartless" or "Blue and the Grey." The last song that really did anything for me on this album is "Dying to Believe" because it is pretty damn heavy for a Parkway Drive song and has some of that signature "Parkway Drive fast moshpitting" sound to it. Outside of those songs, there was really not much on this album I found myself going back to listen to. Now, I know there will be disagreements with my opinion, saying that I'm stuck in the "'Horizons' era" of Parkway Drive and won't accept their new sound, which is not true, I just honestly think that "Horizons" musically was written at a higher level and executed much better than their newest release.
Lyrics — 6
Winston McCall has been one of my favorite metal vocalists for a long time and he remains one of the bright spots on this album, but even he has taken a hit by this "new sound" of Parkway Drive. Their attempt at having a "screamless" song in "Writings on the Wall" is a total flop in my opinion and comes across forced and I am not a pure heavy person who needs screaming or won't listen, I just don't think that their take on the concept is done well. Their Byron Bay brethren in In Hearts Wake execute that much better by having someone in their band capable of singing and not just whispering throughout an entire four minute song.
Overall Impression — 5
Overall, I am completely and utterly disappointed with "Ire" and as someone who has listened to Parkway Drive for a long time, I really really wanted to like this album and since it was released two days ago, I have listened to it through five times, trying and trying to let it grow on me but I think the sad truth is that Parkway Drive has expended the magic they possessed while writing their earlier albums and have begun to recycle and create gimmicks in order to keep putting out music. I apologize to Parkway Drive for issuing a review so negative and I certainly do not want to attack them as a band, I just do not know if they still possess the ability to write a top-notch album from start to finish.