Released: Sep 25, 2015
Genre: Metalcore, Alternative Metal
Label: Epitaph Records
Number Of Tracks: 11
The band takes a sharp left away from their metalcore origins and move into a more modern metal sound with their fifth album, "Ire."
IreFeatured review by: UG Team, on september 30, 2015 2 of 6 people found this review helpful
Sound: Parkway Drive formed in 2003 in Australia. Since that time the band has garnered some international attention, playing on several large tours and festivals. From album to album their sound has changed, though the release of "Ire" possibly shows the greatest progression with the band moving to a more straightforward heavy metal sound instead of the metalcore sound that had previously defined them. With that being said, the band still has a hard time moving completely away from breakdowns and Winston McCall's vocals haven't really changed in style from the past few albums. The lead single from the album, "Vice Grip," was released in June of 2015 and was quickly joined by the second single, "Crushed," in August, and "The Sound of Violence" earlier in September. The album has 11 tracks and an approximate runtime of right around 48 minutes.
"Destroyer" opens the album with epic drumming, riffing and a chanted repetition of the vocals "destroy... destroy... destroy," which is very powerful even if it isn't especially original for a metal band. The song goes a few interesting places after that, though it largely just sets the stage for the album. "Dying to Believe" has a much rawer sound than "Destroyer," and it comes out the gate swinging with clenched teeth - a great aggressive track that really comes from the place that metal should be coming from. The lead single, "Vice Grip," has a much stronger metalcore sound than a lot of the rest of the album, and feels like it was mostly about playing it safe with a lead single (in my opinion) but it IS catchy and has a good message about persevering despite opposition. "Crushed," the second single from the album, intros into the track with some type of monastic chanting which is joined by some heavy guitars and drums and a lot of groove. The song is possibly the most overtly political - being almost a metal activism ballad. "Fractures" is another of the tracks that still has a good bit of the band's previous metalcore sound to it, but wasn't a particularly interesting track for me, personally. "Writings on the Wall" is a different type of track and reminds me a lot of Mushroomhead, and I enjoy it despite its simplicity - I especially love the piano outro.
"Bottom Feeder" is a good mid-paced track that opens with "GO!" and some interesting riffing for a half minute or so. There is a lot of interesting interplay between the guitars, drums and vocals on this one, and some gang vocals used on the choruses which really makes the track sound phenomenal. "The Sound of Violence" is the third single from the album, and is a song that seems like it was mainly written to be an exciting song to play and hear played live. "Vicioius" starts with some middle-eastern/Asian sounding melodies, but moves into the realm of mid-paced metal. The solo is interesting as it has a relaxed vibe to it, though it is immediately followed by a breakdown. "Dedicated" won me over pretty quick - really with the screamed line "you can't break me!" - and from there it kept me with a lot of groove and some of the more angry and standout lyrics. "A Deathless Song" has a killer acoustic opening, very uplifting, which is translated into a heavily overdriven version of the melody. The lyrics were balancing a fine line between epic and cheesy on this track, and unfortunately overbalanced to cheesy a few times on this one, but I really wanted to like it. // 8
Lyrics: Winston McCall has performed lead vocals since the band initially formed, and is joined with backing vocals by the rest of the band. Winston isn't an especially outstanding vocalist, but he does his job. The band uses gang vocals on a few instances during this album, though I don't know if they're provided by the rest of the band, or if they used fans and friends in the studio, but they were used to great effect on the songs that used them. The high point would have to be the lyrics, which are (mostly) pretty great. While the band's previous lyrical offerings have been everywhere from stereotypical metalcore to apocalyptic to abstract imagery, the lyrics on "Ire" seem to mostly have a common theme, which is that the world is messed up, but keep your chin up and fix it. As a sample of the lyrics, here are some from the single, "Crushed": "Brothers, my brothers, Is this all that we are/ Sisters, my sisters, We've been crushed by the fists of god/ Welcome to the free world/ Where nothing's as it seems/ Tell me, can you find a cure/ When you can't see, and you can't feel the disease/ Can you seek a higher truth/ When you're living on your knees/ Where freedom grows from blood-soaked soil/ In the lands of hypocrisy/ Because if you can't see the chains tell me what use is a key/ It's cash, blood and oil, in the age of the refugee/ They're trying to buy our minds, we ain't selling/ Bang, bang, bang, hear they're nailing down the coffins." That's a much more powerful lyric than most of the band's previous material. // 7
Overall Impression: I like the direction that Parkway Drive has taken with their sound. They've kept their roots in metalcore, but somehow sound much less restrained by the genre. They've introduced a lot of what I think of as more straightforward heavy metal elements, which is working nicely for them, and only fall flat a few brief moments on the album. My favorite tracks from the album would have to be "Crushed" and "Writings on the Wall." I really wanted to add "A Deathless Song" to that list, but the line "let me be your drum of war and love" just strikes me as unintentionally funny. // 7
pacole131096, on october 01, 2015 6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Sound: "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. // 10
Lyrics: 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." // 9
Overall Impression: 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. // 9
vppark2, on october 01, 2015 2 of 6 people found this review helpful
Sound: "Twelve years I've fought for this Twelve years, my heart still beats For the ones who've stood beside me Still strong You can't break me"
Vocalist Winston McCall reflects on what has been a successful career on the song "Dedicated." The Byron Bay, New South Wales metalcore band Parkway Drive is in due time for their fifth full-length album, titled "Ire," and once again, signed with Epitaph Records. Let's start off by talking about the lead single that leaked before the initial album release. "Vice Grip" was certainly a song that alienated a number of fans. Was it the song structure that annoyed people? I for one was a bit annoyed because it follows a very simple format. While the lead guitar parts aren't bad, it's also nothing to write home about. In fact, since the song has a mid-tempo feel, it just makes it hard to believe that this is the same band that wrote crushing, fast paced music on albums such as "Killing With a Smile" and "Horizons." Sure, that doesn't make this album bad over one song. In fact, I'll even say it now that "Atlas" was my favorite album from these guys? Why? They took a few necessary, but well needed risks. It was the first album where they really lowered it on the open note chugs, or just chugs in general, and even had a few curveballs to add into it with acoustic, and violin pieces on certain songs. So where does that bring "Ire" to? Did "Atlas" set that bar high already? Are people expecting that growth from Atlas or are more people wanting that old school PWD sound? I'll leave that for you guys to comment on in the comments section below.
But to get back on topic with "Vice Grip," it has a very radio friendly sound that I could honestly imagine hearing if I were to go to a hockey game in Boston. Maybe sports events haven't taken that route to take harsh vocals quite yet, but it really isn't a song where I wouldn't be overly surprised if it got some radio play. The song has an anthem spirit to it, with the chants going on during the chorus. For me, it's a bit cheesy, but even worse once you read the lyrics, which I will mention in that section. Overall, the vibes really represent a Def Leppard sound if you subtract Winston's vocals, which may sound completely off or weird, but it's the best I could think of. So that alone would turn off some fans. "Crushed" also came out with mixed reactions. Is it that people aren't welcoming change? I mean sure, the song didn't quite hit me on the first listen or so, but it's certainly a grower, and I can proudly say that it is one of the best songs on the album. Why? Because they go out of their typical format completely. I have seen quite a few mind boggling comparisons to this song, from Rammstein, to Heaven Shall Burn, to Sepultura, to Rage Against The Machine, and possibly a few others that didn't make any sense to me. I didn't quite catch it at first, but the way the song structure is set up does really resemble a a influence, mainly instrumentally. You can hear a bit of "Bulls on Parade" or "Killing in the Name" there. Vocally, the spoken word part may turn off some fans, but it really resembles an Emmure influence, which isn't totally a bad thing. Frankie Palmeri isn't an absolute train wreck of a vocalist in my opinion.
One thing to really note about the opening track, "Destroyer" is the very catchy bridge/guitar solo that goes on just a little after the three minute mark. On a bit of a higher note, the second track, "Dying to Believe" has to be one of the best songs on this album in my opinion. Winston unleashes his anger after the first few guitar riffs, yelling "Like dragging nails through my skin." But the actual main highlight of this song is also later on when the guitar parts go into tapping mode then Winston uses a spoken word method kind of in the realm of Disturbed, then unleashes his anger, "We'll find you where you sleep." Then that's when old school PWD rolls in back to fast paced riffs and drumming. And just when PWD fans thought Winston's was already Godly enough, one of the best moments is him yelling "Forked tongue motherfucker tell me how the hell do you sleep at night." The intro riffs to "Fractures" sound exactly like "Love Hurts" by Incubus. As for the chanting, and even the way the guitar parts are set up, I again reminded of some strong '80s hair metal influences, but the guitar parts moreso Avenged Sevenfold, especially the guitar solo that fades out during the ending of the song. "Writings on the Walls" has to be the biggest step away from PWD's sound to date. I really want to dig it, but I guess creepy, spoken word parts aren't my thing. In fact, it really gives off a King 810 vibe. Dedicated is hands down the best song on the album in my opinion. Winston McCall really held back on some of his low growls unit later on in this song when the song builds up around drum beats and tremolo picking. Overall, there are some small improvements in the sound section, but is still brought down after how "Atlas" raised the bar high. There are some songs on this album where there are similarities (take "Vicious," for example - it almost sounds like "Vice Grip"). The drums throughout this album use a very basic formula too, and sounds a bit off on the mixing, kind of like the way The Ghost Inside's latest album was. // 7
Lyrics: "We speak in tongues" is a very common lyric I have heard elsewhere before, but I have heard it recently in a fairly recent album I had heard, but I couldn't think of who. That's when a Google search comes into play. It just so happens to be in "Crooked Young" by Bring Me The Horizon from their last album. I wouldn't be bringing this up, but the lyric in this PWD song that is said during the chorus, "Black the sun" is almost the same exact line that is also said in this BMTH one, "Blacker than the sun." So it just seemed weird that I wasn't expecting this after looking that up, but with that point aside, both songs are vastly different from each other, so in the end, it doesn't really matter (sorry for Linkin Park reference). The song "Vice Grip," however would get rated a 4 in this department just because the message has been said over and over again, and quite frankly it's boring, and cheesy. The lyric "Hope for the hopeless" was actually parodied on Jarrod Alonge's debut album that came out earlier this year, so I thought that was funny these guys fell for that. The best lyrics on this entire album, while there aren't that many good ones has to come from "A Deathless Song":
"Breathe your life into me Because I drown in your shadow Like salt in the rain If my fear is tomorrow Your memory's the fight in my veins."
Overall, PWD kept going in the direction from their last album in this section by not using your typical metalcore lyrics. // 6
Overall Impression: Well, hopefully this album answers a few more questions after the vast changes that were heard in "Atlas." "A Deathless Song" used those violin elements that were also heard throughout "Atlas." As a whole, this album may not be spectacular, but they took risks once again by having a vast number of influences, but they didn't wear those influences on their sleeve, like some bands in this scene tend to do when they change up their sound. I actually prefer that they change up their sound rather than beating their old sound into the ground. Some bands get accused for doing that, and while some will accept this new change for PWD, there will be others who don't. // 7
IbanezForTheWin, on october 02, 2015 0 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: 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. // 5
Lyrics: 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. // 6
Overall Impression: 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. // 5