29 June 2010
by Tomas Doyle
Lets talk about MUSIC. Lets talk about SOUND. Lets talk about NOISE. Lets talk about the fucking KICK DRUM on Parkway Drive‘s Deep Blue. When Ben Gordon plays with his feet on this album, it feels like your head is about to get snapped off your neck, it’s insane and ruddy glorious.
Actually, its not just the drums, the production on this record is outstanding throughout – step forward and take a bow, Joe Barresi. The man responsible for making the likes of Tomahawk, Queens of the Stoneage and Coheed and Cambria sound as good as they do on record has struck again, producing, mixing and engineering a record which sounds not only rich and powerful, but perhaps most crucially – natural.
See, the thing is with so much metalcore these days is that it sounds so synthetic, processed and re-constituted that it really just isn’t that good for you. I guess its like ham in that respect. Well, if programmed drums, implausible guitar lines and 400 tracks of bass boom are Lidl own-brand generic sandwich filling, this record is a pork steak straight from the finest butchers. Its natural and actually sounds like a band playing, rather than some 5-headed digital monster, and it tastes so much better for it.
With this is mind, it is a slight shame that the actual musical content does not quite live up to production it has been blessed with. Parkway Drive always have been (and one suspects always will be) beatdown-heavy, but Deep Blue has a bit of a tendency to plod from one moshable section to the next with a wearisome predictability which saps the energy of the listener looking for something a bit more interesting than just the chance to get crucial. Nonetheless, there is some cracking guitar work here, with crunching riffing, measured lead parts, and a greater understand of dynamic light and shade than on previous efforts all on display. Despite this, the songwriting still feels quite ‘from the menu’ with a smattering of genuinely really brilliant bits breaking up the monotony.
Watch the video to ‘Sleepwalker’ by Parkway Drive:
This is a good album, but there are times when it could do with an injection of pace, or a greater emphasis on the instrumentation (which is so impressive when it is allowed to shine) or just something to lift it about the lumbering mosh fest it sometimes finds itself labouring as. All that said, it is certainly a massive step forward from Horizons and there is little doubt that Parkway Drive remain streets ahead of fellow Aussies The Red Shore and Carpathian as the metalcore kings of down under. For fans, it is surely a must buy and a good distillation of where the band have been heading to up until this point. For those of us who are not necessarily converts already, there is much to enjoy here but little to truly inspire – if this was written as well as it is produced, it would probably be one of the records of the year. As it is it’s just quite good.
Sounds Like: August Burns Red, I Killed The Prom Queen, As I Lay Dying
Top Tracks: Sleepwalker, Leviathan I, Deliver Me.
Parkway Drive – Deep Blue tracklisting:
Home Is for the Heartless (featuring Brett Gurewitz of Bad Religion)
Hollow (featuring Marshall Lichtenwaldt of The Warriors)
Set to Destroy