Parkway Drive – Horizons

There is a moment in the song “Boneyards,” (about 2.53 minutes into it), that you realize Parkway Drive have accomplished the very thing they set out to do with Horizons. As vocalist Winston McCall incinerates the words “there’s blood in the water,” the song comes crashing down with a breakdown so heavy, buildings will crumble. It is clear from this point that not only have they pushed the bar for Australian metalcore, but perhaps, set the standard throughout the genre. Wanting to step up the heavy from their 2005 full length Killing With a Smile, the boys from Byron Bay have more than just surpassed their album goals, Horizons’ energized brutality is the signal bell alerting the masses to their presence.

Produced once again by Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz, Horizons is infused with the same kind of metal urgency as KSE albums- but unlike the overtly melodic nature of Killswitch’s music, Parkway Drive forgo the harmonies and instead stick to up-tempo guitar shredding, heavy percussion work, and vocals that avoid “singing” altogether. Songs like the opening “The Sirens’ Song,” and “Idols And Anchors” demonstrate the band’s technical skills, able to experiment a little more with their craft than your average chug-chug-chug routine; guitar solos even becoming the focal point in the more traditionally metal sounding “Frostbite.” Similar in resonance to the previously mentioned “Boneyards,” the album’s apex is the band’s most melodically charged song; “Carrion.” Owing perhaps, a little to Dutkiewicz’s musical output, the song comes across as the closest Parkway have come to sounding like KSE- and it’s a rather succinct melding of both acts’ strongest qualities.

Lyrically, the band stays within their comfort zone; broken hearts ripped from chests, burning in hell, and of course, pirates! Familiar lyrical territory aside, the combination of their words and music comes across as rather fitting- angry, brutal, and deceptively in tone with introspection and loneliness.

Some say it is hard to differentiate Parkway Drive from many of their kind- true, there are definite connections to bands like Killswitch Engage, Unearth, and As I Lay Dying- bands melded from a close knit community of friends and musicians. Yet PWD boast a quality unlike no other- the ideal amalgamation of their respective musical ingredients forged together with razor sharp precision and perfection. To borrow the moniker of an appropriately Australian breakfast energizer, Parkway Drive (and Horizons), is just right, and a candidate for metal album of the year.

(Resist Records / Epitaph Records)

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