The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - An­drew McMillen

Ire Park­way Drive Re­sist

Since its in­cep­tion in 2003, By­ron Bay quin­tet Park­way Drive has es­tab­lished it­self as one of the world’s lead­ing pro­po­nents of met­al­core, a genre that skil­fully blends heavy me­tal with hard­core punk rock. It has be­come one of the coun­try’s most pop­u­lar in­de­pen­dent acts, regularly selling out big venues here and over­seas. De­spite its clear strengths, how­ever, its com­mand of the form bled into com­pla­cency with its fourth al­bum, 2012’s At­las, a mid­dling col­lec­tion that of­fered few sur­prises and scraped the bot­tom of the song­writ­ing bar­rel — trapped, in a way, by its own legacy. Hap­pily, the same can’t be said for Ire, a scin­til­lat­ing set that finds the band in an ex­per­i­men­tal mood. At 48 min­utes, it is the same length as At­las, but where the sec­ond half of that re­lease was bloated with for­get­table tunes, the orig­i­nal­ity of these 11 songs en­sures in­ter­est lev­els are main­tained. Ire’s first two sin­gles ex­hibit some of the band’s finest work: Vice Grip, a punchy, in­spi­ra­tional track (“One life, one shot / Give it all you got”), and Crushed, which sees singer Win­ston McCall seething at in­jus­tices and en­cour­ag­ing in­sur­rec­tion (“They fear what we know / We know how they break”) amid his band mates’ hyp­notic groove. Else­where, Bot­tom Feeder is rem­i­nis­cent of Amer­i­can me­tal act Slip­knot, while Writ­ing’s On the Wall ex­hibits a leap for­ward for the band’s song­writ­ing, in which McCall’s whis­pered men­ace sits well against a sparse mu­si­cal ar­range­ment. Sig­nif­i­cantly, with Ire, Park­way Drive has man­aged to es­cape the numb­ing ef­fect that met­al­core can have on the ears, and its strength is in the qual­ity of its songs.

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