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.