Parkway Drive – Atlas
Release Date: October 30, 2012
Record Label: Epitaph
There’s a weird rivalry that’s been brewing between Parkway Drive fans over the last few years. Older Parkway fans who prefer the reckless metal of Killing With A Smile and Horizons have pitted themselves against fans who prefer the stylistic flourishes of 2010’s Deep Blue. Hopefully with the release of the band’s ambitious Atlas, this silly rift can be extinguished, as the album’s twelve tracks has a little bit of everything to satisfy all levels of Parkway fans.
Of course Atlas is brimming with monstrous metalcore anthems that made you fall in love with the band in the first place. The ominous intro on opener “Sparks” is the calm before the storm, gently easing you in until the powerful “Old Ghosts/New Regrets” collapses onto you. The latter has been lingering on the web for a few months but it still packs quite the wallop, while “Dark Days” emerges from dark depths and drags you in with Ben Gordon’s double bass-kicks and Winston McCall’s unforgiving growl. The hellacious “Swing” will be igniting the pit for all future PWD shows – its highway-chase pace only slowing down to unleash one of the band’s best breakdowns ever (I can only imagine Swing/swing/swing/motherfuckers being the perfect precursor to the multiple wall of death’s that are bound to occur).
Thematically, McCall spends his time recounting the band’s travels (It's not the years in your life/It's the life in your years on “The River”) and towards environmental and global themes (for example, McCall proclaims There will be no future/if we don’t learn from our mistakes on “Dark Days”). Lyrically and musically (guitarists Luke Kilpatrick and Jeff Ling showcase impressive tapping and riffing throughout), this is Parkway Drive at its best - combining the best elements from its previous albums and expanding on them to create an album that encompasses all your senses.
But Atlas really makes its case as one of the best metal albums of 2012 when Parkway Drive steps outside its comfort zone. The acoustic-driven title track weaves in some string-backed theatrics amongst the destruction (that final minute is some epic shit), while “The River” is five and a half minutes of beautiful brutality (the female vocals are a nice touch and that closing riff will induce chills). Not to be outdone, "Blue and The Grey" closes out Atlas with colossal flurry of chaos and grace that'll leave you exhilarated. These are the kind of moments that move a band like Parkway Drive into the top tier of metal bands. And the fact that the Aussie quintet can incorporate that kind of progression along with its bread and butter tracks like “The Slow Surrender” and “Wild Eyes” (both featuring crushing guitar chords and killer melodies) should please every Parkway Drive, no matter what iteration of the band you prefer.
I actually liked this album less than either Horizons or Deep Blue. I've listened twice through so far, but somehow it just hasn't grabbed me like those previous two releases. Going to give it another run today to see if I feel any different.
i was super anticipated for the album, and it didnt grab me as i thought. i absolutely loved deep blue, one of my favorite metalcore releases ever. now with that being said, its always hard to follow up on your best record. now atlas has its moments, it starts off well with sparks. but there are times where i felt like they could have been a little bit heavier but they decided not to. the band in my mind did what august burns red and especially bring me the horizon did with their latest albums, break the mold. the use of acoustic guitars was totally different and did not expect it. overall i left it was an 8/10