Company: Resist Records and Epitaph Records Release: 2015 Genre: Metalcore Reviewer: Greg Watson
A compact ball of fury
A melodic guitar gently begins to play and then the pounding of drums begins. As they grow louder, like an approaching storm, distant voices can be heard. Before long, the war cry of "DESTROY!" can be heard before it is replaced by "DESTROYER" being growled and the full tilt of the music. This is "Destroyer", the first track off of Parkway Drive's newest album, "IRE". Full of aggression, melody and some very thought-provoking lyrics, "IRE" is one of those albums that you will be playing on repeat and can use almost any track off of it to get you jacked up and ready to take on a charging bull.
"Destroyer" kicks the album off with a great blend of aggressive riffing and melodic guitar solos. Vocalist Winston McCall's military like cadence in his vocals commands attention with a balanced blend of rasping and growling. "Dying to Believe" is up next ratcheting up the aggression to another level. Blast beat-like drumming is accompanied by staccato, chugging riffage and a very angry McCall. In the breakdown, McCall growls "Tell me how the hell do you sleep at night?" With you growling like that Winston, not good at all. Great track. "Vice Grip" is a bit more peppy as far as the speed goes, blazing through like a fighter jet hitting Mach 3.
"Crushed" is hands down my favorite song on the album, for a couple of reasons. First, the structure of this song is just phenomenal. The intro is very Arabesque and worldly and giving way to a killer guitar hook and some thundering drums. McCall's variation between almost spoken word delivery and guttural growls gives the track two distinct sections where you are listening to what he's saying and then all hell breaks loose when the rawer vocals begin. "Writings on the Wall" is the one song that seems the hardest for me to figure out. The song starts off with a little classical interlude replete with violins and a very mellow feel. Then McCall starts in with a very soft spoken word/hip hop sort of cadence that is backed up subtly by the light tickling of ivories. The song also contains one of the strangest lyrics on the album to me: "And we all go to heaven in a little rowboat". McCall's soft spoken demeanor is quickly replaced with his growled/raspy vocals. As the song winds down, the palm muted riffing is accompanied by violins and then is quickly replaced with a solitary piano that carries the song to its end. "Bottom Feeder" quickly kicks your teeth in as the heaviness returns with a vengeance.
"Dedicated" is a good old-fashioned, fist pumping, headbanging track that could easily be a UFC fighter's entrance song. Bottom line, it'll knock you the hell out before you can blink an eye. "A Deathless Song" closes the album out. Like a few other tracks, this one starts off with a more mellow intro. The acoustic guitar work on this is breathtaking and incredible. Again, it gives way to distorted, crunchy goodness of a more subtle quality. While I enjoyed the track, it felt very odd to have this one as the album closer after having an album full of tracks that just clobbered your ears with reckless abandon.
This album is probably the best album that Parkway Drive has made to date. The heaviness, the quality of the songs, the solid production just pulls the album together into a compact ball of fury that will roll over you without mercy! So brothers and sisters, go out and get this album, fill your heart with "IRE" and sound the battlecry! "DESTROYER"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
About this Writer: Greg Watson // Greg Watson has been hooked on the loud and heavy sounds since the summer of 1994 when he first heard the opening notes of "Operation: Mindcrime" by Queensryche. Since then his tastes have expanded and grown like the ever evolving heavy metal tree of genres. He has been an active member of Maximum Metal off and on for 10 years. In his spare time, Greg enjoys deciding the fate of his loyal subjects in the realm of Skyrim and secretly playing air keyboard to "Separate Ways" by Journey when no one is watching. He currently resides in Roanoke, VA with his wife and his metal wannabe beagle.
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