Parkway Drive - Deep Blue

Album cover
Metalcore
Epitaph Records
Parkway Drive
Deep Blue
Parkway Drive - Deep Blue Review rating:
3
User rating:
Average: 4.5 (4 votes)

Over the past decade or so, Australia has really grown into itself as a metal heavy country. Whether it be the numerous bands who inhabit the underground (Woods of Desolation, Portal, etc…) or the more mainstreamed oriented acts, the land down under has definitely been busy, especially when it comes to metalcore. Spawning the likes of the massively popular I Killed The Prom Queen to newbie hard-hitters Feed Her To The Sharks, the scene thrives on delivering melodeath based modern metalcore to the masses. Second In popularity only to IKTPQ, Parkway Drive has been one of the leading metalcore exports these past few years, their sales garnering new heights with each successive release. Following the footsteps of the bands 2007 album Horizons, Parkway Drive’s newest release Deep Blue is a continuation of the enjoyable groove laden, breakdown heavy metalcore the band has become known for, even if it is at times slightly derivative.

While no doubt most of the flak this album will receive is due to its over-reliance on the use of breakdowns that criticism almost comes implied with the fact that it’s a Parkway Drive record; the band has always used breakdowns to varying degrees of success and it really is no different on Deep Blue. For “example, the breakdowns used on songs such as “Deliver Me” and “Deadweight” are some of the most generic, single note chugs you can find in metalcore today; slow, boring and monotonous, instead of improving the quality of the songs they are included in, they detract from them. However in a song like “Pressure” the galloped breakdown does well to compliment the rest of the song, which thanks to excellent tempo changes and a nice variance in guitar riffs, is one of the best songs on the album.

Sadly, the inconsistency of the breakdown isn’t the only thing that bogs down Deep Blue; in songs such as the single “Sleepwalker” guitarists Jeff Ling and Luke Kilpatrick uninspired guitar playing just comes off as almost parodies of pre-existing riffs in previous Parkway Drive songs. “Hollow” throughout its length seems fairly reminiscent of” Gimme a D” off Killing With A Smile albeit seemingly being played with a lower level of enthusiasm, not only making the song come off as bad remake, but an incredibly boring one at that. Once again, an obvious negative factor of the album would be the lack of bass; besides a short interlude in “Alone” (where even then the bass is only barely audible) the instrument remains silent for the entirety of the record, offering absolutely no bottom-end.

Despite it’s almost unbearable bad moments, Deep Blue does contain quite a bit of great material. All breakdowns aside, Jeff Ling and Luke Kilpatrick know how to pull some greats riffs out of the bag; while songs such as “Deadweight” offer great past paced , groove filled and melodic riffs, “Wreckage” features the sublime guitar tapping that has become a keystone in Parkway Drive sound. Strangely enough, Deep Blue also features a fair bit of atmospheric playing, a stark contrast from the majority of most metalcore. “Alone” (which opens with a beautiful clean picked guitar intro) features a great bit of atmosphere filled playing that is made even greater with its incorporation into chugging metalcore style riffs.

As it has always been, vocalist Winston McCall remains to be the best part of Parkway Drive; his range and ferocity and overall ability is definitely one the best to be featured in metalcore. Capable high pitched rasps as well as low, deep gutturals (“Pressures”) the man is capable of doing anything and doing it well. Although Ben Gordon is a standard metal drummer, that is nothing to be ashamed about; “Unrest” features some awesome hardcore influenced drumming and “Leviathan I” incorporates well played blast beats amongst other techniques.

With Deep Blue Parkway Drive has the made the record everyone was expecting them to make; a fact that comes with an equal amount of negative and positive attributes. If you weren’t a fan of the bands previous material, then don’t even bother checking this out; you will most definitely hate it. However, if you were a fan of the bands past material, then you will certainly find Deep Blue to be another enjoyable album in Parkway Drive’s discography.

1. Samsara
2. Unrest
3. Sleepwalker
4. Wreckage
5. Deadweight
6. Alone
7. Pressures
8. Deliver Me
9. Karma
10. Home Is For The Heartless
11. Hollow
12. Leviathan I
13. Set To Destroy

Parkway Drive formed in the summer of 2003, their name coming from the street they used to practice on in their home town of Byron Bay, Australia. Not long after they had formed, they released a split EP with Adelaide band I Killed The Prom Queen who have since disbanded. Later that year, the band also made an appearance on the Byron Bay Hardcore compilation What We've Built, preceded by their debut EP, Don't Close Your Eyes.

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