5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2012
"Fantastic" comes to mind when I think of "Atlas". I had been anticipating this record for a long time. I've listened to Parkway Drive for a couple of years and have loved them ever since I first heard them. I've liked all of their albums. Their sound has changed gradually over the years, but not in any way bad. It's been a refining change, defining who they are, and I think it's great. "Atlas" isn't like "Killing With a Smile", it isn't like "Horizons", and it isn't even quite like "Deep Blue" (for all who have listened to their previous records). There are fast songs, and there are slow songs, but all are heavy like Parkway Drive songs have always been. Winston McCall's screams are better than ever, and the drum and guitar work is great as always. On "Atlas" there are a lot more acoustic/clean guitar sections, and even some orchestrated sections. I think it all ties the moral of the album together.
There are few CDs out there that I can buy, put in, and love right away and listen to over and over again--this was one of them. I put the CD in and really just started smiling because I liked it so much. It starts off much like how "Horizons" and "Deep Blue" started off, with an acoustic part, sort of an introduction to the album. And then it goes in with a bang--a really fast song. The fast songs are distributed evenly throughout the record and intermixed with songs that I might call metal-ballads: they are a little slower, but not boringly slow, and heavy. They're the kind of songs I think are too far and few in the metal genre. Parkway Drive has filled that void.
Any fan of Parkway Drive won't be disappointed with "Atlas", and anyone who has just heard about them, and enjoys hardcore/metal, will like this album. I highly recommend it. It is superbly done.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2012
As the title says, there just isn't a bad song on this album. These guys have been progressing as a band without straying too far from their overall style. I disagree with another reviewer who implied this was akin to the Metallica Black Album. Parkway in no way strayed that far from their original style with this album. If anything, I think it is much closer to Horizons than Deep Blue. I agree with another reviewer who said the last song "Blue and the Grey" is an epic masterpiece that rivals/passes Horizons. I wish Parkway Drive would put out an album full of "last songs" on their albums because it seems they closeout each album with a 5-6 minute masterpiece. Anyways, this album is a no brainer for Parkway Drive fans, and I would highly suggest it as a starting place for anyone new to the genre as well. In my opinion, where Killing with a Smile and Deep Blue are 4/5 stars, this album, along with Horizons, is a 5 star album and their best work.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2012
INcessant personal recollection of how I hot into Parkway Drive incoming, if you want just the review, skip below where I Break down each song. Parkway Drive has been an instant classic in my collection. I acquired Horizons a couple years back and quickly scrambled to get Deep Blue and Killing With a Smile. I am a fan on Metalcore, but I hate how stagnant the majority (not all, some do it well) of the bands become. This band seemed to evolve consistently throughout their career. Each album grows a little more than the one that preceded it, but each are great albums.
I was curious where they would go after Deep Blue, a narrative about a character who realizes the truth behind society and the real intent of an oppressive world and gets taken into the ocean via the undertow to meditate on his thoughts, turning to anger and rising from the water to destroy what he once called home. Atlas is a step in a different, but very welcomed direction. There are some songs that are softer and more melodic, but in no means have they abandoned the heaviness and aggression they have achieved in their sound.
1) Sparks (10/10)- An amazing intro that sets the tone for the entire album both lyrically and musically. To describe it in one word: "Epic" The music fades in with soft and ethereal sounds and acoustic guitar, then flows into a spoken word poem that guides the music into an awesome crescendo and ending with heavy crunches to introduce you to the next Track.
2) Old Ghosts/New Regrets (9/10) - Classic hardcore song. Totally brutal from beginning to end. I'll be saying this a bunch, but the lyrics are much more personal in this album and this song really shakes the foundation with both lyrics and music. If I'm not mistaken, Keith Buckley (of Every Time I die) screams alongside Winston that is just crushing.
3) Dream Run (9/10) - Ben (drummer) really has one of the cleanest double kick rhythms that just flow so well, and thats what shines the most on this track. This is by no means a bad song, but compared to some of the other tracks on this record, this one isn't quite on "that" level.
4) Wild Eyes (10/10) - This song's opening has a lone guitar playing a slick riff and gang chorus vocals harmonize fade in right before the rest of the band comes in. Then it fades into a roller coaster that keeps bringing around that riff from the opening alongside the gang vocals, a structure they like to use and execute greatly.
5) Dark Days (10/10) - This song was the first single they released before the album came out. This one had me extremely excited to hear the remainder of the album. It starts out almost misleading, it just doesn't let up and Ben (drummer) sticks to his lightning quick feet to pull off some amazing build ups throughout the entire song. Winston has really outdone himself on the lyrics on this album and this song is a perfect example of that. Winston screams "DROP IT!" a midst an already brutal beat and the music shifts to an even more brutal beat to end the song... classic
6) The River (10/10) - This song opens with ethereal female vocals and features clean guitar as well. Not that it's never been utilized, but it's an awesome change of pace with these guys. Then the rhythm picks up and sounds reminiscent of "Five Months" from Horizons. Then the music slows it down again with an amazing back and forth between Winston and the female singer. Then the music plays out with both Winston and the female vocalist singing/screaming over wailing wah pedal infused guitar riffs and a crunchy rhythm section. You think they've gone soft? Just wait until track 7...
7) Swing (10/10) - This song is just holy s--t amazing. It is incredibly brutal from the first second to the explosive end. I can't wait to hear this one in concert, sure to be a mosh pleaser. This song has the most wicked drum parts that starts about 2 minutes in and just continues to amaze through the last second of the song. The guitars remain busy to blend in perfectly with the earthquake inducing drumming throughout. Winston screams "END IT!" at the end (duh) and, oh boy they do with a gnarly note and the guttural screaming.
8) The Slow Surrender (7.5/10) - This song opens with a guitar/bass riff that reminds me of Nirvana's Lithium. Not that it's a bad one, just not up to the benchmark these guys have created for themselves. In my opinion it kind of drags at the beginning and picks up after the first verse, but then drops the ball after a breakdown where the music is soft and there is a DJ scratch sample of winston's line "The Devil Dances in Idle Minds"... I absolutely hate it. I have tried to like it, I really did, but I don't. Doesn't ruin the song, but this is the weakest link in a near perfect chain of an album. I skip it sometimes :/
9) Atlas (11/10) - Even though I listen to mostly metalcore and heavy music, I absolutely love classical instruments and classical music, so I was stoked when this song decided to utilize some. This song opens up with Pink Floyd-esque open chord strum with what sounds like maybe chorus and reverb with clean settings. Then it picks up into a mid tempo jam that has violins, clean and distorted guitars ringing over the drums melodic beat and then crescendos into an amazing epic that really is just beyond words. I implore any person who wanted this song to be heavy and to discard it for the fact that it isn't "brutal" to really give it a chance. This song has some truly beautiful moments that made me completely floored once I realized the scope these guys had for the album.
10) Sleight of Hand (10/10) - After a mid tempo epic, this song fades in slowly with an amp fuzz going with a held out note and then dives into another clean double kick treat that grooves into the verse, which on top of the clean musical transitions has Winston bringing his signature honest and brutal lyrics and delivery. A great song to welcome you into the conclusion of this musical journey.
11) Snake Oil and Holy Water (10/10) - This song opens with a brutal guttural sounds of Winston with the band coming in almost immediately and with vengeance. Winston keeps the lyrics brutal and honest (he seems to do that) and the band keeps the train barreling through the last moment of this song. Short and amazingly sweet track.
12) The Blue and The Grey (14/10) - "Horizons" was (keyword WAS) my favorite closing to an album Parkway had ever done, closing with an epic song that pushes the 6 minute mark. Not a record breaker, but certainly lengthy for the style of music. This song is another one that is beyond words at how amazing it is. From the structure to the riffs to the lyrical quality and lyrical delivery. In a nutshell, this song is one that really made me stop what I was doing and demanded my attention. It starts with what sounds like a trumpet holding out an odd note and just eases you in with acoustic guitars and more amazingly personal and deep lyrics. Winston delivers probably the greatest lyrical delivery in this song over any other song. I say this because it sounds like he is really at war with himself and tormented, especially when describing looking at his reflection in the water. SICKEST. CLOSER. EVER.
That's my winded review, it honestly could've been a ten page essay, but I decided to scale it back. In other words, if you have a fleeting interest in heavy music and/or this band, this is the album to listen to. All I can say is that I am so damn proud that these guys can deliver such an amazing album after putting out fantastic albums previously. Rarely does a band in any genre (although I can't REALLY classify Parkway) deliver consistent musicianship and quality like the Aussies. Bravo guys
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2012
This album took me a couple times through before I really enjoyed it. At first, it seemed like any other metalcore album with some "extras" added in (trumpets, orchestra, DJ scratching, etc.). Nothing really "stuck" with me, unlike their previous albums like Killing with a Smile and Horizons. Songs like Frostbite and Idols and Anchors stuck with me after and I was replaying them in my head all day. It wasn't so with this album...at first. However, I sat down and listened to it and appreciated the details. This is a phenomenal album. Blue and the Grey might be my favorite song by Parkway Drive, or by any metalcore band. At first the trumpet sounded "out of tune" and just misplaced. But for whatever reason, the song clicked for me. I absolutely love it. If you don't enjoy the album or any other song, at least listen to and appreciate Blue and the Grey for what it is. It blends trumpet, guitars, deep vocals, pounding drums, together perfectly. The last "third" of the song when the trumpet starts to the end, might be my favorite section of music I've heard in a long time. Do yourself a favor, and the band, and buy this album. It will not disappoint.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2013
I was all set to crush this album after a first listen through, but after subsequent runs through I have to say this is a solid album. Start to finish was one of the better albums I'd heard recently...but it wasn't memorable. As a fan of their earlier work and Killing With A Smile is one of my favorite albums, Atlas just didnt have that same throat punch of guitar work as on previous efforts. Every song on Atlas is good, no weak points, but at the same time none of them had me starting the album over or ticking back tracks to rehear a song. When the album was over I just put on Horizons. If you are a Parkway Drive fan you'll probably want to pick this up, but you may find yourself in the same position I was, not blown away and wanting a little more throttle to your songwriting.
on October 30, 2012
Parkway Drive are an Australian Metalcore band (who call themselves a Hardcore Band) from the beautiful Byron Bay area, notable for their unconventionally interesting travelogue-esque documentary releases. 2012's Atlas is their fourth full-length studio album. It was produced by Matt Hyde and released on Epitah Records.
If you aren't familiar with the band they may initially appear to lack a clear identifying hook or quirk to differentiate themselves from all the other Metalcore bands out there. If you only heard six seconds of music for example you may not be instantly able to tell that its specifically Parkway Drive and not someone else. If you hear an entire song or album however it will probably become clear that Parkway Drive's real selling point however is that they simply do it so very, very well.
Besides a signature standard of quality, the band have always had a signature sound that they largely stick within (much like AC/DC, Slayer, Hatebreed or Killswitch Engange do) and like all of their albums before, the majority of the music on Atlas is no grand departure from the type of music that you would expect the band to play.
The band evolve slowly from album to album, as opposed to suddenly being a Jazz band on one album and then playing a mixture of Country Music and Black Metal on the next. The good thing about this is that if you like what they do, you get more of it. The bad thing is that if you are sick of it, you get more of it, and it'll take a few albums until the sound has evolved enough to be considered notably different.
Whether you view it as staying true to their core ideals or a lack of variety will ultimately depend on you. Personally, I'm happy with the band's ratio of evolution and stylistic-stability. On this album, tracks like `Swing,' `Dark Days' and `Sleight Of Hand' are all examples of exactly what Parkway Drive do best and any one of them would serve as a fine introduction to the band for a newcomer or reaffirmation for an existing fan.
The same syncopated double-kicks are there, the same breaks of effects-laden clean guitar are there, the same mix of shouts and death vocals (and notable absence of commercial sounding radio-friendly clean choruses) from frontman Winston McCall are there and the same crunchy, low-pitched rhythmic breakdowns are there as always. There are also some sections of gang-chanting backing vocals here and there and intermittent touches of lead guitar and a small amount of blast beats as usual.
Within that familiar sound however; Atlas can still provide a few surprises, most notably on the Title Track which features a string section, on `The River' which has female vocals briefly and on `The Slow Surrender' which is uncharacteristically structured, comparatively slow and features turntable scratching.
Some fans may reject the additions or cry sell out, but at the end of the day as long as you are a Parkway Drive fan to begin with, all that should matter is whether or not the songs are any good, and luckily they are good. Very good indeed.
There are some seriously great riffs, memorable vocal patterns, fun tom-rolls and catchy breakdowns on this album and practically no song is devoid of something to make you grin, filled as they are with little touches like hitting the bell on the ride at a certain point or ending a riff with a vibrato. The sort of thing that you pick up on with repeat listens and grow to love.
Overall; As long as you like the band to begin with and haven't got tired their formula yet then you'll probably love Atlas. It is a well constructed, excellently produced collection of yet more Parkway Drive songs to enjoy. There may be some debate within the fanbase as to exactly where this ranks against other Parkway Drive albums but regardless of the outcome of that debate, it is still undoubtedly a very good album that you should absolutely consider adding to your collection.
on November 19, 2012
This is by far the best Parkway Drive album yet. Let's remember that in the metalcore genre, progression is extremely hard. Many cannot or have not strayed far from their original work and their future success (or lack thereof) has shown. Others have adapted and grown and progressed. As I Lay Dying comes to mind. Parkway Drive keeps to its old roots while still blending in a new feel to this record. It is usually concerning to me when bands are putting out album's as fast as Parkway Drive is, however they have seem to make it work and more importantly, make it better.
This is album is solid from start to finish. I can personally say I have not bought a CD in a few years. I believe the last album I bought was Deftone's "Diamond Eyes" (which was "meh" at best). Like with many albums, there are a few songs I like and some I don't after a couple of listens. This album does not have a single song on it I dislike. Of course, there are some favorites of mine (The Slow Surrender, Dark Days, Wild Eyes, The River, Swing, and Blue and the Grey), but the whole work is a solid piece of music.
I would say this is one of the best metal(core) albums in recent memory. Hopefully Parkway Drive can continue their growth and progression as artists and deliver future solid albums like "Atlas", but if they were to "hang it up" tomorrow, they would go down in my book as one of the best metalcore bands ever.
on November 25, 2012
I've been listening to Parkway Drive since their first release. They've been one of my favorite bands over the years. This is an amazing album. I'd call it the 2nd best metalcore release of 2012 only behind As I Lay Dying's "Awakened." Horizons will always be my favorite Parkway album (don't get me wrong, this album is still awesome). The lyrics on this album are incredible. It's a really really deep album. Lot's of dark stuff. Mixed in with the classic Parkway brutality just makes it insane. Great vocals and instruments as usual. "Dark Days" and "The River" are probably my two favorites. I can't stop listening to it! Every song is just that good.
on March 31, 2014
Parkway Drive is a band I feel can do no wrong. Every song on this album is brilliant in my opinion and I could listen to it over and over again without tiring any track. "Swing" is an intensely amazing track that gets my blood pumping and ready to mosh every time I hear it! If you're looking for some music to get you pumped up to run or workout, this is the band to listen to. These guys are my all time favorite and I think one of the best out there. This is a buy more than worth the money and I can't wait for their next album. No doubt it will be another flawless masterpiece.
on April 16, 2015
Parkway Drive should be in every melodic metal / metalcore fan's discography. Atlas is a great album from start to finish. Many of their songs will give you chills, especially if you listen closely to the lead singer's lyrics. Lots of screaming, but not obnoxiously. His lyrical style flows with the rest of the bands riffs and makes the whole album flow very well. Definitely recommended - if you're curious, check out the videos for Dark Days and Wild Eyes. The River is also a song that flows and has a powerful message behind it.