When Parkway Drive released the single “Vice Grip” from their latest album, Ire, I had my doubts about what the rest of the album would be like. I sensed a new direction that was all too similar to bands that have seriously softened or altered their sound recently (cough, BMTH). Fortunately for everyone involved, Ire is absolutely nothing you were expecting. There are some attempts at singing from a guy not known for clean vocals (Winston McCall). There are a couple of songs with vocals I can only describe as spoken word-esque. There are also instances of gang vocals–even some brief chanting. Catchy, brutal and inspiring, this record is delightfully refreshing with its broad spectrum of songs. “Writings on the Wall” and “A Deathless Song” are not decidedly metalcore songs, while “Vice Grip” offers everything you could want from the genre, and “Bottom Feeder” is as angry as it gets.
“Writings on the Wall,” a slow-starting, violin-laced ballad, is the jewel of the album. It has a Gothic ambiance with a revolutionary vibe.
“They came for our minds
We said nothing
They came for our hopes
We said nothing
They came for our souls
We still we said nothing
Now they’re coming for our lives
So what’s it gonna take?”
The song seems, at first, misplaced in an album ripe with thunderous vocals and the nonstop chugging of melodic guitars, but it is its uniqueness and its call to action that makes it so memorable.
Songs like “Dedicated” and “The Sound of Violence” bring the frenzied sounds Parkway Drive is known for, but still demonstrate the band’s evolution. Yes, they are formulaic in structure, but what the band does with their vocals and instrumentals overcomes this issue and gives us one of the best metalcore albums of the year.
by David Marulanda