The style may be the same, but the method is different

Plenty will disagree, but there’s a lot of similarities between the early days of AC/DC and Parkway Drive.

While the styles might be different, the methodology is the same. Like AC/DC, Parkway have achieved their level of success through sheer hard work and a single-minded purpose to keep doing it their own way. It would have been easy for them to have been snapped up by a faltering international label or put into development-roster hell after the success of their last two albums, yet they remain independent. And they’ve done it all with virtually no support from the mainstream industry, which continues to stand back and stare in awe as they go from strength to strength. As AC/DC spawned a mini industry of bad-ass boogie bands around the country, so Parkway Drive has planted the seed for the ever-burgeoning local metalcore scene.

And with Atlas they continue to stay way ahead of them all. The style may be the same, but the method is different. There is no doubting this is the same Parkway Drive, only super-sized, like the burger with everything you didn’t know you needed or even liked until you started tucking in. The hooks are bigger, the production immense, with multi layers of sound hiding barely discernible melodies under the weight of guitars. The chugging breakdown remains at the core of their songs, but the riffs are better and much more varied and the guitar solos are far more interesting. Atlas sounds truly epic at times, with tracks like “Wild Eyes” bristling with guitar tapping and vocal chants and surging strings adding a new dimension to the title track. “The River” breaks out with acoustics and a female vocalist and closer “Blue and the Grey” is an absolute monster. Other aspects are more familiar: “Swing” has the punkish edge of Horizons and the likes of “Dark Days” and “Sleight of Hand” could have been left overs from Deep Blue. Lyrically, Winston McCall continues to mature as a song writer with environmental themes and issues of global consciousness making up much of the content, as if taking on the weight of the world like the Classical figure with whom the album shares its name. The biggest minus is Ben Gordon’s drum sound – it lacks the huge boom of previous efforts and is overall comparatively flat.

Parkway Drive is a band that has matured and grown into their style – where once they were mere imitators, they are now world leaders. Atlas shows why.

1. Sparks
2. Old Ghosts/New Regrets
3. Dream Run
4. Wild Eyes
5. Dark Days
6. The River
7. Swing
8. The Slow Surrender
9. Atlas
10. Sleight of Hand
11. Snake Oil and Holy Water
12. Blue and the Grey