Ah, Parkway Drive. They’re another one of those bands that I had only heard of on the t-shirts of emaciated boys in skinny jeans. Now, I don’t want to generalise, but in my experience the music that they listen to is absolute, total, complete, 100% shart. I will, however, listen to this album with an open mind and willing ears, endeavouring to provide yet more unbiased reviewmanship for you, dear reader.
The album begins with Samsara, which consists of a minute of atmospheric noise build up then a breakdown. Yes, it begins with a breakdown. Well it’s good to see them utterly confounding my low expectations with such a devastatingly creative and original idea. This, as well as highlighting their crushing lack of compositional skill, also demonstrates that they have no concept of what a ‘breakdown’ is, as you usually need something to actually break from. 1 minute 45 seconds in and I already want to go on a shooting holiday to Cumbria.
Ah well, ever onward, and the second song, Unrest, is just really generic metalcore, the sort that actually makes you want to go to Skynet and travel back in time to murder At The Gates. You arrive naked in a sphere of light in 1990, sourcing some clothing and weapons before setting out to the Bjorler abode with the intention of blowing them away for their future crimes, only to be interrupted. Instead you explain to them the seriousness of what their pioneering sound would go on to inspire, before all uniting to go off together and blow up their studio for the benefit of mankind. This riff then goes into a half speed breakdown, then, lo and behold, quarter speed. It used to be that not being able to write riffs would have been a hindrance to your career, but apparently it is now all the rage and to take just one chord and play it at a variety of speeds is a sure-fire path to success.
This may shock you, but there are actually some decent parts on this album, and at times it could even be classed as enjoyable – in the same way one might take pleasure from a handjob given by the man that has just murdered your family. These parts might be forgivable if they were sprinkled sparingly on an album, as an element used to colour a solid song, but this album is built up from a bundle of little bits – a shout along here, a little tapping piece there… Any momentum that briefly seems to be gathering is quickly interrupted by some atrocious ‘gang-vocals’, a cringe-worthy pre-breakdown shout or yet another knuckle-dragging beat down and the album limps ever on. A mid-paced song, a slightly-quicker-than-mid-paced song, a delicate tapping or picked opening followed by mid-paced song and repeat.
I enjoy a bit of hardcore now and then and I like melodic death metal, but if you compare the contents of Deep Blue to the best in those genres this is just fucking shite, even compared to the relative mediocrity of Unearth, who did the whole breakdown metalcore thing so much better 10 years ago. What really boils my piss though, is that it’s the continued success of bands like Parkway Drive that prevents bands with a genuine potential for mainstream appeal like Insomnium or The Absence from getting the recognition and sales they deserve.
This album is metal music for people that hate metal, it’s for teenage boys that want to impress girls with their angry yet vulnerable taste in music, it’s metal for people that ‘listen to a bit of everything really’, but mainly it’s music for posers. Shit cunt posers.