Australian metalcore giants, Parkway Drive, have been quite the phenomenon the last decade or so. Since their inception in 2003 Parkway Drive have gone from strength to strength delivering milestones such as 2007's 'Horizons', 2010's 'Deep Blue' and most recently 2015's 'Ire'. Across these records Parkway Drive's sound has been defined by riffs that can be just as burley and ferocious as they can be melodic and slick, as well as hyper rhythms and beastly screeching vocals, which gives something almost any kind of metal fan can get into. They hit Leeds to play a sold out O2 Academy tonight, where they nearly ruin the place.
Stick To Your Guns kick off tonight with their straight-up, swinging hardcore. The speedy riffs and guttural vocals get people moshing from the very start, and along with Jesse Barnett's inspiring speeches about bettering the world in these scary times, they leave quite the impact and feel like more than just another hardcore band.
Next up is Asking Alexandria who are about as dividing as bands get. There are plenty of people who think this band are a joke for their processed, unimaginative breakdown after breakdown, with some hair-metal leanings, approach; but then there are many who are more than happy just to put their brain aside and have fun with their meathead sound. As for how they are tonight, they won't win over any naysayers, but they'll keep their own fans satisfied. There are pits from the off and as for them onstage, whilst they're not exactly pouring blood, sweat and tears into the show; there's nothing offensively bad about them, aside from some horrendous, awkward stage banter.
Luckily, Parkway Drive hit the stage and the place becomes nothing short of a warzone. Despite this being a big room, there is very little space that's safe on the floor tonight from gigantic whirlwinds of pits. Seriously if you want to stay out of the action tonight, you'd have to be right against the walls or at the back and even then, you'd still have to be on guard. Parkway Drive's maladjusted crush and impeccable melody is bound to get anyone going, whether you want to go hard or just bounce.
'Carrion' features their tastiest licks and harmonies, but still has people moving, down to Winston McCall's bludgeoning vocals as well as the burley swing of the song. Most bands would save this for last, but it's only the second song in Parkway Drive's arsenal tonight and they have no problem raising the momentum throughout the night. 'Karma' gets storming circle pits going thanks to its scattering drums and speedy, but well-spaced fretwork. 'Dark Days' builds and builds up tension with spidery progressions, before the jump scare comes in the form of brick-to-face heavy guitar stabs.
When it comes to 'Boneyards', McCall reminisces when they'd first written this song and they played the much missed, cult favourite Leeds venue Joseph's Well to about five people. They've sure come a long way since, yet on this floor it feels like they're playing a basement room, the way the place is rammed and there is absolutely no escape from the bedlam. However, when you get a look at Parkway Drive onstage, it's like they're playing an arena with them being armed with pyro, cannons and confetti as well as McCall possessive command he has of the audience, constantly spurring them to go on, even right up until the end of the show.
This was a great time, a dangerous time, but a blast none-the-less. Whilst they play Parkway Drive feel like the best band in the world in their realm of chuggy, breakdown metal. They just seem to have the best craft for balancing bone-breaking punch with irresistible tune and you're gonna want to jump, slam, crowdsurf, etc to the absolute max to their songs.