Parkway Drive - Killing With a Smile (Cover Artwork)

Parkway Drive

Killing With a Smile (2006)


Apparently Parkway Drive didn't get the memo that metalcore was on its last leg. Instead, they've proceeded to create an album of generic psuedo-metal riffs, double bass beats, and Cookie Monster vocals. Like breakdowns? They've got them. Like finger-tapping and chugga chugga parts? Yeah, they've got those too. I could just make this easy and describe them as "brutal," the quintessential adjective used in conjunction with this type of band, but this is not brutal, this is simply a band going through the motions. Parkway Drive scored a copy of the metalcore handbook (shit must be on its 10th printing by now) and, like countless bands before them, simply followed it step by step.

At times I thought the album might have been a joke (see band name and record title), a group exploiting the pitiful idiosyncrasies and trappings of an oversaturated genre, but sadly Parkway Drive is not laughing. Instead they are spouting misogyny and hyperbolic drivel at every turn. Just check out the pathetic "She said goodbye / So cry me a fucking river, bitch / you wouldn't know love if it crushed your fucking chest," from the wonderfully titled "Romance Is Dead," or the typical "If looks could kill, you'd be a fucking shotgun against my head so fucking cold / Picture perfect and pathetic / I would so love to hang you / You're like a shotgun baby, pointed at my head / And those lips are suicide, but I just want to see you dead" from "Picture Perfect, Pathetic."

Even the artwork for Killing With a Smile could serve as an archetype for metalcore bands. See that dead guy on the cover? Wondering how he ended up in that alley? Well, you are in luck cause the mystery is solved via liner notes. Photograph one shows a couple walking hand in hand while the female from said couple smiles at a passerby who just happens to be the man that adorns the cover. Meanwhile, her boyfriend scowls in disapproval. Photograph two and three show the angered boyfriend with his girlfriend pressed up against a wall while he screams into her upset face. Photograph four shows the pissed boyfriend (who, by the way, is wearing a sweet pair of ripped jeans) removing a gun from his pants, and well if you can't figure out what happens next, then you might be stupid enough to actually like this album.

The fact that labels are still signing bands of this style, especially ones that don't possess even a hint of innovation is just frustrating. Killing With a Smile is a mindless affair that is unable to avoid any of metalcore's pitfalls. Parkway Drive could have created a picture of metalcore as they see it, but instead they were content to trace the works of those who came before.