Parkway Drive - Horizons (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Parkway Drive

Horizons (2007)


Parkway Drive, the latest emo-kid metal mashup imported to the U.S., succeeds in one of the important, but rarely defendable aspects of music. Following the eyeliner and glitter-sprinkled trail across the pond of Britain's Bullet for My Valentine and Germany's Caliban, Australia's Parkway Drive is, too, an impressive practitioner of imitation done well. And while the brash harvesting of Slayer riffage probably won't fool any mid-30 year-old with coiled locks past his shoulders, the band's emo/hardcore target audience will surely be wowed into approval at the heavy dose of soaring guitar solos and hyper-macho breakdowns.

If you've heard Parkway Drive and were paying at least a little attention through the first paragraph, there's a good chance you're ready to contest the association drawn to what I loosely refer to as "emo." And while you're correct that Rites of Spring bears little influence on Parkway Drive, the 2007 conceptualization that aligns more with an image and an emotionally burdened message is absolutely present. It's more than just the visual reflections that pin them to a far different identity than them despite their similarities. Part of it may be the incestual imitation that picked up when Avenged Sevenfold hit it big, eventually wrangling the Devil Wears Prada, Bullet for My Valentine, August Burns Red and any other exemplification of badass-meets-lame-ass bands. And with lyrics like, "Still I'm choking on the words I should have said one thousand times / And I'm cursing every memory / And I'm holding on until there's nothing left to save / Let every scar still bear your name / Every scar still bears an angel's face," there's little room to contest such an association.

Still, it's clear that the kids in Parkway Drive have at least listened to enough metal (and metalcore) to draw on its form and intricacies and spit out something halfway convincing. There are times, like in the ear drum assaulting "Feed Them to the Pigs" and "Breaking Point" that the ghost of Pantera cum excessive breakdowns ekes out with impressive guitar soloing to boot. However, there are also those spans, like the four-minute "Five Months" filled with a metal by numbers formula that demonstrate why a band like Parkway Drive can't ascend from the third or fourth tier of modern metal.