Parkway Drive has always been a fan of experimenting with their sound, pushing boundaries where they can. What started on Deep Blue carries through on Atlas in a big way.
Parkway Drive fans are split into three parties; those that like Horizons and Killing With A Smile, those that like Deep Blue and those that like everything that the band comes out with. Ever since ‘Dark Days’ came out, a rivalry started between these parties and anticipation for the release grew by the minute.
Atlas is an album full of contrast, much more so than any other work Parkway Drive has released prior to this. From acoustic parts to clean female vocals, it is all there. Album opener ‘Sparks’ introduces us to a new and more mature Parkway Drive, which is not scared to try out new things. It starts off with an acoustic track, which is quickly joined by marching drums and spoken word verses, transition into some haunting screams by Winston McCall, who manages to give his lyrics a very haunting feeling.
This acoustic intro transitions seamlessly into ‘Old Ghosts/New Regrets,’ a song that sounds like it could belong on Deep Blue. The song features some impressive harmonies, brutal drumming and in all fairness sounds like ‘Karma’ on speed. This song, together with ‘Dark Days’ will lead the charge when it comes to the live shows, as both feature extremely strong hooks and lyrics that will linger around in your head long after you stop listening.
‘Wild Eyes’ features some of the most impressive Ben Gordon has delivered to date. Combined with the guitar riffs written by Jeff Ling and Luke Kilpatrick, ‘Wild Eyes’ is a massive, thundering track, complete with gang chants and a classic Parkway Drive breakdown, driven by McCall’s impressive vocals.
‘The River’ could be considered an intermission, bridging the two parts of the album. It features clean, female vocals and a very down-tempo guitar, which builds up to another massive melodious part, and a harmony between both vocalists.
The second part of the album is kicked off by ‘Swing,’ which is another display of Gordon’s impressive drumming. This is a track that would be right at home on ‘Horizons.’ Title track ‘Atlas’ is very ominous, and is a perfect way of just how far McCall’s vocals have improved since Deep Blue. McCall is one of the most talented vocalists in modern-day metalcore and ‘Atlas’ once again reinforces that.
Even though this album features a lot of experimentation and a different sound than we are used to, it is still a Parkway Drive album, just one that is far more mature. This is one of the best metalcore albums to come out in recent years.
Track list – Atlas
- Old Ghosts/New Regrets
- Dream Run
- Wild Eyes
- Dark Days
- The River
- The Slow Surrender
- Sleight of Hand
- Snake Oil and Holy Water
- Blue and The Grey
Written by Richard Bos