By Tom Farmer
The heavy metal hippies from Byron Bay, Australia have come out with a new record recently and, to be honest, it threw me off.
From their first album “Killing With A Smile”, songs like “Smoke ’em if you got ’em” and “Romance is dead” were the typical sound that the band delivered. Heavy breakdowns, intense growls and screams are the norm for Winston, the vocalist for the band, and metalcore fans around the world saw them as an up and coming super power in the metal scene. After their second full length album, Horizons, was released, a few spots on Warped Tour got them tons of American publicity. Their next album, Deep Blue, took more of a relaxed metal sound if you can believe that metal can be relaxed. The fast, solo driven intensity of the first 2 albums were scrapped for a more heavy and almost monotone sound. Winstons voice did not reach as high as it did in previous albums but the growls and screams are still passionate and as extreme as ever. The album after Deep Blue, Atlas, the 4th full release from the band was experimental but had the same mechanics as the Deep Blue album. Relaxed but still beat your eardrums down.
Parkways latest album, IRE, was even more of an experimental album than Atlas. When you listen to the other albums by them, you get a good understanding of what the album is about and how the sound and emotion of the album is delivered. IRE will confuse you at first, but it will not disappoint the casual metal fan. The first single off the album “Vice Grip” was a song I did not know how to feel about at first. It sounded like an 80’s style power metal riff with modern metalcore vocals. It’s very unique and to be honest, I’m still not 100 percent sold on the song because it still throws me off even after all this time. The second single “Crushed” sounded straight out of the late 90’s and early 200o’s “nu metal” scene. Almost kind of a rap with the vocals but had the heavy riffs like the Deep Blue and Atlas albums. Overall, IRE, I believe, is at least worth listening to one time. I purchased the album day one because I am a fanboy but this is a great album for an up and coming metal fan or the 80’s-90’s metal heads that want a bit of nostalgia.