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Saturday, 20 February 2016

Another Point Of View: Parkway Drive (Review By Lee)

Parkway Drive, Bury Tomorrow, Thy Art Is Murder, Manchester O2 Apollo

On a very chilly saturday night out in Manchester, myself and Dan check out a pretty decent bill featuring Thy Art Is Murder, Bury Tomorrow and the headline act Parkway Drive. Having looked at the line up, I was surprised to see that Bury Tomorrow had the main support slot but that certainly didn’t take anything away from Thy Art Is Murder who recently have reshuffled again with singer CJ McMahon leaving the band. For the European tour, they were taking Nick Arthur from Molotov Solution and boy did he fit the line up.

Thy Art Is Murder

Thy Art Is Murder took to the stage as I was still making my way to my seat but heard “Good evening Manchester” before they let rip into Absolute Genocide. This was good, this was very good. They sounded fantastic, so I tip my hat to the sound technicians for the bill. They were definitely not in the mood to fuck around and not a single foot was out of place as they tore through this song. They continued on with material from their last album Holy War with Coffin Dragger, that recognisable riff coupled with some insane drumming from Lee Stainton really started to wake up the Manchester crowd that certainly kept that mosh pit spinning throughout the set. TAIM dusted off their material from 2012’s Hate album by launching into The Purest Strain Of Hate which was a crowd favourite as well as mine. I was looking to see how technical they could play this song live and so far they were nailing everything and made it look effortless, this wasn’t an exception and after the incredible double-bass pedalling of Lee, the music stopped, Nick opened his arms and the crowd let rip a thunderous “THE PUREST STRAIN OF HATE”. I was hoping that the band would continue to go through their back catalog but with the time they had to play, it seemed like they couldn’t go past the Hate album. Sticking with that album, they just blasted through Shadow Of Eternal Sin and Reign Of Darkness before they tweaked the ending of Reign Of Darkness to merge with the introduction of Light Bearer which got the pit spinning again. Nick thanked the crowd after Light Bearer and introduced the final song of the set Holy War. It seemed fitting that the end with the title track off of the last album but I was really hoping it would be Whore To A Chainsaw but I was very happy with their set. They definitely are worth checking out if you like Death Metal and although it seemed odd they were on this bill, they made sure they belonged there. Great set, great performance, 8/10

Bury Tomorrow

It made sense that Bury Tomorrow belonged on the bill with the type of music that they played but it was very clear from the off that I wasn’t going to like what they do. They played two new songs off of their new release Earthbound and if lead singer Dani Winter-Bates didn’t stop and introduce the second song, I wouldn’t have known that it was a new song. Earthbound and 301 did nothing for me at all, very generic songs and I couldn’t figure out why a melodic metalcore band did nothing for me. They went into The Union Of Crowns’ featured song Lionheart which was good, the riff was good, it kind of reminded me slightly of a Whitechapel riff with intricate timing but then the chorus was just bland, it was such a shame that every chorus was the same 3 chords with the rhythm guitarist Jason Cameron adding very generic lyrics in the same way throughout the set. I haven’t really got much left to say about Bury Tomorrow. It didn’t do much for me but I can’t be too harsh on them, quite a lot of the crowd seemed to really like it and Dani had a really good response from them. It definitely seems like they are going down the Bring Me The Horizon route of cracking the mainstream with Dani mentioning that the band had cracked the Top 40 twice before thanking the crowd for buying their music, their merch and tickets to their shows before making a thought provoking remark which was simply “Come and hang out with us at the merch stand because fuck paid meet and greets, we’re just like you.” That was a very classy remark and deserved the round of applause it got. Well done lads, you’re cracking the mainstream, unfortunately it didn’t do much for me. 5/10

Parkway Drive

Pyro featuring Parkway Drive. That’s what we were all here for. Now it wasn’t the same level of pyro as a Rammstein set but it did certainly add dramatic flare to the set. The starting riff of Destroyer came through the sound system as you could see the band behind the faint IRE banner that covered the entirety of the stage. As the crowd started chanting “destroy” in time with the song, you hear Winston McCall belt out “DESTROY” before the curtain dropped and a streamer cannon was fired covering the venue in confetti and streamers which got the crowd going… and Dan who managed to catch a piece of confetti. For the next 8 or so minutes, the crowd got intense, the security who did a fine job of keeping crowd surfers safe certainly had their hands full as Winston kept teasing the crowd to come up as they belted through Destroy and Dying To Believe. Winston made no secrets that the set had some hard and fast songs as well as some toned down songs, asking the crowd to sing with him as the hauntingly beautiful intro to Carrion began to ring around the O2 Apollo. Parkway Drive were certainly playing to the crowd with the setlist choices and kept everyone happy with playing a couple of songs from every album and got a huge roar when he announced that the next song was Karma from 2010’s fantastic Deep Blue album before ripping into the slow-riffing and hard hitting Dark Days. Winston made an empowered speech about how every song he had ever wrote was about a tough time in his life and that the next song was about the good things which was a nice segue into Vice Grip which the crowd was singing along to. Jeff Ling then started the melodic riff to Idols & Anchors before the band got into full swing with the rest of the song. The band kept toying between heavy and melodic by following Dedicated up with Wild Eyes and what a sublime performance of Wild Eyes it was. 

The band turned up the heat with more pyro and the intricate riff/drum combo of Bottom Feeder before dabbling in their debut album with Romance Is Dead. The band are certainly making a name for themselves across the world and even though they’ve been selling out venues across Europe as a headline act, they are still supporting bands in the US. With a US tour coming up in May with A Day To Remember, that could have possibly have been a co-headline tour with their material and fan base certainly backing that up. The final song before the encore was Swing which was certainly enough to give fans one final shot at producing a hell of a pit and making security earn their money for the evening. After a pretty short break, the band came back on and the crowd seemed to be expecting Crushed. That’s exactly what the crowd got. With a line of fire ablaze across the stage, the introduction to Crushed got fans excited and when that hard-hitting guitaring along with some slow - almost painful (in a good way) drumming slowing the pace right down, this was going to definitely going the right way in sending fans home happy. IRE certainly owned this setlist but that was to be expected. If you’ve heard the album, it’s certainly up there for album of the year 2015. The finalĂ© was a bit unusual, but I don’t know what I would have expected to be their final song. Everything I thought it could have been was played. But they revisited the Deep Blue album with Home Is For The Heartless which a shower of sparks raining down on the stage, it was a pretty epic finalĂ©. The show overall was fantastic, I loved every second of it and the band seem to be getting better with time. The definitely earned the right to headline a tour and I’m really chuffed that they’ve been able to sell out the venues that they’ve been playing in across Europe, they are definitely at their best now so go and check them out. 10/10

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