June 29, 2010 - Epitaph
From the eerie breathing that opens â€œSamsaraâ€ to the final burst of pointed aggression that rounds out closer â€œSet To Destroy,â€Â Parkway Drive give the performance of their livesÂ onÂ Deep Blue, and in doing so they have delivered one of the albums of 2010. While the Australian quintetâ€™s two previous full-lengthsâ€”2006â€™s Killing With A Smile and 2007â€™s Horizonsâ€”were powerful entities in their own right, every facet of Deep Blue sees the band striding dramatically forward. The whole thing is monstrously heavy, seething with primal energy, and shot through with melody without resorting to cheap hooks in the hope of snaring more â€œsensitiveâ€ listeners.
With truly gigantic production courtesy of Joe Barresi (The Melvins, Queens Of The Stone Age) every track powers home hard, and the band show far more ambition and inventiveness than previously hinted at. Part of the recordâ€™s strength is that no two tracks are alike, and while they are never less than utterly crushing, there is a wide range of dynamics. â€œSleepwalkerâ€ and â€œDeliver Meâ€ will undoubtedly be inciting devastating mosh pits for years to come, while â€œDeadweightâ€ has a grace to it that belies its name, and the meaty chuggery of â€œHollowâ€ is burly breakdown heaven. However, it is the bolder tracks that really make the biggest impression. â€œPressures,â€ which arrives at the halfway mark of the album, commences with the savage shrieking of vocalist Winston McCall and then thunders along through constantly evolving passages until halfway through the sound of a tape grinding to a halt and reversing kicks in, the song then literally working back through what has preceded it before culminating with McCallâ€™s throat-destroying vocals. Besting this though is the truly magnificent â€œHome Is For The Heartless,â€ which sees Bad Religion guitarist/Epitaph Records head honcho Brett Gurewitz lending a disaffected melodic vocal that could have been culled from Pink Floydâ€™s The Wallâ€”if Floyd wanted to really hurt youâ€”and the melodies of the track bind with its muscle in truly flooring style, making this one of the finest anti-anthems to emerge in metal in a long time.
If the music wasnâ€™t already powerful enough, the concept that ties the album togetherâ€”the story of a deeply disaffected man who departs from his empty city life to search for solitude at the bottom of the oceanâ€”really works with the ebb and flow of the whole thing, enhancing the sense that you really have taken a journey over the recordâ€™s 40 minutes. What is perhaps most impressive about Deep Blue however is that the band have made one of the most mind-numbingly oversaturated genres seem fresh and full of possibilities, carving a wide path through the endless wannabes champing at the metalcore bit. There really is something genuinely addictive about the record that will make you want to come back to it again and again, and it will leave you breathless every time.