"Parkway Drive have transcended generations, genres and cultures and because of this, a worldwide adoration has followed deservedly."
It could be argued that the metalcore juggernaut that is Parkway Drive — the five surf rats that became professional musicians and changed the world of a genre which continues to grow — have more than likely travelled to paradise. Spending the majority of their years touring the other side of the world to their home nation, it is privilege which the quintet is undoubtedly thankful for. Having said that, the sold-out Thebarton Theatre certainly surprised and welcomed Parkway Drive whole-heartedly; leaving an impression which Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai captures perfectly with this quote: "If you go anywhere, even paradise, you will miss your home." These words without doubt sang very true for this prestigious event.
Arizona's The Word Alive had the honour of opening this occasion and their role as operner was apt. To be frank, the quintet seemed like a far cry from an outfit with a seven-year history and three studio albums to their name; they appeared more like a high school band. Sadly pushing a bland sound and exuding cringeworthy mediocrity, the band's brand of pop-riddled metalcore had no captivating elements at all. Their heavier track The Hounds Of Anubis showed a glimmer of hope, especially with some excellent solos, however their aloofness and stage persona maintained that what their band names conveys is far from their actual identity.
Memphis May Fire followed and instantly stamped a presence that well and truly overshadowed the openers. My Generation boasted a singalong from their fans which showed that despite the past mistakes and controversies of frontman Matty Mullins, there is still a lot of adoration for the proud Christian. Stay The Course and The Sinner were executed impressively but their "preaching" nature also caused a conflict which was hard to digest. Mr Mullins is a strange presence in the live scenario, stalking the stage like a spider monkey, but there is no denying his talent to move from powerful shrieks and growls to catchy melodies. This was better, but far from the best.
Finally an Australian act took to the stage. The authority of deathcore outfit Thy Art Is Murder was immediately felt like a tidal wave of superb horror leaving a path of destruction. Confrontational, deafening and yet somehow inspirational, TAIM could have easily headlined and the idea of a grander stage worked in their favour. The Purest Strain Of Hate was terrifyingly explosive; Coffin Dragger was so motivating that Winston McCall from Parkway Drive decided it best to create a duet for the track. Closer Holy War marked the band as a global force. On top of the provocative topics TAIM negotiate lyrically, and their insanity as a heavy metal outfit, the sense of humour the quintet embrace is very contagious. Would any other deathcore band in the world would ask for the crowd to enter the mosh pit for not a "circle pit" but in fact a "twerkle pit"? Genius.
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A banner hid Parkway Drive from the audience, but the first notes of Destroyer saw its ascension and the band hitting full flight with cannons erupting a confetti storm. This is a different version of Parkway Drive and it is very impressive. The days of fake stage waves and costumed crowd surfers are simply a part of the band's past now; instead, pyrotechnics and stadium metal near anthem levels are the name of the game. It's a transition that is magnetic to say the least; somewhat reminiscent of Lamb Of God. Dying To Believe cemented PWD's transformation further, but as career musicians, not beach enthusiasts (even though their love for the ocean has not diminished one iota).
Frontman Winston McCall further displayed his talents with Carrion and Karma, barely missing a beat. Parkway proved incredible fluidity in their execution of Dark Days, which new single Vice Grip somehow outdid with a surprising singalong from South Australians of monumental levels. Idols And Anchors, Deliver Me, Sleepwalker, Wild Eyes, Bottom Feeder, Romance Is Dead and Swing had Thebarton Theatre trembling and there was no doubt that the quintet were joyous over being back in Australia.
An encore of Crushed and Home Is For The Heartless finished off the night in perfect fashion. Conclusively Parkway Drive have transcended generations, genres and cultures and because of this, a worldwide adoration has followed deservedly. Though their music may be volatile, their honesty, humbleness, appreciation and Australianism has built them a career, and thankfully Australia doesn't have to wait years to see the Byron Bay boys again — only months.