Live Review: Parkway Drive, Leeds O2 Academy, 10.04.2017

Parkway Drive are a force to be reckoned with. No matter your opinion of them, nor your standing on the metal scene- whether you know their songs or you don’t, catch them live and you’ll just know you’ve been in the presence of something special. Tonight it’s the turn of Leeds to be show what’s what by the Aussie outfit.
Kicking things off are Stick To Your Guns- strolling onstage to Hall and Oates’ You Make My Dreams Come True, they launch into an immediate juxtaposition with Against Them All, instantly spurring mosh pits in its opening riffs. Nobody is a cornucopia of ferocity in a live setting, while Such Pain establishes that tonight’s crowd are giving no less than their all, despite this only being the support band. For months, there was talk about the fact that Danny Worsnop might just be back in Asking Alexandria. Then, the rumours were finally confirmed and it seemed that everything was back the way it should be. However now they’re here, together, and it’s possible that the latter may need a re-think. Dear Insanity followed by To The Stage are missing the mark- the once metalcore staples are now being delivered by a man who exercises his vocal range during the songs so much so, that they become almost unrecognisable. The band are as tight as ever and Danny- well Danny knows how good he is. Given this, they should sound the best they’ve ever sounded, however it’s hard to shake the feeling that perhaps this partnership may just not work anymore.Having said that, after stumbling through an intro that was barely recognisable as Run Free, Asking finally seem to start hitting their stride among the run of tracks taken from their last album with Danny, From Death To Destiny. An acoustic version of Moving On works especially well with Danny’s classic rock influenced vocals behind it. By the time the set reaches Not The American Average and The Final Episode, everyone involved is thriving off the energy and bouncing off one and other- looking like a solid and well-honed band should. Plus, the aforementioned tracks are sounding killer and receive a fitting response from the crowd. It’s odd because the first half of Asking’s set seemed to suggest they should have left the split well enough alone, while the second half was such a nostalgia trip, it was like the old days. Only time will tell…This is all well and good though, but everything prior just seems to pale in comparison from the moment Parkway Drive hit the stage. Wild Eyes ensures the Parkway machine enters to waves of ‘woah, oh, ohs’ before they’ve even appeared, conjuring up some serious festival vibes within the first few seconds of their set. Following their rapturous entrance, Carrion is nothing less than euphoric and the room literally feels as if everyone has rallied together, creating a palpable atmosphere. It’s now, so early on in the set that it’s reaffirmed that Parkway really are just something else.Vice Grip is where things seriously start to get real though- Parkway Drive have never had a problem penning a track that packs a punch, however their most recent offering Ire just powers up a level and Vice Grip demonstrates this perfectly. It’s sheer havoc, with the band not even moving so much on stage, yet not needing to because they carry so much command that it’s just not necessary. During Karma, vocalist Winston McCall is like a puppeteer, gesturing and flinging his hands as beats fall and flames shoot skyward, as if they’re keeping time with him and not the other way around. Destroyer forges out and out bedlam in the same way as Vice Grip- executed with an incredible force, its groove is undeniable. “Kick this shit right off Leeds, show me some chaos!” is pretty much indicative of how Boneyards goes down, while Writings On The Wall is wonderfully intense and menacingly captivating, with McCall’s motions that match the lyrics creating the ideal aesthetic.
Their cover of Rage Against The Machine’s Bulls On Parade carries slightly more aggression and slightly less swagger than the original, but it’s done justice nonetheless. What really needs to be talked about though, is Parkway’s encore. Crushed is an absolutely trouncing piece of music- and if a song could be an onomatopoeia then this one most definitely would be, in that Crushed basically just crushes it- there’s no arguing with its enormity from the hollow vocal rumblings in the opening, through to the last screams. Following this, with slightly less presence but a similar magnitude, Bottomfeeder brings back the euphoria and ends the set on the highest point possible. Parkway Drive are on a trajectory that surely sees them as a festival headliner in the coming years. Leaving people gawping in the wake of their ridiculously immense live show, it’s without a doubt that Parkway Drive are purely just massive in every sense of the word.Photos by Erin Moore at Forte Photography UK

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