Last year, Australian metallers Parkway Drive released the world-beating metal behemoth Ire. The record sees Winston McCall and his band switch direction ever so slightly from their brutal near-deathcore to a more marketable brand of stadium metal. With newfound classics such as Vice Grip and Crushed under the belts, the band took to a fully sold out 013 in Tilburg together with Architects and a rejuvenated Thy Art is Murder.
Following the departure of former frontman CJ McMahon towards the tail-end of last year, Thy Art is Murder decided to do everything but give up. The whole European tour they have just completed with Parkway Drive featured vocals from Molotov Solution frontman Nick Arthur, whose vocals did their best to match the imprint which McMahon had previously left. Although performing to a half-full 013, Thy Art still managed to draw those present in with an infectious brand of extreme metalcore, even if did take people a while to get fully acquainted with Arthur. New album Holy War featured heavily, its provocative artwork still fresh in the minds of many. Thy Art haven’t said whether or not Arthur will continue his role as vocalist in a studio capacity, however we can probably expect news soon. In the meantime, Arthur seems to be doing a brutally fine job leading the band across Europe.
Cast your minds back to early 2014, when Brighton collective Architects released the dark Lost Forever // Lost Together. That was two whole years ago, and the band are still touring in support of it. You definitely have to give it to Sam Carter and co. for persevering so long whilst not putting out a new full length, because it definitely didn’t feel like they needed one last night. The in-your-face Gravedigger opened the set with brute force as the whole of Tilburg shook with together with the band, before These Colours Don’t Run closed out the nine-song set with effortlessly brutal ease. In a post-show social media post, the band alluded heavily towards a return to Holland this coming festival season, meaning that we’re probaby going to have wait a little bit longer for new music to surface. Not that this matters, though, as Architects are currently at the top of their game.
Before Parkway Drive took to the stage, a huge Ire curtain was draped over the stage as Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody blared through the speakers to the pleasure of some 3,000 Dutch fans. Once the lights blacked out, the curtain fell and confetti exploded into all corners of the room as Winston McCall and co. kicked straight into Ire standout track Destroyer. Over the course of the next 14 songs and 75 minutes, Parkway Drive took the crowd on an Ire-heavy journey through the band’s past. An early peak was established in fan favourite Carrion, before the huge Vice Grip made for one of the show’s standout moments.
One thing to keep in mind at a Parkway Drive show is the pure emphasis on detail and precision, both musically and visually. Whereas their music has shifted in sound from deathcore to hard rock over the years (which some people have considered as a sonic downgrade), their visual set-up has only improved. Alongside a spectacular lighting rig, Wednesday’s show was also filled with confetti, pyro and tons of c02. It all adds to the grandiose bombast which McCall and co. have meticulously perfected over the course of five studio albums.
Later on in the set, Atlas behemoth Wild Eyes made for a popular moment as the band were drenched in purple lighting, before a double-headed encore of Crushed and Home is for the Heartless brought the whole evening to a cataclysmic ending. The difference between both tracks spans some six years and a whole sonic landscape. The former leans more towards classic hard rockers such as Rage Against the Machine (with McCall utilizing clean vocals for the first time), whereas the latter is full-on Parkway Drive at their best. You’d be forgiven for not knowing much about Parkway Drive in today’s overly-saturated day and age, although seeing as we’re now in 2016 it’s probably about time that a band of this stature finally make more trips into the world of mainstream rock. Ire was their first foot in the door, but what McCall and co. will do next is anybody’s guess. Whatever it is, it’ll only be bigger and better than what the band have done previously.
Click here for more pictures from the evening.