Parkway Drive

support Bury Tomorrow + Thy Art Is Murder
author MAK date 12/02/16 venue Brixton Academy, London, UK

Nearly five years prior to this show, Australian metalcore heavyweights Parkway Drive performed at the O2 Brixton Academy in London just once in support of the even bigger Bring Me The Horizon. At the time, Parkway Drive put on a set that was worthy of headlining the venue, yet while the Australians have been back to the UK many times since, it does seem amazing that it has taken them so long to headline the iconic London venue. Parkway Drive were joined by the similar sounding metalcore outfit Bury Tomorrow from the UK and fellow Aussies Thy Art Is Murder.

Thy Art Is Murder

Thy Art Is Murder kicked off the night in brutal fashion with “Absolute Genocide”; delivering lots of earth shattering breakdowns which were fronted by deep monstrous roars, the deep red underlighting just made the whole opening segment seem extremely hellish. Molotov Solution vocalist Nick Arthur stood in for the departed CJ McMahon, and he looked like he belonged in the setup as if he had been there for years. It helped that Arthur’s vocal style was remarkably similar to McMahons. The Aussie lads were treated to a decent sized rowdy crowd and the mosh pit antics started just a few songs in, triggered by the second song “Coffin Dragger”. The energy didn’t let up for tracks like “The Purest Strain Of Hate” and the clear crowd favourite “Reign Of Darkness” which had phenomenal crowd shout-outs and huge amount of cheers.

Thy Art Is Murder

A huge Parkway Drive banner hindered the amount of space for Thy Art Is murder to move around, but it wasn’t needed as Nick Arthur made the most of looking as intimidating as possible, being a brute central figure on stage. The ominous, deep red lighting helped in creating an evil atmosphere around him and the rest of the band. The Australians finished off with the title track to their most recent album "Holy War", which kept that creepy and imposing atmosphere up along with intense brutality. Impressively enough the sound was decent enough for an opening act at Brixton for the first time in a long time, I wasn’t left feeling that Thy Art Could have done a lot better to impress this London crowd. Which then makes me think that for an opening set, the deathcore outfit couldn’t have asked for a better response from the early attendees who screamed at the top of their lungs, jumped about and moshed hard. It definitely was a positive start to the evening.

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Bury Tomorrow

The crowd wasn’t exactly small for Thy Art Is Murder, but during the break between their set and Bury Tomorrow’s, the crowd suddenly felt like it doubled. The Southampton lads came on to a massive roar from the large audience as they opened with “Earthbound”, the title track from the album the metalcore lads released merely two weeks prior to the show. Sadly, even though I praised the sound from the previous set, the opener had all sorts of problems in that department. Somebody clearly had the reverb up way too high for the clean vocals as it echoed way too much and the levels just didn’t seem right at all, yet that slowly improved as the set progressed. Bury Tomorrow took a lot of chances to show off material from the recent album, in which “301” and “Last Light” received great reactions from the crowd and lots of sing-alongs and a never-ending sea of people jumped up and down to the crushing breakdowns that were unleashed on stage.

Bury Tomorrow

A clear highlight from this set was when Bury Tomorrow performed the older classic “Lionheart”, the excitement in the room as soon as the guitars kicked in was magical, everyone’s arms raised as they shouted those title words and then they sang the chorus words like one giant choir. It was enough to make your hairs stand on end whether you liked the band or not. One amusing moment of the set came early as Bury Tomorrow were in the mood to set a tone of unity in the audience and managed to get a large portion of the crowd to hug and make friends with a stranger next to them. That created a lot of positive vibes within the venue and helped Bury Tomorrow put on another great set. Performance and sound wise Bury Tomorrow's style of modern metalcore sounded a lot closer to Parkway Drive than Thy Art Is Murder’s doomy deathcore and it reflected phenomenally in the crowd on the night. Even with comments that some people wished Architects were on the UK leg of the tour as well as the European leg, Bury Tomorrow showed they were a near perfect addition to this bill.

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Parkway Drive

Finally, it was down to metalcore heavyweights Parkway Drive and everything about the atmosphere in the room felt different to any other time I had seen the Australians before, which does happen to be a lot of times. There was a buzz to see how the songs from the opinion-dividing album “Ire” would go down live. Possibly the most amusing moment of the evening came during the build-up, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” had everyone inside the Brixton Academy singing at the top of their voices and the occasion elevated all kinds of spirits before Parkway Drive even hit the stage. When it came to the lights dimming to signal Parkway Drive coming on, the venue roared louder than I’d ever heard it before. The Australians opened up with “Destroyer”, the first track off “Ire” and all questions were answered by the deafening repetitive chants of “DESTROY” filled the room. At that moment you just knew that Parkway Drive had hit incredible new heights.

Parkway Drive

The Byron Bay outfit went a little old school by chucking in an obvious fan favourite, “Carrion”. I was looking forward to witnessing the massive crowd shout at the beginning and I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest. To see a packed out Brixton Academy shouting those title words was possibly one of the greatest moments to witness; Frontman Winston McCall even egged the crowd to get louder during the chorus, jokingly he shouted “BULLSHIT” as if to say the shouts weren’t good enough. “Deep Blue” single track “Karma” followed suit with the gang shouts as once again the words “SHIPWRECKED BONES CARRY MY SEASICK HEART, SEASICK HEART HOME” echoed around the venue.

A theme around the change, or more the rise of Parkway Drive was apparent. Just like the new album, the band were up for the sing-alongs and the positive energy more than the ass-kicking attitude. Unlike any of the previous shows I have witnessed which were closer to hardcore shows with crowds that were dominated by brutal mosh pits, this time, everyone was more up for the big moments in each song where they could have their voices heard. The rather epic use of pyro was another sign that Parkway Drive were pushing their image away from the hardcore world, as the rapid fireballs rose up right in front of McCall and the heat was felt by everyone in the audience.

Parkway Drive

A barrage of singles and live crowd favourites kept the positive energy going, the brutal sound and conviction in which “Dark Days” was performed was breath-taking, “Deliver Me” had everyone in the venue jumping and even had an odd guest appearance of Aussie formula 1 Driver Daniel Ricciardo providing some shouts on stage. The “Vice Grip” chorus of “YEAH YEAH YEAH” was as cheesy as you would expect, but it was undeniable amazing to hear it shouted live by over 4,000 fans. Cameos of old classics “Idols & Anchors” and “Romance Is Dead” shone brightly as always. It remained great to see all the hands raised with everyone’s fingers wiggle to Jeff Ling’s mind-blowing technicality in “Idols & Anchors” as well as singing the intro's guitar melody, whereas “Romance” Is Dead” had the massive shout of “CRY ME A FUCKING RIVER BITCH” which contained a strong wave of nostalgia.

Parkway Drive

The closing moments of the evening came with a brutal display of “Swing”, the breakdowns towards the end of the song hit hard and unleashed all kinds of hell as you would expect. Then as part of an encore, Parkway returned to the stage to play the equally heavy “Crushed”. It was the final track “Home Is For The Heartless” that stood out massively, though; Winston McCall just stood at the front of the stage holding a bright red flare as the crowd sang the “WHOAH, WHOAH” repeatedly. For the intro, chorus and bridge, those chants echoed fluently around the venue – it was a perfect way to end the night. This wasn’t the same Parkway Drive that got me hooked on them and I’m resigned to the fact I won’t see the crazy high-intensity shows they used to pull off again. That being said I was still impressed at how well the new material and all the big hooks went down. The Aussies can be proud of the atmosphere they created and I doubt anyone had their voice left at the end of the night.

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Setlist

  • 1. Destroyer
  • 2. Dying To Believe
  • 3. Carrion
  • 4. Karma
  • 5. Dark Days
  • 6. Deliver Me
  • 7. Vice Grip
  • 8. Idols And Anchors
  • 9. Dedicated
  • 10. Wild Eyes
  • 11. Bottom Feeder
  • 12. Romance Is Dead
  • 13. Swing
  • - Encore
  • 14. Crushed
  • 15. Home Is For The Heartless

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