Parkway Drive

support Emmure + The Word Alive + Structures
author BL date 17/11/12 venue Roundhouse, London, UK

Structures

On first tonight were Toronto, Canada's tech metalcore five piece Structures who, despite the overly dark lighting and lukewarm early reception managed to come out guns blazing with their opener "At Last". Never had I heard such a crushing, destructively heavy sound in a venue the size of Roundhouse and for a band only on their second UK trip looked entirely comfortable and pumped with a sellout crowd slowly gathering. Though heaviness of atomic proportions aside, some of the higher end of the spectrum in their technical lead guitars, the melodies and fast hardcore punk sections unfortunately were a bit muddled by the horrendous bass sound bouncing off the walls and I couldn't really hear the bassist Spencer MacLean for any of the sung parts - a little disappointing as they hampered some of their best songs like "In Pursuit Of". Structures still made a decent show of it though despite the issues, vocalist Nick Xourafas steeled vocal presence was especially impressive. Interestingly, despite Emmure being on the bill, there was no guest vocals for "Relapse; Signs".

Setlist:

  • 1. At Last
  • 2. Hydroplaning
  • 3. Tunnel Vision
  • 4. Relapse; Signs.
  • 5. Clockwork
  • 6. In Pursuit Of
  • 7. Encounter...



The Word Alive

I had considered myself fortunate enough to have seen The Word Alive twice prior to this occasion (back when they still played "Casanova Rodeo" live), and it is no secret that I thoroughly enjoyed their fantastic new album "Life Cycles". As a live act these dudes always seem to be improving as well and have yet to disappoint. The guitar players were always able to blaze through their array of complex riffs and lead guitars without a sweat, then blew off some steam in style when the breakdowns kicked in ("Wishmaster" is just so much fun live for some reason). Their new drummer Luke Holland though, was something else. It's been a while since I've been impressed with a drummer with such machine like precision, power and overall technique. Lastly and definitely not least their vocalist Tyler "Telle" Smith's confidence, presence and genuine ability was noticeably better than before (though last time he was hampered by an injury) - easily juggling between piercing screams and powerful lows while able to sing note for note on songs like "The Wretched" and "Entirety". His passion for his craft too shone through as he harrowingly screamed the main repeating words to "Life Cycles" when all else had finally ended. A treat of a set from start to finish.

8

Setlist:

  • 1. 2012
  • 2. Dragon Spell
  • 3. The Wretched
  • 4. Entirety
  • 5. Wishmaster
  • 6. Life Cycles



Emmure

I always get told good things about Emmure's live show even from those who aren't the biggest fans of their records. One thing's for sure, as soon as "Solar Flare Homicide" started the place just erupted like the end of days were upon us. The band's presence had this weird aura about it, though most of it came from their front man Frankie Palmeri who did look a bit menacing when he wasn't jumping around to the soothing sounds of all their pulverizing breakdowns, or performing his weird mix of harsh screams into talking (and vice versa). The other half of their live show was pretty much their drummer who, despite the simplicity of the songs (I mean how difficult is playing a million breakdowns which all sound pretty similar?), had this pretty cool panache with how he hit his notes. A couple of the songs that I could recognise varied between actually half decent sounding (like "Demons With Ryu" and "Cross Over Attack"), to just being utterly hilarious ("Drug Dealer Friend"'s crowd interaction was priceless as it was also cringeworthy). Sadly, my patience, and my head, could only take so much drop guitar bombing and trashy pseudo tough hardcore lyrics before the whole experience, the "appeal" (whatever it was) started wearing thin. Overall, some positive points for being entertaining for the wrong reasons, and minus points for being entertaining for the same wrong reasons.

Setlist:

  • 1. Solar Flare Homicide
  • 2. Protoman
  • 3. Sunday Bacon
  • 4. I Thought You Met Telly and Turned Me Into Casper
  • 5. Demons With Ryu
  • 6. Cross Over Attack
  • 7. Drug Dealer Friend
  • 8. Dogs Get Put Down
  • 9. R2Deepthroat
  • 10. Children of Cybertron
  • 11. When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong



Parkway Drive

Parkway Drive were one of those metalcore bands that I listened to a fair bit as a younger me, before the days of auto tuned clean vocals, electronics, and other trendy new additions to the genre. I had lost a bit of interest in them as time went by, "Deep Blue" just didn't strike the same chord with me as some of their older songs did back in the day. Their new album "Atlas", while not having too much of a chance yet to listen it properly, is probably also unlikely to change my mind (it is better though in my opinion on first listen). Nostalgia aside, Parkway at least knew how to put on a good show whether you were a diehard or just a casual passerby. The atmospheric intro "Sparks" hot off their new release was made even more grand by being played to a backdrop of a video clip of the Earth from space. Another new song followed before "Sleepwalker" and "Karma" absolutely tore the place apart from front to back. The crowd was just a sea of chaotic violence and bodies were flung with reckless abandon. So much so that vocalist Winston McCall inbetween songs (where his veteran experience really shows in his performance stage) kept remarking just how wild everything was, to a state that even he had yet to witness (at least outside of Australia).

"Wild Eyes" was one of the highlight of the new songs, the high pitched lead guitar lines cut through the air like a searing blade. "Dark Days" did well too with some catchy harmonised guitar riffing. The older songs undoutedly though, particularly "Boneyards" and "Romance Is Dead" reminded me just how much better this kind of metalcore sounded a few years back (the tapped outro for "Romance Is Dead" is just unforgettable). I conceed that the newer stuff did sound a lot better live than they did on record (I really hated the production on "Deep Blue") and it helped when every person screamed along to every word so loudly that it became truly deafening. While I felt a little bit bitter that everyone else here chose "Swing" over "Gimme A D" when given the choice, that sentiment was quickly dissolved by probably one of their best old songs in "Idols And Anchors" - still sounded so good live. It was nearly eclipsed straight after by the immensely epic "Blue And The Grey", which is probably the biggest song Parkway Drive had written to date. To close things off in style, the double encore of "Home Is For The Heartless" and "Carrion" were so explosive and draining that it brought the spent Winston to his knees at one point. Parkway Drive gave everything here tonight and it would have been a tall order for anything better than that.
8

Setlist:

  • 1. Sparks
  • 2. Old Ghosts/New Regrets
  • 3. Sleepwalker
  • 4. Karma
  • 5. Wild Eyes
  • 6. Boneyards
  • 7. Romance Is Dead
  • 8. Deliver Me
  • 9. Dark Days
  • 10. Dead Man's Chest
  • 11. Swing
  • 12. Idols and Anchors
  • 13. Blue and the Grey

Encore:

  • 14. Home Is for the Heartless
  • 15. Carrion

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