Although Parkway Drive’s superb album Ire has been out for quite a while now, the band have taken the decision to rerelease it exclusively in a digital format. Instead of reviewing the whole album (which is fantastic by the way), I’ll be reviewing just the three new singles that are part of the ‘Deluxe Edition’- this consists of two new songs and a remix of “A Deathless Song” off of Ire.
The first new song which the band released (and have also produced a video for) is “Devil’s Calling”- a track that has already drawn plenty of criticism and controversy from the band’s fan base. Written in a similar vein to “Vice Grip”, the song is built on a melodic guitar line and a hard rock style verse-chorus-verse arrangement. Whilst “Devil’s Calling” lacks the harsh metalcore edge of “Vice Grip”, it more than makes up for it with a huge and catchy chorus. Essentially this is Parkway Drive channelling an 80s hard rock vibe through their penchant for tasty guitar work and harder rhythms. It takes a bit of getting used to, and unfortunately when compared to the rest of the tracks on Ire, it doesn’t hold up as strongly as the other songs- but it’s not a disaster of a song.
The next single, “Into The Dark” harks back to the heavier tracks on Ire, without losing their ear for melodies and hard-hitting choruses. Built upon a familiar riffing style that the band has honed over the past few albums, and a seething and brooding guitar line, the song explodes into a euphoric chorus with gang chants and breakdowns aplenty. This is an excellent blend of heavy yet melodic song writing, without one compromising the other. “Into The Dark” would definitely have been a worthy addition to the track list on Ire, especially as it acts as a middle ground between previous tracks like “Vicious” and “Dedicated”.
Lastly, there’s the remix of “A Deathless Song”, a song which caused quite a stir because of its inclusion of a sung chorus (in all fairness, this isn’t the first time the band has used conventional singing on one of their songs). This time the track features guest vocals from Jenna McDougall from Tonight Alive, in which she contributes backing melodies. It’s an admirable effort from Jenna, but it just doesn’t quite click for me. Personally, what made “A Deathless Song” so enjoyable was that it was a ballad that wasn’t too ballad-y. The addition of Jenna’s overtly pop-orientated vocals makes it too sweet and sickly, and it doesn’t help that they’re quite loud in the mix. Perhaps if they were used more to enhance certain parts of the song (which happens to a certain extent in the chorus), rather than being the main feature of the song, then this new version of the song would be a little more palatable.
It’s a commendable effort from the band, and they have stated that they won’t shy away from experimenting with melodies more often. Whilst this is by no means a bad thing, I feel that they could be more clever with their usage of melodies. Parkway Drive are at their best when they don’t follow traditional conventions (see 2012’s Atlas, by far their strongest album), and yes, technically they’re not following conventions established by their previous works- but the way that they’ve carried this out over the three tracks isn’t especially different in a broader sense.
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