I’ll never forget the first time I saw Parkway Drive. It was at Engadine Community Centre in Sydney’s south back in 2006. The two things that are etched into my mind about that day are, firstly that such an awesome band would play at my local community centre, and second, the intensity of their live show.
Twelve years later, not only is the band still going strong, they’ve entrenched themselves as one of, if not THE biggest heavy band in Australia. They have achieved this through relentless touring, and fresh from carving a trail of destruction across the US and Europe, playing some of the world’s biggest festivals, the boys are back home to give local fans a live dose of their latest album, Reverence. Even better, they’ve brought with them their fuck off festival stage set, complete with an amazing lighting rig, elevators, an invertible drum kit, and enough pyro to rival the Great Fire Of London!
Add two killer supports in metalcore titans Killswitch Engage and Sydney’s own Thy Art Is Murder, and you have the must-see heavy gig of the year! The show has been sold out for weeks, and about five and a half thousand maniacs have descended on the Hordern Pavilion for a night of metalcore, mirth and mayhem! I spoke to a number of punters, both in the line, and inside the venue, and the consensus was clear….everyone was as pumped as hell for this show!
Thy Art Is Murder stormed the stage and did what they do best. That is, create a wall of sound that hits you in the face like a swift kick from a Doc Marten boot! A healthy herd of punters had filed in early to see Western Sydney’s wicked quintet, and when CJ asked “is there anybody here from Western Sydney?” a large number of fists shot into the air. The band was firing like a well-oiled killing machine, and they bludgeoned the crowd with their signature brutality. The punters responded with plenty of screaming vocals, circle pits, and a wall of death. There wasn’t a great deal of banter, but as CJ pointed out, they only had a short time slot and wanted to get through as many songs as they could. Tracks from the band’s latest offering, 2017 album Dear Desolation such as “Slaves Beyond Death”, “The Son Of Misery”, and set closer “Puppet Master” all invoked great responses from the crowd. The fans sent them off with a huge roar of appreciation.
We barely had enough time to catch our breath before Killswitch Engage picked up where Thy Art Is Murder left off. Jesse Leach and co entered to the Beastie Boys classic track “Fight For Your Right”, but it wasn’t long before the whole place was rocking to their signature breakdowns. Jesse’s vocals were as powerful as ever, and he was well supported by the rest of the band. Tracks such as “Strength Of Mind”, “Just Barely Breathing” and “Hate By Design” had the fans in a frenzy of metalcore madness. They were moshing, screaming, and clapping fanatically to every song. Guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz indulged in a bit of banter with the crowd, which lead into “Alone I Stand”.
If you’ve had the pleasure of seeing Killswitch Engage before, then you’d know that “The End Of Heartache” always conjures a rabbid response from the fans, and tonight was no different. They closed the set with In Due Time, which capped off an awesome set, delivered by a band at the top of their game. The sound was huge, the band was tight, and they showed why they are considered to be metalcore royalty. Killswitch killed it tonight.
The punters were packed in and ready, chanting “Parkway Drive” as they waited. When the house lights went down, a huge roar echoed around the Hordern. I had a feeling that when the stage lights came on, all hell would break loose, and that’s exactly what happened. Opening with the double onslaught of “Wishing Wells” and “Prey”, the place went nuclear! The entire dance floor was one huge mosh pit, the intensity and energy of both the band and the crowd feeding off each other. The set leant heavily on the last two albums, the fore-mentioned Reverence, and 2016 release, Ire. Even though both of these albums did polarise the fans to a degree, there were absolutely no signs of any sort of disapproval from the full house. They did rip out some of the back catalogue, with “Carrion” and “Idols And Anchors” from Horizons, “Karma” from Deep Blue, and “Wild Eyes” from Atlas.
“Vice Grip” invoked a huge mosh pit, and we got our first taste of the flamethrowers on stage. The fans also obeyed Winston’s command to “bang your heads” during “Absolute Power”, which also had some sweetly timed pyrotechnics. One of the real highlights was “The Void”, with more flames, more moshing, and the crowd absolutely going off.
Then, the lights went out for a brief moment, and when they came back on, there was a string quartet on stage. They accompanied the band during “Writings On The Wall”, and “Shadow Boxing”, which showed off a completely different side of the band. It worked well and was well received by the fans.
They left the stage briefly, and when they came back, everything went to a whole new level. The whole set was ignited in flames. The lads then delivered a blistering rendition of “Crushed”, during which, Gaz’s drumkit turned upside down….whilst on fire….with him still playing! They then closed the show with another mosh-pit anthem, “Bottom Feeder”, which had everybody up on their feet, and bouncing.
Tonight’s performance was simply amazing. The band put everything into every song, and each song drew a maximum reaction from the crowd. The lighting, pyrotechnics and moveable drum cage only added to the experience. Parkway Drive has perfected their craft through years of extensive touring, and with an impressive back-catalogue to draw on, they offer a mouth-watering live experience for any heavy music fan. With sold out shows not just around Australia, but around the world, they really are the voice you can’t destroy….truly unbreakable.
Photos by Roger Brooks