November 24, 2015 Parkway Drive Pummel The Paramount Huntington, NY 11-16-15 w/ Miss May I, Thy Art is Murder, & In Hearts Wake
Australia’s own Parkway Drive announced back in June they planned to release their fifth studio album, to be entitled Ire, on September 25th. Coming three years after the release of Atlas and a ton of touring, Parkway Drive have proven to be one of the hardest working bands in sometime. Having all their plans laid out for the remainder of 2015, it was in July the announcement came down that the band would be teaming up with Thy Art is Murder, Memphis May Fire, and The Word Alive for a nine day home country tour in celebration of the new album release. A warm-up of sorts, the Ire North American Tour kicked off on October 29th and will march all the way until December 6th, hitting a variety of cities in the process. Presented by The Noise, this new tour sees Miss May I, Thy Art is Murder, and In Hearts Wake join forces with Parkway Drive for a bill no one wants to miss. Following a string of sold-out shows, including a previous night’s stint at Irving Plaza in New York City, Parkway Drive brought the outback to The Paramount in Huntington Village on a blustery November evening, Monday the 16th. Featuring a lineup three fourths packed with bands from the land down under, the show started promptly at 7 PM to a respectable sized crowd that would slowly grow as the night progressed.
First up was In Hearts Wake, a five piece band from Byron Bay in Australia. Formed back in 2006, the past year and half for In Hearts Wake has been a full speed ahead charge releasing the albums Earthwalker in May of 2014 and Skydancer in May of this year. Made up of Vocalist Jake Taylor, Bassist Kyle Erich, along with Guitarists Ben Nairne and Eaven Dall, the band’s current touring drummer is Conor Ward. Having opened the Disobedient Tour in February 2015 for Stick To Your Guns, the band continue to build a fanbase here in the USA.
Featuring interesting electronic backtracks and very environmentally conscious themes, the band have an interesting throwback sound to the early 2000s when Post Hardcore and Metalcore took the world by storm. Taylor did his best to introduce the band to the crowd and gain support between tracks such as “Survival” off the band’s debut album Divination from 2012. Making the most of their time on stage, In Hearts Wake played through a handful of tracks, including newer material like the atmospheric “Breakaway” featuring the dueling guitar melodies of Nairne and Dall. Before closing with “Divine,” the band thanked the crowd for their time and encouraged people to come introduce themselves at their merchandise booth after their set. Be sure to check out this band as they continue to make noise.
Up next was perhaps the heaviest and most brutal band on the tour package – Sydney, Australia’s own Deathcore quartet Thy Art is Murder. Also formed in 2006, Thy Art is Murder have some impressive feats to their name through the years, including the first Extreme Metal band to reach the ARIA Charts with their 2012 album Hate. Supporting their third studio album Holy War, released back in June via Nuclear Blast, and having recently completed a Summer stint on the final Rockstar Mayhem Festival, the band was eager to get back to The States to rekindle their rapport with the USA.
Known for intense, high energetic performances and the quirky, yet charismatic Vocalist C.J. McMahon’s onstage banter and antics, the band stormed out playing “Absolute Genocide” with a cacophony of insane double kicks, courtesy of Drummer Lee Stanton, and down-tuned, gritty guitar work from lead shredder, Andy Marsh. McMahon’s ferocious vocal attack and Death Metal lows shook the very foundation of the venue, vibrating the sternum of every listener. True to form, McMahon made some very interesting small talk about “burning down” the venue and introduced their top 40 “love song,” “The Purest Strain of Hate.” Following up with “Reign of Darkness” and “Light Bearer,” Thy Art is Murder had everyone in a frenzy. Before leaving the stage, in true furious fashion, the band ripped their latest single “Holy War,” condemning religion and the organizations that “fuck with all of us,” as so eloquently stated by McMahon. The vocalist rode hand’s of spectators throughout the venue during the song’s refrain, leaving quite a lasting impression on the now sizeable crowd. There was no question the impact of their intensity, thus making Thy Art is Murder a band not to be missed.
The third band on the package featured the only Americans, Ohio Metallers Miss May I as direct support. Labelmates of In Hearts Wake on Rise Records, Miss May I have been a force of nature over the past couple of years. Touring, touring, and more touring, they found the time to pump out two chart-topping albums with Rise of the Lion in 2014 and, a little over a year later, Deathless. Having cut their teeth through the years on various tour packages, including Rockstar Mayhem Festival and numerous Van’s Warped Tours, Miss May I has become a regular staple in the Extreme Metal scene. Featuring a consistent lineup with little change since their inception a decade ago, the band sounds and feels tighter and closer than ever.
Now filling op nicely, The Paramount seemed to be buzzing with life and anticipation as the Troy boys prepared to take the stage. Coming out to their newest track “I.H.E.” or (I Hate Everyone/Thing), Vocalist Levi Benton urged Long Island enthusiastically yelling, “Let’s have some fun tonight.” Although not by any means soft, the band definitely had a much more approachable and less intimidating sound than the previous onslaught from Thy Art is Murder as they offered up tunes like “Relentless Chaos.” Clearly enjoying themselves and the crowd, the band’s set featured about half new material off of 2015’s Deathless such as the pulsing title track and the alliterative “Bastards Left Behind.” Of course the set also consisted of older crowd favorites including “Masses of a Dying Breed” and closer “Hey Mister” where all members seemed to be off their feet for the majority of the break down. Before leaving the stage, the band was sure to thank the crowd and the headliners for having them along, as well as encouraging Long Island to come back to see them again. A band which sees their sound maturing with each passing year, Miss May I continue to prove they are primed to take the next big step in their career as they steadily climb to the top.
At around 10 PM, the bar at the back of the venue was buzzing and, though not completely sold out, the venue was at a very respectable capacity. Marking the band’s very first visit ever to The Paramount, and their first visit to Long Island since Vans Warped Tour in 2014, there was no question a heightened level of excitement was flowing. For those unaware, Parkway Drive has been making monumental waves in the sea of Metalcore ever since their inception back in 2003. Rising through the ranks of their peers and opening for a plethora NWOAHM bands on their homeland caught them the attention of American label Epitaph Records in 2006. This led to the release of their 2007 breakthrough album, Horizons, which saw the band traveling overseas on the Vans Warped Tour that same year, ultimately securing their heavy following here in the USA. Now all these years later, Parkway Drive are a more refined band with an equally potent sound that is perhaps more striking than ever after the release of Ire.
Fans made their way to the front of the stage, making a tight network of bodies that spanned throughout a good 70% of the floor. Starting things off with the brilliantly named “Destroyer,” the crowd almost immediately began opening up the floor. Vocalist Winston McCall knew exactly how to work a crowd, commanding more and more after each number. True to their roots, the band’s attitude is still Punk Rock at its core, despite its Metalcore label and they display that in their live performances. Guitarist and Bassist, Luke Kilpatrick and Jia O’Connor, almost appeared to be bursts of light rather than human beings as they blazed from left to right across the stage during the Death Metal infused “Dying to Believe,” hard-hitter tunes like “Carrion,” and later on, the unique Glam Metal tinge of “Vice Grip.” Matching their energy, McCall was a firecracker as he connected with the crowd emotionally as Guitarist Jeff Ling, even with a torn hamstring, ripped through killer riffs in a wheelchair and Drummer Ben Gordon destroyed with a thick backbeat.
Moving right along, the band did a nice job of incorporating many older tunes in addition to newer ones, like “Dark Days” and “Wild Eyes” off of 2012’s Atlas, before “Romance is Dead.” Prior to returning for a two song encore, the band humbly thanked the crowd for their support and love, closing with “Swing.” By the time the lights dimmed and the crowd got unruly, the band returned to the stage to a ferocious roar before pummeling through “Crushed” and “Home is for the Heartless,” the latter of which saw the biggest amount of movement from the floor in a “last hurrah” of sorts. Even after the audience knew the show was over, it did not stop rabid fans from chanting for more until the house lights came on and the backdrop was lowered.
Clearly still a commercial and underground beast, Parkway Drive demands attention internationally and continues to score big numbers globally. Following their stint here in the USA, they will be bringing the Ire tour to the UK, so be sure to catch it before the tickets are gone.