Parkway Drive - Atlas (2012)

After releasing three very well-received full-length albums and two of the most awe-inspiring DVDs, the lovable Parkway Drive is back at it. Their fourth album, the aptly titled Atlas, is set to release on October 30th via Epitaph Records. An atlas is full of maps, charts and designs – nearly everything imaginable – and this album acts the same way in that it has everything you could ask for in a metalcore release.

Parkway Drive's previous release, Deep Blue, saw the band experiment with a few things and they've done so even more on Atlas. Whether it be the female clean vocals heard on "The River," the acoustically-driven "Atlas" with an addition of another string instrument (maybe a violin), or the epic "WHOA" chants and tapping guitar riffs on "Wild Eyes," there was something that surprised me on every track. Not only is Atlas surprising, but it is an absolute work of art and everything fits exceptionally well.

Atlas is full of surprises at nearly every turn, but there is still a fair share of the Parkway Drive style that fans should be more than familiar with. "Old Ghosts/New Regrets" has been floating around on YouTube as a live video for about eight months, and it's one of the tracks that sounds like it could be on the B-side of Deep Blue. "Dark Days" and "Sleight of Hand" also put off a bit of a Deep Blue vibe, while "Swing" sounds very similar to most of the material on Horizons.

The drumming is very fast-paced and extremely tight throughout the 48-minute Atlas, but it is particularly impressive on "Wild Eyes," "Swing" and "Snake Oil and Holy Water". Another thing that is more than solid is the guitar riffs and basslines. Spine-chilling melodies can be heard on nearly every track, but most notably "Wild Eyes," "The River" and "The Slow Surrender." Two of those tracks ("Wild Eyes" and "The River") are my personal favourites on the album, and I think that many people will feel the same way. "Wild Eyes" is one of the most spectacular metalcore songs to ever grace my ears and "The River" is nearly on the same level. Moreover, "The River" could be likened to "Idols And Anchors" because it has a similar intro and a culminating outro solo.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect on Atlas is the vocals. Winston has always been an extremely talented vocalist that puts so much force into his vocals, but they are even more monstrous on Atlas than they have ever been before. Furthermore, the lyrics are incredible, yet again. One of my favourite lyrics can be heard on "The River" when Winston screams "It's not the years in your life; it's the life in your years." In addition to Winston's spectacular lyrics and vocals, there are several gang chants that add even more power to the album and guest vocals that do the complete opposite, yet still fit perfectly.

Coming from an avid fan of Parkway Drive that had extremely high expectations for the band's new release, Atlas exceeded my expectations and silenced every minor doubt that I had in the back of my mind. By far, it is the most diverse Parkway Drive album, and for many metal fans – myself included – it could go down in history as one of the best metalcore albums, alongside Parkway Drive's Horizons. This band is clearly in it for the long run and I'm excited to hear (or see) what they come up with next.

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By Steven Pongrac ~ Me Gusta Reviews



  1. This review was obviously written by a nonobjective fanboy. The blatant bias is astonishing. Gotta do a better job at trying to cover that up next time.

  2. lol @ horizons,jump on @ 2007/2009. Get real.

  3. 10/10?

    really? If you were a fan you'd be able to pick up on the fact that this is nowhere near as epic a release as Horizons or Killing With A Smile. There is no 11 so what do you score those albums? The same as this? If you can't get over your fanboy wall because it's been build too high then don't bother.

    This album is incredibly average in light of what Parkway did with Adam D. Not to mention other astonishing releases that have come out within the same genre which tear it to shreds, such as Glass Cloud's 'Royal Thousand' and Architects 'Daybreaker'.

    I'm not saying it's a bad album but I sure as fuck am saying that it doesn't deserve a 10. I'd slice that in half and give it a five. Average for what these boys are capable of.

  4. I disagree that this is average, and even more so, I disagree that Architects' Daybreaker is an "astounding [release] that [has] came out within the same genre which [tears] it to shreds".

    I listened to the album and liked it at first, but it was nowhere near a 10. Only a few tracks stood out. However, after two or three more listens, every track was incredible and had something that stood out whether it be an amazing guitar lead/solo, an interesting effect, a massive breakdown,etc. While it's not their best piece of work (I do like it more than KWAS, not Horizons), I feel that it's worthy of a 10.

    Thanks for reading and for leaving a comment. I disagree with you but that doesn't mean I think you're stupid for having a different opinion. I'm all for discussion, but I don't want this to turn into a flame war for no reason.

  5. Please don't attempt to fix up my punctuation and grammar if you're not interested in starting a flame war. I've been writing reviews and doing interviews (including a few with Winston) for what I'm guessing would be a lot longer than you. I don't want this to turn into a dick measuring contest but back the fuck up. I said 'releases' because I also mentioned Glass Cloud's 'The Royal Thousand'. An album you obviously have no idea about.
    I was going to go easy on you but since you felt the need to 'correct' me where I make a comment, lets dissect the shit out if your review:

    First off you use way too much wank and cheese. Enough to kill any professional opinion off before the first paragraph finishes. Comparing the album to an actual atlas? It seems to me you're just pushing to fill the page with words that mean something to you but nothing to the reader.

    Your sentence structure and spelling are fantastic but who cares when your content is just dribble from a fan boy's boner. It's obvious you don't play an instrument because you never back up what you say with - well - anything.

    "The drumming is very fast-paced and extremely tight throughout the 48-minute Atlas, but it is particularly impressive on..." - Wow. Fast-paced drumming in Parkway? You don't say? It's tight because it was recorded in a studio, hence they don't allow for loose fuck ups.

    "Another thing that is more than solid is the guitar riffs and basslines. Spine-chilling melodies can be heard on nearly every track" - More than solid? Spine-chilling? Cliched filler, mate. You seem to have no concept of chords (open or otherwise), drops, timing, tuning and composition between lead and back-up (you know, since Parkway have two guitarists).

    "Perhaps the most impressive aspect on Atlas is the vocals. Winston has always been an extremely talented vocalist that puts so much force into his vocals, but they are even more monstrous on Atlas than they have ever been before." - Pretty sure we know you're speaking about vocals the first time you mention it but decide to specify two more times in one sentence. Saying that they are 'monstrous' doesn't help a reader understand what type of vocals they are. You extended on the lyrics but they aren't yours to show off, despite you thinking that adding them to your review seems to add depth.

    I could keep going but what's the point? You obviously spent a long time caring about how this would read instead of how it would inform. It sounds like something the band's publicist would write for a press release. Not a review.

    This is all the opinion of a fan and as the first comment on this review suggests, you need to keep it in check if you want to be taken seriously. I get that you love it and that's fine but don't be too quick to assume that this album tops the other work Parkway have done, when you have given it a few listens in comparison to having years with their other material. Just because something new gets added to the menu doesn't mean it tastes better than the rest of it. It's unfamiliar and appealing but by no means is it better.

    P.S - If you give a shit about how reviews (not mine) SHOULD be written then I recommend checking out HeavyBlogIsHeavy and The PRP. I don't write for these guys but it doesn't stop me from knowing that they know their shit.

  6. Thanks for re-posting your bashing comment. Now I have no choice but to come back with a reply because you are wrong in so many ways.

    I wasn't fixing your punctuation. I removed a part of your quote, then I fixed it so that it reads better.

    I am well aware of Glass Cloud and their new album. I thought it was great, but I don't like it near as much as Atlas.

    This touches on the first two points. I left out the bit about The Royal Thousand being an astonishing release because I somewhat agree with that. Why would I quote something that I agree if I'm trying to say otherwise in a statement?

    Concerning the intro, I wanted to try something new. After writing 100+ reviews with similar intros, it seems very bland to keep reusing the same formula. Sorry for trying to be creative.

    I have played an instrument (guitar) for about five years. I don't see how that matters, though. There are probably many reviewers that don't play any instruments. Does that make them less credible?

    You most likely have reviewed/interviewed albums and bands much longer than I have, and you probably have a better grasp on how to "properly" review an album. I'd like to reach the same level one day which is the reason why I'm taking a Journalism class next semester.

    Now, please, stop bashing my writing style and move on.

  7. Am i the only one who is totally in line with your review? i feel the exact same way! its definitly one of the best metalcore albums ever. And saying that you are a fanboy and can therefore not write a good review is complete bullshit + "Daybreakers" is not astonishing in any way.

  8. I don't know, dude, haha. Thanks for the support, though! It's nice to know that someone agrees with my review. :)

  9. I def agree. My first listen through was kinda meh... After that, whew awesome!!! I love the fact that they decided to experiment more with time signatures, and Winstons voice is definitely more enthralling than ever. And im a fan of Parkway. And im a boy... I guess that makes me a fanboy. But i listen to oh sleeper and this or the apocalypse on the regular. Parkway and the boys earned a 9 on this one. Other commenters... Please stop barrading The reviewer for being a Fan. You seem to be an anti fanboy fanboy. Which is very annoying. Youve made your point, he doesnt have to agree with you. Show us some of your reviews that you have as a top hit on google, then we'll talk.

  10. I thought the review was spot on and I've been listening to parkway since KWAS, sleight of hand is easily my favorite song by them now, and I don't think it was necessary for Dillinger to post such a ridiculous amount of hate, if he's not a big fan of the album, that's all he has to say. To each is own right?

  11. Just saying... it sounds to me like "Dillinger" drives a lifted pick up with big manly wheels.(Insecure and sad) Also, please don't use the term fan boy when talking about a metal album or its reviews. It just makes you sound like you sucked off Justin Bieber. Thanks people.


    And Steven,

    good review.

  12. Dillinger just sounds butt bothered because Parkway Drive broke away from writing sheer, blistering metalcore like Horizons and Killing With A Smile, like every other butt bothered idiot.

    If they wanted to write more of the same, they would've written more of the same. But they didn't, which is why Deep Blue, and now Atlas, exist to begin with. Bands progress and add new elements, if they know how to be a band. This album contains hints of melodic hardcore (as indicated by the title track), as well even hints of old school heavy metal (as indicated by the guitar riffs in many different songs across the album). You can recreate Boneyards, Romance Is Dead or Carrion all you want, but it won't add a more diverse repertoire to PWD's portfolio when they finally call it a day on their band's existence. I'd rather know a Parkway Drive that stemmed away from the safety of their patented metalcore, than the Parkway Drive that plays it safe and makes Horizons 2.0, 3.0 and so on.

    This album is majestic, and wonderful in every sense of the word. As you said Stevie, it took a few listens to grow on me, but now the more I imagine ANY of these songs being played live, I can't even fathom how crazy a venue would go over it. I'm excited to see them for the first time, whenever that may be.

  13. I would agree with you Paul, but Horizons was so fucking good that I would not mind a Horizons 2.0. One things that made me happy was to know that PWD at least attempted on both Deep Blue and Atlas to hook up with Adam D again, both times not being able to because of lack of studio openings at the time. They know he is the only one that can give them the sound they want and not to mention how much he actually helps with the song writing. If Horizons was playing it safe, then play it safe Parkway. I bet Parkway would create another Carrion/Horizons/Idols & Anchors if they could, but Adam D had such a huge part in the writing of a lot of those songs that they almost need the dude (which is why they have tried to go back to him every single album).

    Atlas lacks when it comes to production as was expected not going to Adam D. Atlas is my 2nd favorite by PWD behind Horizons and it was definitely a step up from the step back called Deep Blue. These guys cannot make a bad album and although this review was written by an obvious fan, it is not far off.

  14. Good review. I liked the album better than their others. I'd agree with a 10/10 seeing as how I still listen to the album on a daily basis (going to school, gym, ect..) without having to skip tracks.

    In fact, I am listening to "The River" as I type this.