The fourth album from Australian metalcore outfit Parkway Drive gives both fans of the band’s early releases and fans of the more experimental side shown in their last album Deep Blue something to enjoy. With 12 diverse tracks that offer any metal enthusiast something to chew on, Atlas may become Parkway Drive fans’ favorite album to date.
The opening track “Sparks” serves as the perfect introduction to the album, leading into the aggressive “Old Ghosts/New Regrets.” Vocalist Winston McCall’s guttural screams of “We’re born with nothing and we die alone” grab the attention of the listener and leave a lasting impression. Parkway Drive changes it up with the more melodic “Dream Run” before leading into “Wild Eyes.” Perhaps the best track Atlas has to offer, “Wild Eyes” brings gang vocals into the mix of hard hitting drums and punching guitars that characterize a classic Parkway Drive song. “Dark Days” picks things up with endless double-bass kicks, plenty of growling, and the necessary breakdown or two.
“The River” starts off things with melodic, even atmospheric, music and includes a choir section, a nice rest from the break-neck pace and harshness of the rest of the album. More standard tracks that you would expect from Parkway Drive follow, but the quintet offers another change in pace with the title track. The incorporation of the string section gives an almost celestial feel to the song, a complete 180 from the high-intensity of the previous two tracks. The album finishes strong with “Snake Oil and Holy Water,” a thrasher from beginning to end, and “Blue and the Grey,” the final and longest track of the album that combines trumpets into the mix.
While Atlas includes tracks that embody what Parkway Drive is all about and why they are so respected in the metalcore scene, it is in the moments that the band steps away from the consistent fast-paced metalcore standard that really makes Atlas stand out.