Australia’s PARKWAY DRIVE are very smart in that they use the first minute of their time to rope the listener in with an interesting tapping intro and intense vocals. But from the moment the first breakdown kicks in, things are somewhat spoiled. The music stops completely to bring the breakdown in, a weak way of integrating an equally unoriginal chug pattern. Directly after this, the cloning of UNEARTH begins. Listen to the couple riffs after the breakdown. Sound familiar? The squeal at the two minute mark should be recognizable, especially, since it’s a direct rip from a track on “The Oncoming Storm.”
The songs on “Killing With A Smile” are, for the most part, pretty good. They’re yet another example of an aggressive Metal band with punchy riffs, tight drums, nice solos, cool vocals and one major problem; they have an obscene addiction to breakdowns. And unless a band is UNEARTH, breakdowns get old, tiresome and repetitive. PARKWAY DRIVE are not UNEARTH, BLEEDING THROUGH, or DARK TRANQUILLITY, no matter how much the vocalist tries to imitate Trevor Phipps, or how much the rest of the band wants to be these three. DARK TRANQUILLITY rip offs are also clearly audible, especially in the stolen riff from DT’s “Hedon” heard on “Anasasis (Xenophontis)”…whatever the hell that means. The solos are also reminiscent of the Swedish metal gods, but in a more entertaining and creative fashion.
PARKWAY DRIVE are a rising force in the Metalcore scene. Viewing this as a good thing or a shame is going to depend on their ability to increase their originality in the future. Breakdowns are good when used tastefully and sparsely if they can’t stay fresh. As for the slow breakdowns, the chug-a-chug simplicity used with zealous overkill on some tracks like “Gun For Show, Knives For A Pro,” they need to be eliminated altogether.
“Killing With A Smile” has crisp production, fast and tight drumming, decent vocals when the vocalist is employing his own style and talent in the strings section. However, anyone who has listened to the bands that PARKWAY DRIVE draws heavily influence from will likely be tired and fed up by the end of this release. (Online September 23, 2006)