Parkway Drive: Deep Blue

The Australian group is still flying high on their third album, but it falls far short of their previous success.

Parkway Drive

Deep Blue

Label: Epitaph
US Release Date: 2010-06-29
UK Release Date: 2010-06-28
Label website
Artist website

In music, sometimes two wrongs can actually make a right, and there's perhaps no better example of this than Parkway Drive. The Australian quintet has taken the two most hated metal subgenres of this decade, metalcore and deathcore, and blended the two together, creating an entirely new and somehow unique engine of pure destruction. 2006's Killing With a Smile showed lots of promise, but it was 2007's Horizons that really cemented Parkway Drive as a worldwide force of devastation. Their music had most of the clichés of both subgenres, but when brought together with Winston McCall's primal screams, the result was unlike anything heard on either side of the line. It was too heavy and breakdown-intensive to be metalcore, but at the same time, too melodic and well-structured to be deathcore. However, these positives may have set too high of a standard for Parkway Drive's newest album, Deep Blue, which sees the band moving backwards rather than forward.

Deep Blue is by no means a bad album. The band is in good form with their musicianship, maintaining the razor-sharp precision that they have shown on prior releases. McCall is still the beast he has always been on the microphone, roaring his vocals like a lion in bloodlust. Ben Gordon lives up to his reputation as one of the fastest, most exact drummers in the scene, holding time perfectly and diversifying his fills very creatively. Guest appearances by Brett Gurewitz of Bad Religion and Marshall Lichtenwaldt of the Warriors are welcome additions to the songs "Home is for the Heartless" and "Hollow", respectively.

The area where Deep Blue falls flat is in compositional diversity. For a band that became popular because of their ability to mix genres, this album has surprisingly few diverse touches in it. Parkway Drive used to evenly walk the line between metalcore and deathcore, but most of the songs on this album have more deathcore elements while leaving out most of the metalcore parts. Where Horizons had a fairly even split between the number of breakdowns and the number of guitar solos on the album, Deep Blue has almost no guitar solos whatsoever and is laced with breakdowns from beginning to end. The album's first half suffers greatly from this, as the breakdowns create a choppy, inconsistent tempo that feels unnatural. The second half is slightly better and more consistent, but it still can't match the perfect, even flow of Horizons.

Deep Blue keeps Parkway Drive between genres, but only just barely. The lack of variety in the compositions is a serious issue for a band that had a much wider span of options on their older work. It is still a good album, and will likely bring in some fans from the deathcore crowd that may have previously found the band unappealing. Longtime fans of Parkway Drive know that they are capable of so much more, and the evidence that they've achieved more is undeniable. A return of super-producer Adam Dutkiewicz and their previously established sound would be advisable for Parkway Drive's next album, whenever they decide to start writing it.





90 Years on 'Olivia' Remains a Classic of Lesbian Literature

It's good that we have our happy LGBTQ stories today, but it's also important to appreciate and understand the daunting depths of feeling that a love repressed can produce. In Dorothy Strachey's case, it produced the masterful Olivia.


Indie Rocker Alpha Cat Presents 'Live at Vox Pop' (album stream)

A raw live set from Brooklyn in the summer of 2005 found Alpha Cat returning to the stage after personal tumult. Sales benefit organizations seeking to end discrimination toward those seeking help with mental health issues.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

A Lesson from the Avengers for Our Time of COVID-19

Whereas the heroes in Avengers: Endgame stew for five years, our grief has barely taken us to the after-credit sequence. Someone page Captain Marvel, please.


Between the Grooves of Nirvana's 'Nevermind'

Our writers undertake a track-by-track analysis of the most celebrated album of the 1990s: Nirvana's Nevermind. From the surprise hit that brought grunge to the masses, to the hidden cacophonous noise-fest that may not even be on your copy of the record, it's all here.


Deeper Graves Arrives via 'Open Roads' (album stream)

Chrome Waves, ex-Nachtmystium man Jeff Wilson offers up solo debut, Open Roads, featuring dark and remarkable sounds in tune with Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus.

Featured: Top of Home Page

The 50 Best Albums of 2020 So Far

Even in the coronavirus-shortened record release schedule of 2020, the year has offered a mountainous feast of sublime music. The 50 best albums of 2020 so far are an eclectic and increasingly "woke" bunch.


First Tragedy, Then Farce, Then What?

Riffing off Marx's riff on Hegel on history, art historian and critic Hal Foster contemplates political culture and cultural politics in the age of Donald Trump in What Comes After Farce?


HAIM Create Their Best Album with 'Women in Music Pt. III'

On Women in Music Pt. III, HAIM are done pretending and ready to be themselves. By learning to embrace the power in their weakest points, the group have created their best work to date.


Amnesia Scanner's 'Tearless' Aesthetically Maps the Failing Anthropocene

Amnesia Scanner's Tearless aesthetically maps the failing Anthropocene through its globally connected features and experimental mesh of deconstructed club, reggaeton, and metalcore.


How Lasting Is the Legacy of the Live 8 Charity Concert?

A voyage to the bottom of a T-shirt drawer prompts a look back at a major event in the history of celebrity charity concerts, 2005's Live 8, Philadelphia.


Jessie Ware Embraces Her Club Culture Roots on Rapturous 'What's Your Pleasure?'

British diva Jessie Ware cooks up a glittery collection of hedonistic disco tracks and delivers one of the year's best records with What's Your Pleasure.


Paul Weller Dazzles with the Psychedelic and Soulful 'On Sunset'

Paul Weller's On Sunset continues his recent streak of experimental yet tuneful masterworks. More than 40 years into his musical career, Weller sounds as fresh and inspired as ever.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.