Live Review: Parkway Drive, Bury Tomorrow and Thy Art Is Murder – O2 Academy, Birmingham – 15/02/2016

Live Review: Parkway Drive, Bury Tomorrow and Thy Art Is Murder – O2 Academy, Birmingham – 15/02/2016

Although a cold wind is blowing through the Second City, a hat-trick of metal’s heaviest hitters have arrived to supply a heatwave of ferocious metal. With a triple bill of Parkway Drive, Bury Tomorrow and Thy Art Is Murder, there is no doubt that tonight is going to be anything but heavy.

For Thy Art Is Murder, this current UK trip is the first time on these shores since the much talked about departure of Chris “CJ” McMahon. Nevertheless, Nick Arthur quickly justifies his role in McMahon’s position as he growls reverb through the academy. Likewise his band mates set the tone for the evening, with monstrous chugging guitars and dominating double bass pedal drums. Stylistically there is no let up for the Aussie’s; rapid drums, razor sharp breakdowns and roaring vocals prove to be a constant. However for those who like a bit of structure and the odd bit of melody and variation, Thy Art Is Murder soon become tiresome and, to an extent, repetitive. (2/5)

From the opening moments of ‘Earthbound’, Southampton’s Bury Tomorrow show they are full of intent. Throughout their 40 minutes, the quintet show an unrelenting urgency as Dan Winter-Bates confidently screams and shouts with clean vocalist Jason Cameron pulls off his role in supplying anthemic hooks from start to finish.

‘Of Glory’ sees the Academy turn into one mammoth mosh-fest, whereas old fan favourite ‘Lionheart’ erupts with its thunderous tempo. ‘Sceptres’ keeps the momentum going before ‘Last Light’ produces a powerful slice of melodic metalcore in its finest form. Rounding things off with ‘Memories’ and ‘Man on Fire’, it’s clear Bury Tomorrow are on the brink of something special. It’s only a matter of time they return to this venue as headliners. (4/5)

As they bring their biggest UK headline tour to date to a close, Parkway Drive are determined to go out in style. Preluded by a mass singalong of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, there is a sense of excitement and anticipation in this packed crowd. From the moment ‘Destroyer’ kicks in confetti and streamers erupt. On stage, the Byron Bay group are a metallic force with Winston McCall’s growls being carried with a weight of confidence whilst Jeff Ling provides a stringent and slick display.

Over the course of 85 minutes, the quintet mark their place on top of metalcore’s elite with outstanding tracks such as ‘Carrion’, ‘Dying To Believe’, and ‘Dark Days’. ‘Karma’ sees the introduction of pyro, with flames emphasising Parkway Drive’s musical might alongside the heightened production on display tonight. ‘Vice Grip’ unites the room with ’80s metal-tinged guitar and overall anthemic tone. In a similar fashion, ‘Idols and Anchors’ is delivered in a bold and brash fashion.

Whilst Thy Art Is Murder’s breakdowns are instantaneous, ‘Bottom Feeder’ and old favourite ‘Romance Is Dead’ are more structured and paced making the breakdowns more effective.

The colossal ‘Crushed’ opens the two-song encore, with sharp riffs and dense drum work whilst McCall’s presence is domineering. ‘Home Is for the Heartless’ ends the night on an almighty high as sparks rain down behind the quintet standing in defiance. Having conquered the UK once again, Parkway Drive tonight show they have an arsenal of songs to take on the world, and when combined with arena-sized production, the possibilities are nearly endless. With the metal elite unfortunately ageing year-by-year, Parkway Drive are merely waiting inline to take the throne. (4.5/5)

4/5

Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86). Photos by Benji Bryans.