With a line up drawing together the crème de la crème of mosh from all corners of the world, the electricity and eagerness flowing around Rock City on this frosty Monday night is reaching fever pitch even before the doors swing open.
Taking to the stage first are Carnifex, who after their bizarre year being out of the game are back to their technical, blistering and brutal best. ‘Die Without Hope’ sounds fine tuned into an inch of it’s life and receives sweltering circle pits as reward, while closing classic ‘Hell Chose Me’ is chanted from back to front by the baying crowd. (4/5)
The months leading up to this tour were far from smooth for Northlane, but tonight they seem to have put the departure of vocalist Adrian Fitipaldes behind them in ground shaking style. New frontman Marcus Bridge has stepped up to the plate and brings a whole different layer of melody and energy to the band’s back catalogue, while new song ‘Rot’ is already a clear fan favourite as bodies fly from all directions just for a grab of the mic. If they keep this sort of pace up, 2015 will be an exciting and defining time for the band. (4/5)
Heaven Shall Burn have 18 years experience under their belt, and it shows in their live show. Strolling confidently around the stage with vigor and reason, the band delivers their own brand of fast, catchy and all consuming metal to a pocket of hardcores and a sea of newbies. Aside from a lot of crotch grabbing and mic wanking and the venue’s sound taking away any sort of technicality the band have injected into their music, their 40 minutes on stage are a blur of riffs, fist pumps and a real celebration of what metal can mean to people. (3/5)
The show, however belongs to one band. In recent years Parkway Drive have taken the huge step from metalcore sweethearts to a genuine big deal within the scene and beyond. All this is apparent from the get go as confetti cannons explode to ‘Wild Eyes’ and every single body watching is off the floor. This has become more than just a band playing on stage. This has become a spectacle. A real demonstration of how heavy music can be an experience. ‘Sleepwalker’ and ‘Karma’ sound precise and on point, with the venue consumed by swinging arms and banging heads while ‘Dark Days’ and ‘Dream Run’ from last year’s ‘Atlas’ are already welcomed as classics.
The effect the band has on a crowd is uniquely powerful. Every word sung is screamed back louder with arms raised to the heavens. Every guitar solo and riff is echoed back with passion and wiggling fingers. Every breakdown is devoured with endless aggression and effortless stamina. Somewhere a chord has been struck between Parkway and their audience and from stage, Winston McColl takes it all in with a truly humbled smile and sense of gratitude. Calling for more of the same energy, oldies ‘Idols And Anchors’ and ‘Mutiny’ are met with delighted cries.
“Our first tour overseas was in the UK and we played Nottingham to like 10 people, now look at us.” Winston proclaims to an almighty roar before smashing straight into a rapturous ‘Deliver Me’. The confidence flowing through the band seems to be limitless as ‘Romance Is Dead’ follows with a real spine tingling “cry me a fucking river” mosh call shaking the rafters of the venue.
Rounding the evening off with a pummeling ‘Horizons’, a rousing ‘Carrion’ and a shower of confetti, it’s clear to every soul present that Parkway Drive are still a force to be reckon with after all these years. With a back catalogue as solid as there’s and a level of performance forever developing and expanding, there’s nothing else for the band to do but continue to go from strength to strength into 2015 and beyond. Long live the kings. (4/5)
Words by Jack Rogers (@JackMRog)
Photos by Carrie-Anne Pollard.