The rise and rise of Parkway Drive has been nothing short of phenomenal following the release of their latest album, Reverence. It’s an album that we absolutely loved and turned us into fans having not really been on board up to that point. You can read our review of Reverence here.
The area around Alexandra Palace seems to have been taken over by metal-heads and the freezing cold certainly doesn’t seem to affect spirits. At least at first but after an hour plus of queuing to get inside the venue, the cold is all anyone is thinking about.
It’s so frustrating as the system in place to get people into the venue has you stuck standing still for ages at a time. Yes, it is busy, yes, it is sold out but there has to be a better way then the current system of releasing one queue at a time while the others are forced to wait. That in itself might not be the worst of it if you didn’t then inevitably hit another queue to get in the actual doors. With the temperature in the minus and Thy Art is Murder on stage not long after doors actually opened, it’s just not a good system.
After queuing for over an hour we finally got in to discover that Thy Art had already taken to the stage but thankfully we caught the majority of their set. The Aussie deathcore band is in good form but their music is not suited for stages this big and halls this empty. The floor is less then half full and it gives their ruthless heaviness a real cavernous sound.
That’s not an issue for Killswitch Engage though who, going on general chatter heard, are who many are most excited to see tonight. I find it hard to get too excited about Killswitch for the most part though. Their album The End of Heartache was an important album of my youth but overall they never connected with me. Live they are far more exciting with a medley of tracks across the Killswitch back-catalogue. It’s great to hear Jesse Leech nail tracks like My Curse, Rose of Sharyn and Arms of Sorrow.
It’s all a massive sing-along and their set absolutely flies by.
Then it is time. Time to see if Parkway Drive can justify the plaudits being sent their way. Time to see if they can deliver on their biggest headline show to date. When the lights go down it’s absolutely electric. Then the fire starts as the band are led through the crowd from a side door by robed and hooded figures holding flaming torches.
It’s the kind of theatrics that has people tapping each other on the shoulder excitedly. It’s the kind of theatrics that makes them a headliner especially when added to the glut of pyro and lighting effects that occur throughout the night.
Parkway Drive bring a show, a hell of a show but they back that up with an incredible set. One that is smartly focused on Reverence and Ire. It’s the former’s best two tracks that have the packed in crowd of the Ally Pally bouncing up and down. Wishing Wells and Prey deliver momentous heaviness and it is a wonder the roof wasn’t blown off, such is the noise.
It’s spectacular even if the few early Parkway tracks that are played don’t quite resonate in the same way. That for me stops this being a 9/10 or above. It is not a night of wall to wall bangers and for every Cronos or The Void we have a Carrion or Wild Eyes.
Thankfully it’s mostly a great night of metalcore and even the horrendous queuing system is forgotten about as Parkway Drive wrap up a triumphant night with Bottom Feeder and the announcement that they will be the third and final headliner of Bloodstock Festival 2019. They more then deserve it.
Parkway Drive at The Alexandra Palace, London (02/02/19)
Parkway Drive - 8/10
Killswitch Engage - 7/10
Thy Art is Murder - 6.5/10