Parkway Drive / Killswitch Engage / Thy Art Is Murder
Cardiff Arena – 01/02/19
The Australian deathcore mob Thy Art Is Murder (9) are by far the heaviest band on the bill and perform with a vengeance. The five piece kicked off the night by wasting no time projecting their ferocious, demonic sound to the ever-swelling crowd. They creep onto the stage, emitting an ominous aura in which they instantly descend into ‘Dear Desolation’; submerging the room with deafening barricade of hefty chugging riffs, thundering drum kicks and CJ Mahon’s merciless growls.
CJ immersing himself with the crowd, high-fiving and grasping fans hands as he dominates the crowd with the crushing noise of ‘The Purest strain of Hate’ booms out. Their set consisted of a mere six tracks, so the band brought out the big guns of ‘Holy War’ and ‘Puppet Master’ with ‘Son Of Misery’ completing the rapid set. Thy Art delivered an unruly set and could’ve definitely had more to offer.
Metalcore giants Killswitch Engage (9) are next take to the stage, wasting no time dropping into ‘Strength Of The Mind’ to kick off their set. This is then swiftly followed by the popular hit ‘The End Of Heartache’, the intro rings out to an excited crowd who scream the words back to vocalist Jesse Leach. Guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz fleshes out the track with his crooning melodies to harmonise with Leach and the raspy growls adds a bite to the riff heavy track. Killswitch are experts in putting on an interesting and energetic show, bassist Mike D’Antonio and Dutkiewicz work together in delivering the energy.
Through the set Dutkiewicz is frantically hopping around back forth across the stage, doing the perfect job of hyping up the crowd whilst delivering each guitar lick with ease. The set is a mix of the old and the new, appealing to a range of killswitch listeners, dropping massive hits as ‘My Curse’ and ‘Rose of Sharyn’ as well as newer track ‘Hate By Design’ and delving back as old as ‘My Last Serenade’. from ‘Alive or Just Breathing’. Killswitch are built for an arena environment, their well-loved metal sound radiates an intense, dominating atmosphere which establishes them as future headliner material. Concluding with ‘In Due Time’, the show so far has gone from strength to strength but it was only about to get better.
The room is cloaked in darkness and only the the bright light of tiki torches can be seen as flames rise up from the crowd. The torches are carried through the masses, the audience scurrying back as the band march towards the stage; Parkway Drive (10) certainly making an entrance fit for royalty. Once the band were all on stage, the first track ‘Wishing Wells’ off their newest release ‘Reverence’ starts with vocalist Winston McCall rasping out the intro, the build up slowly intensifying. He then roars out “until I’m done” which instructs the mighty instrumental to thunder out. ‘Carrion’, ‘Wild Eyes’ and ‘Idols and Anchors’ are an ode to their metalcore roots, contrasting greatly to likes of ‘Reverence’ yet still carries that same bravado they had but in a whole new approach. The insatiable groove of ‘The Void’ and the instrumentally focused ‘Chronos’ demonstrates how this album was destined for the live music environment – ‘Reverence’ material sounding even more momentous in the flesh.
‘Writings On The Wall’ sees a spectacular performance which is accompanied with a cellist and three violinists gracing individual pedestals, bringing the orchestral elements of the song to life – an incredible performance to witness. Parkway Drive’s stage performance has stepped up several notches with ‘Dedicated’ causing a surge of fire balls to rise from the stage, the first implementation of the pyrotechnics Parkway Drive have in store. ‘The Colour Of Leaving’ sees McCall and the cellist take a place on a stage within the crowd, a delicate spotlight accentuates the melancholic atmosphere as McCall croons out the words. ‘Reverence’ reflects how Parkway Drive have shrugged off the monotonous clichés of metalcore over time with a repertoire of albums that have matured, keeping that domineering sound but with a focus on a theatrical, instrumentally driven performance.
As if the set couldn’t get anymore mesmerising, McCalls prepares his own Molotov cocktail and the stage lights up like a bonfire; the stage doused in flames. The encore ‘Crushed’ was ruthlessly followed by ‘Bottom Feeder’, the scorching flames adding intensity to the onslaught of thundering riffs, manic drumming and McCall’s roars. Parkway Drive certainly knocked the ball out of the park with this performance, they have shown a strong musical progression since their ‘Killing With A Smile’ days. They’ve ditched the constraints of metalcore and with a sound that still retains that crushing heaviness, Parkway Drive prove they are a force to be reckoned with.
Review & Photography: Steph Evans