Parkway Drive is a band that treads the water of generic, paint by numbers Metalcore, yet gains respect from "authentic" metalheads. I lie somewhere in between, more often then not bashing bands of the genre. And thats not to say there wasn't a point in my life where I blasted metalcore, (16 years old) and bands like It Dies Today and Bleeding Through were a mainstay on my 2nd generation iPod video. Parkway is at its heart, a metalcore band that seems to progressively mature from album to album. On their earlier albums, the band really relied on the "shundun" breakdown and "cry me a river bitch" call outs. While breakdowns are still a part of Parkway's sound, they are used in better taste.

Atlas starts off with 2 minutes of clean guitar and female vocals. (Weird, right?) Opening song "Old Ghosts/New Regrets" is the Parkway Drive formula in a nutshell. Acrobatic guitar, kick drum heavy drumming and non existant bass guitar. The highlight of Parkway Drive continues to be vocalist Winston McCall, with his powerful scream that ranges from guttural lows to stubbed my toe highs. As mentioned earlier, breakdowns are still present throughout Atlas, just used more intelligently. A perfect example would be on the track, "Dark Days"(watch video). The chugs are teased throughout, and the explosion at the end brings the song to a proper close.

Parkway Drive won't gain any new listeners from this release I'd imagine, but would definitely please those who are already on the bandwagon. Its also nice to have a metalcore band that looks like a bunch of regular dudes playing heavy jams, rather then a bunch of fashionista hipster kids that have emo side projects. Uh, Atlas is out now via Epitaph Records.