Friday the 13th of November, 2015 did not mark a happy day. A variety of terrible things marked this day, things that have not been resolved, and pains that still plague our broken Earth. I don’t get a smile when I think of the events that transpired, but my job and my passion here at Bucketlist Music Reviews isn’t to be political and give my views. My job is tell you about the thing I love most in the world, and that is music. In times of pain, the most impossible thing to do is just that, and the only thing my mind knows how to do when we all suffer is to live and to love. While the events of November 13th transpired, I was surrounded by those I love, great friends, and a miasma of phenomenal music. I looked forward to writing this piece for the Parkway Drive headliner this past Friday at the Metropolis here in Montreal, QC, and although getting my head wrapped around writing it has been a nightmare, goddamnit, you’re gonna have a good fucking time reading it.
The kangaroo kaos (you see what I did there?) opened up with Byron Bay, AU’s greenhorns, In Hearts Wake. This being my first live encounter with IHW, but not the first time actually hearing them, my standard was set high like the picky asshole that I am. I can proudly say that these cats definitely brought as big of a sound as I expected. Furthermore, it sounded as wimpy as expected from their recordings as well. Overall, a great set; very early 2000s scene, but still bringing a good amount of beef to the table for it to be enjoyed by a diverse crowd, as is the case with any metal/pop-core band. One particular mention I’d like to make is about bass player Kyle Erich’s clean vocals. Instead of attempting to go for a note that can at times be slightly unattainable with such factors as road wear or even constipation, Erich’s simply sloped back down the scale while still bringing a beautiful melody to each part. Many a teenage panty was moist among us.
After the happy-go-lucky day of In HEart’s Wake came vicious, prison-rape night as Sydney, AU’s Thy Art Is Murder crashed into the room like the fucking Koolaid man on crack. I’m personally no stranger to the barrage that is Thy Art, however who gives a fuck what I’ve already seen; tonight was special in a lot of ways. I’m not going to say it was their tightest set, that would be a lie. I’m not going to say this was their loudest set, that would also be a lie. What I am going to tell you is that there was a rage on that stage that I’ve yet to see out of these already angry Aussies up until now. This half an hour was absolute carnage. By the time “Reign of Darkness” rolled around (to my surprise, as this is typically their closing song), I was already in need of several reconstructive surgeries around my derriere from excessive abuse, not to mention the utter violence occurring inside the crowd. (Yeah, I’m a frail old man and stayed in the back, fuck off). Butthole jokes aside, the emotion radiating off of front man CJ McMahon came to a full head by the last song, the title track of their most recent release, “Holy Wars,” which I truly hope needs no explanation. If unimaginable heaviness and hate is your cup o’ tea, Then Thy Art Is Murder is your new Mecca, distasteful pun intended.
Up next was no stranger to my incessant babble. I’ve never much been a fan of Troy, OH’s metalcore five-piece Miss May I, but one thing I can never take away from them is the devotion of their fan base. Over the years, I’ve always seen Miss May I as a diet version of As I Lay Dying in terms of the conglomerate sound. Whether or not I mentioned this in my last review remains unknown to me, as my laziness has overcome my being. Genius-sounding bullshit aside, no matter how tight of a set this band plays, I can never seem to find something about them that actually draws me in enough to want to pursue their recorded work. Every piece is there, but a lack of originality tends to plague the overall structure. Many would see the vocals and music as transcendent to the scene itself, meanwhile I can’t seem to look past my distaste. Maybe I used the term transcendent because a buddy of mine at the show dared me to; maybe I’m just a cunt and should move on to the headliner so that MMI fans don’t somehow find my address and beat the piss out of me.
I have enjoyed this next act over many albums, many shows, many stages, and many years, and tonight was no different. If you thought Australia doesn’t know metal and hardcore, then Byron Bay’s baby boys in Parkway Drive have been fucking you up for over a decade. Not a soul stood still, and not a neck walked away unscathed (please try and refrain from your Rhonda Rousey jokes, they’re not actually that funny). The set broke out the same way their latest release Ire does, with the track “Destroyer.” A PWD habit over the past few album cycles has been to play the absolute shit out of their latest release, thus given significantly less love to their classics. A great move promotionally, but a sad move for us long-time fans. Several highlights were notable during this act, most specifically watching lead guitarist Luke Kilpatrick kill it in his famed wheeled throne (eat that shit Dave Grohl, Luke spun around in a circle and shit!), as well as the uncontrollable bouts of ejaculation that occurred from breakdown to breakdown. The “low-lights” included a lack of “Boneyards”… that’s pretty much it. The sound was impeccable, the overall ambience of the crowd was hot as fucking fire, and the song choice was almost perfect; I still absolutely burst when “Romance is Dead” flooded the air. I’ve watched these cats go from two sold-out shows IN THE SAME DAY at itty bitty Underworld (now closed) to absolutely slaughtering a 2300+ person crowd at the Metropolis. No matter the amount of hate and sadness that plagues our broken world, music is still there to remind you that pain is momentary, but bangovers are forever.
Written by Jason Greenberg
Photography by Melissa Martella
*edited by Kate Erickson