Parkway Drive at Reading Festival was pretty big. Here's why.
PARKWAY DON'T FIT IN HERE... AND THAT'S JUST FINE WITH US
On one hand, a main stage that can boast acts as diverse as Clutch and The Courteners is a healthy mix. Something about variety and life's spices, right? On the other, it's hard not to feel for Parkway Drive frontman Winston McCall when he describes his band as being the "alternative to the alternative" at Reading Festival today.
He's not wrong. There's pretty much nothing like the Aussie metalcore titans on offer elsewhere on the bill on this occasion, and their 'difference' proves a massive advantage in winning over any potential floating voters.
You can't really beat chuggy riffs, guttural vocals and melodies for days...
PARKWAY DRIVE HAVE GOT VERY, VERY GOOD AT BEING PARKWAY DRIVE
Speaking of which, Parkway have quietly gone about becoming a band who have their very particular shtick down pat. They know who they are, play to their strengths and when they grip on tight they don't let their audience loose for a second.
It takes around three songs before they've got Reading in the palm of their hands today. They demand total physical and emotional dedication.
And if the close ups on the big screens of faces rapt in relentless energy is anything to go by, they get it.
THERE ARE SOME ABSOLUTE WARRIORS IN THE PIT TODAY
'Karma' goes off like pretty much nothing else has this whole weekend. One guy we witness emerges from the throng holding his left arm with his right arm, looking sorry for himself; a casualty of his own over exuberance. He's probably not the only one.
THEY HAVE MORE IN THEIR LOCKER THAN JUST RIFFS, MIND...
The creeping darkness and intensity of 'The Writing's On The Wall' is proof that they're no flat track bullies or one trick ponies. They've got nuance and texture in their arsenal now, too. Plus, such menace and respite almost makes the bookended battery feel even more punishing.
THIS BAND IS MADE FOR STAGES LIKE THIS
In 2016, the Byron Bay five-piece feel like a band absolutely at ease in their own skin. If anything, they're thrilled that their metalcore still packs a punch every bit as hard as promised and expected.
OOFT. JUST OOFT
As the words "Crushed by the fist of God" ring out on 'Crushed' it feels like actually being dazzled by a thumping haymaker from the big man upstairs. The perfectly timed pyro blasts that accompany its "Bang! Bang! Bang!" refrain are just masterful, verging on showing off.
THIS MAY BE ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL BANDS OF THE ENTIRE WEEKEND
When they level all in sight with 'Bottom Feeder' as a set finisher, it almost feels unfair. Parkway Drive are now a band who never fail to produce the goods; the goods being the most perfectly-formed and unapologetic metalcore master class in the game. Peerless.