Review by Sheri Bicheno for MPM
By the Gods, it’s good to get back out into the swing of live shows again.
I feel like the live scene has bounced back from the scars of the last couple of years with a vengeance lately.
Rolling up to Nottingham Motorpoint Arena was undoubtedly going to be a sight to behold but I don’t think I really realised what was beyond those doors before I got into the arena floor.
You couldn’t swing a cat even if you wanted to.
The arena was brimful to the point where security were telling people to move elsewhere as there was a blockage of people crammed to the sides blocking the outer pathways. If you were looking for your mates in the ocean of bodies, all hope was lost.
So I took myself off and managed to get a seat, side stage and only had a few moments before the lights went down and brutal New Jersey powerhouse dudes Lorna Shore kicked the night right into the stratosphere, opening up with To The Hellfire.
I adore this track, it long lives on my playlists and if ever you want to be plunged right into the depths of filth and god knows what else, this is the track to get you there.
As an opening track, it doesn’t mess around and live, it has an almost morbid curiosity about it – the stage is engulfed in red and sets the mood for what we’re about to witness.
Will Ramos has a voice that is just purely insane.
We all know and appreciate that most Deathcore vocalists have that descriptive observation down to a tee but I cannot emphasise enough the sheer energy and soul melting echoes that come from the deepest, darkest pits that dwell within him.
To The Hellfire is one that starts off ambient and simple and before you know it, hits you in the face with it’s epic heights of blast beats and melody.
Whoever created the combination of choir and brutal metal needs a firm bump of the fist. Of the Abyss is an example of how this works so well and if you get the formula right, you get something that gets you right in the feels.
This track is pure spite with a good churn of brutal but deeply emotionally rooted riffs from Adam De Micco and Andrew O’Connor. The state of the crowd at the feet of Lorna Shore is testament to the deliverance of what they do. A sea of people moving together during the filthy breakdowns and crowd surfing mayhem.
“Do you like to bang your f*cking heads?” this is more of a command rather than a question before the beauty of Sun//Eater fills the space with its epic choirs and violins, melting into a frenzy of Austin Archey blast beating the backbone of this track and glorious guitars hitting hard.
This is another favourite of mine to be honest. The bass of Michael Yager is low and blends so well with Will’s vocals… much of this song provides a lot of beauty behind the madness.
Much can be said the same for Cursed to Die which is another beautifully epic but equally brutally delivered track. Voicing the errors of human ways and that we all live and die the same, this track delivers a powerful message to accompany the belting ferocity of what creates Lorna Shore.
“I want to thank the security for catching you and making sure you’re not dead…”
Thus concluding their set, Will displays a valuable asset as a frontman by acknowledging the CARNAGE that took place – the pits and crowd surfers were huge in numbers, there were times where I’d caught a few of the crowd surfers that had been hoisted over the barrier, practically skipping back to the crowd and I couldn’t help but grin.
Into the Earth from the impending album Pain Remains, leaves us with a frantic and core grinding finish to Lorna Shore’s set, full of breakdowns and a pit of filthy reverberation of what we should expect from the new offering coming out on 14th October…
Lorna Shore are:
- Adam De Micco – lead guitar
- Austin Archey – drums
- Andrew O’Connor – rhythm guitar
- Will Ramos – lead vocals
- Michael Yager – bass guitar
Having never seen While She Sleeps before, I was more than happy to soak up the energy that emanated from the get go.
Sleep Society starts off as an almost Prodigy intro that got the crowd really moving. It soon shows a tight and cleaner vocalled contrast from the Sheffield hailing lads and that energy is just non stop.
The guys have an almost ethereal vibe running through their set with Mat and Sean’s winding strings and Loz’s beautiful vocal range that layers in with his devastating screams.
This was hugely present in Anti Social which totally blew me away if i’m honest.
A pretty striking track live, the energy of it echoed through the arena and there’s a sense of unity between the crowd and the stage.
During Guilty Party, I couldn’t help but feel that lump you get in your core when you really feel the emotion behind a song, particularly live.
The undertone that Aaran sets with his bass really gives this track it’s feeling. There are upbeat parts of this track of course, however i feel like the emotion really sets in with the quieter shades of it and when the lyrics burst through:
“Your eyes shine the sun,
Your skin blows the wind.”
Loz launches himself into the crowd and joins them for much of I’ve Seen It All, which just enforces the emotion behind it for me. This is another stunning song that is designed to touch your core with depths of beautiful vocals and ethereal strings echoing the deep lyrics.
Adam’s drums are exceptional here, with the beats and blasts giving the energy and pace that emphasises the song’s ability to captivate that aforementioned lump in your core… stunning.
In turn, While She Sleeps can be equally heavy.
“I wanna see those circle pits! Send your people over the barrier right now!”
Loz commands everyone to get down… and then the impending wave teases through the air of the electronic intro of Systematic and BOOM the epic blasts shoot through the stage and the whole place jumps up.
This is a fast hitting, hard beating blast of a track. It’s pretty rife with angry energy and it invites everyone to share it.
Although unsure what I was expecting from While She Sleeps – the sheer energy that filled that Arena was incredible.
While She Sleeps are:
- Sean Long – lead guitar, backing vocals
- Aaran McKenzie – bass, backing vocals
- Adam “Sav” Savage – drums, percussion
- Mat Welsh – rhythm guitar, piano, vocals
- Lawrence “Loz” Taylor – lead vocals
Three long years.
That is the amount of time that has passed since Parkway Drive visited UK soils… and what a return they have made.
The scene is set with the lights on stage dwelling in darkness one set out at a time… with an on screen opening wall and hooded figures entering the stage carrying fire torches. They outline and shadow the stage, an organ echoes through the space we are in and nothing but the light of torchbearers set the tone.
With an explosion of light, Winston emerges from a rising platform beneath the stage and bursts straight into Glitch – all was quiet but that is now LONG GONE.
Flames shoot up to the rafters, the burst of heat is enough to knock your block off. Winston charges around the runway like a bolt of lightning and so, there’s no turning back. The energy is here and it is HUGE.
Visually, Parkway Drive have pulled out all the stops. We see huge spikes emerging from the stage where the rest of the band are flowing into the set like it’s just the easiest thing on earth. The hooded torchbearers have now gone but they leave behind short bursts of flames and sparks that vibe with the impeccable beats of Ben.
Prey has the whole place moving, Jeff’s solo rings out across the crowd and creates the winding and beautiful tone of the track, despite it being heavy as hell. The crowd sings along to this anthem-esque track loud and clear.
As Dedicated rips into us, the pure power that Parkway Drive conjure is matched equally with an inferno from the stage, bursts of flame reaching high to the rafters on Ben’s beating command.
The beats are brutal and the riffs are ripping, this track gives a more hardcore vibes with hard breakdowns and Jia’s low and thundering bass before all goes silent and the lights turn low for Winston to address the crowd, talking of the importance of unity and supporting each other.
“Reach out if you’re vulnerable. The way to do this sh*t is together…” and easing into the heart filling intro of Ground Zero.
The winding guitars fill the air and the power of the riffs are baring in full power. Jeff and Luke really stand out in this track for me, the song live displays a fine example of just what the power of crafting guitar solos and melodies can make a track like this.
And it is… powerful. I’m always a firm believer in the ability of the strings of a band to really build the emotion behind their delivery of a track and Ground Zero is no exception to that.
Which leads me into the new track Darker Still.
I was almost sent over the edge. I could have cried. The swell of feeling from the offset of Jeff raising onto the stage platform during his beautiful intro and the sweet song of whistles and the live orchestra of violins on stage combining together creating a deep feeling of sadness and loss.
Winston has a completely different dynamic vocally, softer tones of sorrow melting into a truly captivating moment of solos and drums that tell a story of darkness within. The whole arena is plunged into darkness through the whole set, lit only by the crowd.
The ambience and connection between these guys and their audience is nothing short of beautiful.
Bottom Feeder lunches those signature guitar melodies to Parkway Drive in the air and delivers a brutal contrast to the previous offering.
The explosions of flames encourage the spite in this track and we are catapulted into a totally heavy land of chugging riffs and blast beats accompanied with snarling vocals. It’s well received, the whole floor of the Motorpoint is jumping.
Winston exhibits the reason why he is the guy that voices Parkway Drive. I mean, the man literally walks in a sea of fire as first encore Crushed opens up with echoing chants alongside his vocals that take us to a new depth of the beneath.
The bass is brutal and offers the back bone to this cinematic experience along with the ever changing hardness of the drumming tempo.
Last encore is of course Wild Eyes and I AM LIVING FOR IT. I, along with many others, love this track.
The unmistakable first ringing out of that intro melody and the crowd joining in… I’ve seen this so many times in my best mate’s lounge during a few vinos or other such beverages during our traditional YouTube surfing and investing in losing our absolute MINDS in some good music and moshing around the coffee table at 3am… and to be here witnessing it in the the flesh was an experience i’m not going to forget anytime soon.
I just wish Sophie were with me to witness this.
The brutal and uplifting riffs and beats tear into us and show the absolute lethality of breakdowns showing why the atmospheric singalong is worthy of encore status.
There’s not a thing I could grumble about. This is a blatant view of the evolution of Parkway Drive and for me, especially since their new album release Darker Still in September, this means that we should expect great things in the future of these guys.
Parkway Drive are:
- Winston McCall – lead vocals
- Jeff Ling – lead guitar
- Luke “Pig” Kilpatrick – rhythm guitar
- Ben “Gaz” Gordon – drums
- Jia “Pie” O’Connor – bass
Photography by Pete Key for MPM