Review and Pictures: Tara Lakatos
Parkway Drive brought their “Reverence” Tour to the Sands Event Center in Bethlehem, PA on September 15, 2018. This tour has some super heavy support from Polaris, The Devil Wears Prada and August Burns Red. Each of these bands brought a tremendous amount of energy and had the crowd moshing and crowd surfing the entire show.
First up was Polaris from Sydney, Australia. Polaris consists of Jamie Hails (vocals), Jake Steinhauser (bass, vocals), Rick Schneider (guitar), Ryan Slew (guitar) and Daniel Furnari (drums).
They were the only band on the bill that I was not familiar with, but they had me hooked right away. Their sound fit in perfectly with the other bands on this bill. They are out supporting their killer, metal album “The Mortal Coil”.
Their songs are a mix of super hardcore, drum-driven metal along with melodic guitar riffs and clean vocals. They performed several tracks off of their new album including “Lucid”, “The Slow Decay” and personal favorite “Relapse”. They put on a very strong performance that really amped up the audience.
The Devil Wears Prada
Next up, fan favorite, The Devil Wears Prada. They were on the bill at Florida’s, Welcome to Rockville a couple of years ago when I was at the festival. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see them during the festival because there were tornadoes and storms that trashed their gear, so I was excited to see them on this tour. The Devil Wears Prada consists of Mike Hranica (vocals), Kyle Sipress (guitar), Jeremy DePoyster (guitar), Andy Trick (bass), and Giuseppe “Gypsy” Capolupo (drums). I will start out with the negative, I am a photographer before I am a writer, and their set was so poorly lit I was only able to pull off a couple of photos. Now this may not be a negative to many people but as a concert goer I actually enjoy seeing the band, not just their shadows. Poor lighting and fog is a current trend for many bands, I am hoping that it is a short lived one.
Now onto everything that is awesome about The Devil Wears Prada. They formed in 2005 and have released 6 full-length albums, a couple EPs and tons of music videos. Their stage presence is killer, as well as their interaction with the crowd. They opened their set with “Mammoth” off of their 2011 release “Dead Throne”. This song’s opening is literally like a flood gate of madness, Mike’s vocals are the perfect metal roughness, and the drums pop like a machine gun, while the bass pounds your heart to the point of losing your breath. Mid-set they performed “Anatomy” from their 2010 “Zombie” EP. This song is much more guitar riff driven and ends with clean vocals over the screams. Another cool track the played was “Born to Lose”, it has the same type of feel as “Anatomy” but there were more clean vocals and the lyrics echoed their Christian background. The Devil Wears Prada have been a force in the metal scene for quite a while and this performance proves that they aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon.
August Burns Red
The third band in this metal quartet was August Burns Red. I’ve heard that their sets were insane and that their crowds were nuts! Well, everything I had heard was true. There was a sea of feet barreling towards me in the photo pit and whoever was left in the crowd was moshing or feverishly throwing their fists in the air.
August Burns Red consists of Jake Luhrs (vocals), Brent Rambler (guitar), JB Brubaker (guitar), Dustin Davidson (bass), and Matt Greiner (drums). The band was formed in 2003 in Lancaster, PA and has had a solid lineup since 2006. They have released 9 full length albums, a remix album, outtakes and deluxe additions.
August Burns Red hit the stage with Jake wearing a hooded sweatshirt, shrouded behind a sea of fog; he kept his hood up all night, hiding in and out of the lights.
They opened their set with “King of Sorrow” from their 2017 release “Phantom Anthem”, Jake’s vocals were spot on and the guitar work between Brent and JB was outstanding; the riffs and melodic sequences set ABR apart from the first two bands musically. Next up was “Martyr” off their 2015 release “Found in Far Away Places”, Matt’s drumming on this song is a mix of metal beats rolled in with something out of a drum line. Again the breakdown during the bridge of this song is amazing; the quiet, melodic riffs, the gentle rhythm guitar and jazzy bass makes their songs so interesting to listen to.
They closed out their high energy set with “White Washed” from their 2009 release “Constellations”. This song is a rager the whole way through. Unlike their other songs tonight, this one started off with a minute of really cool instrumental then just burst into flames for the rest of the song. It was a great way to end their set and leave people on the edge of fury while waiting for Parkway Drive to hit the stage.
Last but not least the headliners for the night, Australia’s, Parkway Drive. They formed in 2003 and have released 6 full-length albums, an EP and a couple of DVD’s. Parkway Drive consists of Winston McCall (vocals), Jeff Ling (guitar), Luke Kilpatrick (guitar), Ben Gordon (drums), and Jia O’Connor (bass).
They opened their set with “Wishing Wells” off of their current release “Reverence”. This song had a dramatic build to put the audience on edge then it exploded with Winston’s scream. Unlike the opening acts Winston’s metal vocals are clear and concise, you do not need to struggle or read a lyric book to understand what he is saying. Next they performed “Prey” also from their current release. This song is a little more rock infused metal, the chorus is very catchy and has a great hook. A few songs later they hit “The Void” which is a personal favorite on the album. This song is just infectious and everything about it, is near perfection. The sweet guitar riffs by Luke and Jeff, the killer rhythm and beats held down by Jia and Ben and the mix of metal but mostly clean vocals by Winston were stellar. There was not one body on the floor that was not in motion during this song. I also need to send a warning to not listen to this track and drive because there is a good chance that it will lead to a speeding ticket.
They hit on several tracks from older albums as well. “Vice Grip” form 2016’s “Ire” is another personal favorite, much like “The Void” has such an amazing guitar riff that sucks you in. The chorus is much more of a stadium worthy anthem then some of their more pure metal tracks. They went a little further back to “Karma” of their 2010 release “Deep Blue”. This track is metal through and through with blistering guitar speeds and grueling vocals. Parkway Drive dug a little deeper and performed “Boneyards” off their 2006 release “Horizon’s”. This was another super heavy, pure metal track, with even heavier vocals.
Having performed a variety of songs on this night that spanned over of their career, you could definitely hear the growth in their song writing and musical style over the years. Winston has only been using clean vocals for the past few years and it has really added a greater dimension to their songs. Their catalog has a lot of variety and depth to it, I highly recommend listening to their older music if you have only heard of them recently.
This show was jam packed with high energy and passion for metal from both the bands and the crowd. It felt like home being a part of such a great community that showed up to party together. Each of these bands brought out their best musically to give the crowd exactly what they wanted. This tour has just ended but if you love metal you can catch these bands around the world as each of them relentlessly tour.