Parkway Drive + Heaven Shall Burn + Northlane + Carnifex @ Rock City, Nottingham – Monday 15th December 2014

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Review by Dan Perks

It’s a cold night in Nottingham, and yet hundreds of excited fans line the street outside Rock City. At points the crowd grows so large additional security are brought out to manage the queue and keep the traffic flowing along the busy street. All you can hear from the shuffling caterpillar of metal heads is giddy excitement. Past experiences of seeing Parkway Drive live echo up and down the line.

Returning to the UK to open the nights proceedings are deathcore icons Carnifex. Their set is short but crushingly heavy. Mixing some of their stronger songs from across their back catalogue, including ‘Die Without Hope’ and ‘Lie To My Face’. The venue rattles to its core with the bass heavy low grooves and half- tempo breakdowns. The first of the evening’s circles pits opens up but fails to really pick up momentum. The band are in fine form as they arrive at the set closing ‘Hell Chose Me’ and the crowd are sufficiently warmed up and ready for more.

Northlane are, without doubt, the most youthful band on the bill, but they take control of the stage like a band with twice the years that they have. It’s a shame that the sound quality for the band was a bit muddy; the drum triggers and low ends seemed to overpower everything else. The melodic guitar parts and clean vocals failed to really cut through to full effect. The crowd however couldn’t care less and sing along, clap and mosh with full zeal. Northlane’s new vocalist, Marcus Bridge, is clearly finding his feet within the live show, but although there is minimal crowd interaction his vocals work perfectly with tracks like ‘Rot’, ‘Worldeater’ and set closer ‘Quantum Flux’.

In a stark contrast to the youth of Northlane, German extreme metallers Heaven Shall Burn show their wealth of experience on stage.  Right from the offset Heaven Shall Burn are on fire (no pun intended). Their frantic high tempo barrage has the crowd going mental. Frontman Marcus Bischoff commands the masses with a universal sign language, calling for circle pits, devils horns, bouncing and chanting through their set. The band are as heavy as a ton of bricks, even without all of the electronic bass samples and super lows of the earlier bands on tonight’s bill. The musicianship on tracks like ‘Hunters Will Be Hunted’ and ‘The Worlds In Me’ is outstanding; each of the guitarists display a high level of technical efficiency while bassist Eric Bischoff gives them a run for their money with is fret board skills. The set, however, may have been a bit too long, towards the last couple of songs the crowd begin to fade, and the excitement of the impending Parkway Drive begins to set in causing a vibe of impatience to trickle through the audience. Closing track ‘Like Gods Among Mortals’, complete with a worthy stage dive effort from Marcus Bischoff, manages to rally the crowd into one final flurry before the band take a bow.
Parkway Drive

The swap over between bands feels like it’s taking an eternity, the chants of “PARK-WAY-DRIVE” swell within the diehards at the barrier and then its spreads throughout the audience like a plague. Before long the whole venue is chanting as loud as they can, trying to will the changeover to be completed faster and faster. As soon as the lights go down the crowd roar in excited approval. Parkway Drive open their set with crowd favourite ‘Wild Eyes’, the anthemic sing along opens the set with a nitrous burst, from the first few notes everyone goes batshit crazy. Instantly the security staff is bombarded by wave after wave of crowd-surfing teenagers, the pit is an industrial washing machine of people jumping, singing, moshing and waving their fists and horns in the air.

It’s so easy to forget just how many huge songs Parkway Drive have at their disposal; ‘Sleepwalker’, ‘Karma’, ‘Dark Days’ and ‘Home Is For The Heartless’ sound massive. Parkway Drive may have the perfect live set list. The sing along guitar riffs, choruses and movement inspiring breakdowns give fans a plethora of options to interact with the band. Each song raises the energy level in the venue higher and higher, turning Rock City into a nuclear reactor of excitement and atmosphere. After smashing through a monumental set list the band are beckoned to the stage once more for the encore performance, and what and encore. ‘Horizons’ and ‘Carrion’ bring the set to an explosive climax, white tickertape ribbons rain down from the ceiling and the band and crowd stand basking in the golden light tinged glory of one of the best live gigs I’ve ever seen. Parkway Drive have proved that they are one of the finest live bands in heavy music today.

Set list:

  1. Wild Eyes
  2. Sleepwalker
  3. Karma
  4. Dream Run
  5.  Idols and Anchors
  6. Mutiny
  7. Dark Days
  8. Deliver Me
  9. Romance is Dead
  10. Home Is For The Heartless
  11. Swing
  12. Horizons
  13. Carrion