In the first few months of 2013, the stages of New York City have been, and will be, graced by several tours fans have been anticipating for some time. From Meshuggah’s return to the United States in February to next month’s “End of Disclosure” tour featuring Swedish death metal legends Hypocrisy, Brazil’s Krisiun, and Belgium’s Aborted. This past weekend’s “Atlas” tour featuring While She Sleeps, Veil of Maya, The Word Alive, and headliners Parkway Drive was one of these tours. The anticipation for the show at New York’s Irving Plaza, presale tickets were sold out long before the tour rolled into town.
Kicking off the show and making their first ever appearance in New York were Sheffield, England’s While She Sleeps. Vocalist Lawrence Taylor commanded the crowd with ease, inciting several circle pits and a whole lot of two-stepping. The connection between the band and the crowd was like an unspoken conversation that said “You want us to move and the bands after you want us to move more, so let’s get warmed up now.” With a style of hardcore that crosses influences fromHeaven Shall Burn, Unearth, as well as New York hardcore bands Sick Of It All, and Agonistic Front, While She Sleeps were a perfect fit in the Big Apple.
While the dance floor was still hot from the sweat emitted by moshers, Veil of Maya hit the stage like a train through a glass building. A popular and well respected band, Veil of Maya needed no introduction and within seconds of their opening song, the floor became a sea of bodies slamming each other with punishing force that did not subside until the final notes of “Punisher”, the closing song, had fully faded. The intensity of the crowd’s response to the band almost outshined the band themselves; however lone guitarist Marc Okubo’s impressive guitar solos and otherworldly sound effects kept the attention of the audience even in the most violent of mosh pits.
Perhaps The Word Alive got their name from the fact that once their set is over, all those who witness their live performance are able to describe their mood only with the word “alive”. Using a tried and true formula blending memorable lyrics for fans to sing their hearts out to with breakdowns heavier than a whale, The Word Alive took pleasure in watching a sold out show’s worth of fans go wild for them.
After a nearly two year absence from the United States and a brand new album still hot from the presses, Australia’s Parkway Drive stepped on stage to a deafening roar from the crowd. Opening their set with a song off their latest album “Atlas”, the floor quickly became nothing short of a battlefield. As the first drum rolls for the song “Karma” began, singer Winston McCall screamed “You call this a storm? Is that all you’ve got?” just like Lieutenant Dan from Forest Gump. The two hundred person circle pit that broke out the moment the guitars kicked in was a silent but unmistakable answer of “No”.
The set continued with the haunting notes to a new song called “Wild Eyes” that had the entire crowd singing along before continuing to pummel each other. After two back to back songs off an older album, the stage darkened followed by the sound of a lonely, battered bell, signaling the beginning of “Dark Days”, the first single off “Atlas”. Although the set was already packed with heavy and meaningful songs with more still to come, it sounded like a million tears were being suppressed as the crowd screamed the line “How will you justify, justify watching the world die?” The second half of the set featured more material off the band’s previous two albums before concluding with a duel encore of a powerful performance of “Home Is For the Heartless” and an equally stellar performance of “Carrion”. During the encore, Winston McCall asked “How are you still alive out there?”
Although the set was exhausting, a two year separation was just what fans needed to be energized enough to survive another Parkway Drive concert and although another U.S. tour would be greatly appreciated, perhaps two years is about as much time as fans need to recover before braving the stormy seas that were the mosh pits again.