Parkway Drive, Asking Alexandria and Stick To Your Guns at Brixton - live review

Firebreathing metalcore heroes score a double in London

Art for Parkway Drive, Asking Alexandria and Stick To Your Guns live at Brixton

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It’s an unseasonably sunny day and Brixton Academy has morphed into a sticky-floored sauna. The doors have just opened and the queue is snaking around the perimeter of the iconic venue, fans itching to get inside for the biggest metalcore gig of the year so far. As the snapbacked hordes charge into the auditorium, openers STICK TO YOUR GUNS [7] bring the breakdowns as they heat the crowd to boiling point. The fist-pumping aggression, coupled with a swaggering, defiant attitude, makes for an atmosphere that sends crowdsurfers into overdrive. And then it’s time for the talking point. Sure, they’re not headlining, but there’s an anxious crowd here waiting to witness Danny Worsnop’s return. ASKING ALExANDRIA [6] dipped in momentum and quality following his departure two years ago, but it’s great to see him back screaming and growling instead of getting his country rock on. That said, he obviously didn’t get the memo about wearing a vest and jeans, not only looking disconnected from the band, but also lacking the chemistry that made them a force in the first place. Looking most at home when leading the crowd in Moving On, the From Death To Destiny material is where the band really flourish tonight, with the rest feeling ploody by comparison, the band’s former edge disappointingly softened.

The same can’t be said for PARKWAY DRIVE [9]. Headlining Brixton twice on one album cycle is no easy task, and selling out both shows is mindboggling. They’re a special band who always bring a show worthy of bigger venues – and this time there’s a spinning drumkit! If the room wasn’t hot enough, the wall of fire sends the crowd surfing and spinning their way across the floor. Frontman Winston McCall is all smiles (as usual), seeming genuinely humble about London’s response as Parkway try to level the building to rubble. Carrion, Wild Eyes and Sleepwalker are all bona fide slammers that push the limits of sanity, but the material from Ire sends everyone into fits. Anyone who doubted Parkway’s ‘change of direction’ has been truly silenced; Vice Grip and Destroyer should be echoing around arenas, whereas the closing one-two of Crushed and Bottom Feeder proves how much faith the Aussies have in their latest songs. Surely they won’t be confined to this room for long.