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Album Reviews : Parkway Drive – Reverence

By on June 9, 2018

Ewingsdale, New South Wales, finest musical export are at it again. This time around the lads in Parkway Drive have added more than just polish to their brand of arena-shaking metalcore. Reverence is an album that will likely catapult the outfit into the stratosphere of heavy metal headliner status… alongside Metallica, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden.

This is a ‘safe’ album in that it contains a myriad of familiar riffs and an obvious song writing syntax, mainstream fans of heavy metal will have no issue nodding along to Reverence. If Thy Art Is Murder have come to define deathcore, achieving their rightful ‘near to headliner’ status due to Dear Desolation’s (’17) ferocious assertiveness, then Reverence helps Parkway Drive to transcend metalcore… this is the defining heavy metal album for 2018.

“Wishing Wells” is the albums first cut, the first minute is spoken word and windswept acoustic guitar, creating a sense of anticipation for vocalist Winston McCall to unleash his trademark roar. The chug-a-lug of Luke Kilpatrick’s rhythm guitar offers a familiar Pantera-esque groove through the cut’s verses. Second cut, “Prey”, produces a sound affected by the bands many tours across Europe. The ‘triumphant and heroic’ vibe of Jeff Ling’s lead guitar is paired beautifully with the gang vocal of the chorus.

“Cemetery Bloom” sounds like a left over from Swiss folk metal titans Eluveitie, particularly their last studio offer Evocation II: Pantheon (’17). What the bands loyal and expanding fan base make of this will be interesting to observe. The riffage returns via the following cut “The Void”, which has festival sing-a-long written all over it.

Six cuts in and it really becomes apparent that the European influence is more than just a passing reference. “I Hope You Rot” could have been written by any number of post-millennium power metal outfits. “Shadow Boxing” uses a cello/viola to great effect through the verse, as it is juxtaposed against a rap vocal that works surprisingly well.

The vast sonic qualities of the album have been engineered to ensure this is an album that can be listened to through headphones or speakers. There’s plenty of bangers that should give the ute-and-trail bike brigade ample opportunity to pump the volume.

As the album progresses through the tracks, one starts to get the impression that the band have really thought about the execution of the album as a unit, rather than a collection of cuts grouped together. There is an ebb and flow to the album that feels like a journey, or a story unfolding.

Long-time fans might feel aggrieved that Reverence has sacrificed the white-knuckle tension of the outfits earlier efforts for a song writing narrative that will appeal to a massive audience. Reverence is still identifiably a Parkway Drive affair; however, the band have made some bold decisions. Maudlin final cut, “The Colour of Leaving”, may hint at the bands long term ambitions…

This album is a power-play. If this were a game of chess, the band have opened with The Queens Gambit…  After the previous five albums consolidated an audience and allowed the band to join the ranks of careerist musicians with label and agency commitments, the tables may very well turn offering Parkway Drive the opportunity to move from band to brand.

It is on the near horizon that icon’s Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne and possibly AC/DC will cease touring and producing albums. Reverence has been released at a very good time for Parkway Drive.

Band: Parkway Drive
Album: Reverence
Year: 2018
Genre: Metalcore
Label: Epitaph
Origin: Australia

 

About

Andrew is a musician who has spent many years performing on the stages of the pubs and clubs of Queensland. A devotee of the broad church that is rock, punk, funk, jazz and of course all genres of metal... he now shares his enthusiasm via a burgeoning pursuit of music journalism. Follow him on twitter @andymckaysmith