Ok, ok, complete transparency here from me to begin with. I happen to be a massive fan of Parkway Drive. From the very first time I heard the now classic record Horizons (Epitaph) the band have had my undying attention and indeed love. They became the absolute pinnacle and standout Metalcore act of the mid to late 00’s with heaviness and hooks in all the right places. Then came 2015’s Ire (Epitaph) and what greeted fans was one of the most divisive records of that year as PD chose to veer in many different stylistic directions but still managed to retains their innate knack for combining the catchy and the crushing.
And, so to Reverence (Epitaph) which, after the success of the previous record, sees many more eyes trained on the band as questioning ears wait to see if once again they will stray into new directions.
If anyone thought that the heaviness of the music would get lost in the writing of the album then they were sorely mistaken. ‘Wishing Wells’ lulls you in, with chirping birds (I shit you not), before vocalist, frontman and MVP Winston McCall bellows “Until I Die” and the song kicks in with that familiar PD ferocity and speed. What perhaps might take some people back is said vocal stylings of McCall on this track, and throughout the record. He seems to combining all manner of influences such as Corey Taylor and Phil Anselmo, in that there is clarity to the delivery not seen before but all the while keeping that signature sound.
‘Prey’ comes along like the natural successor to ‘Vice Grip’ from Ire with the classic Heavy Metal guitar riffs perfectly paired with the vocals. The fact it doesn’t seem as jarring as hearing ‘Vice Grip’ for the first time is a true credit to Parkway and their ability and willingness to challenge themselves and push their sound once again. ‘Absolute Power’ is just so catchy it borders on having a pop music, radio friendly feel but it just happens to be crushingly heavy I was smiling from ear to ear as the song unfolded. It is perhaps the best representation of Parkway’s live show, which is always something I feel the band have been trying to capture, keep it fun, keep it high energy but fucking heavy too.
As previously stated Ire contained not one but many curveballs and again PD have sought out to throw you a few more, so with that in mind let’s talk about ‘Cemetery Bloom’, riding the crest of some beautifully atmospheric electronics this song shows a completely different side to the band, with its brooding emotional overtones the build towards the drums and guitars coming in is something truly special.
Reverance is a massive statement from a band who have created another landmark album one which will not only stand the test of time but will reach so many new people that it could push them to that next echelon alongside Lamb Of God and even Slipknot. In terms of their cannon of work this the best record they have written to date, edging out even the mighty Horizons. Parkway Drive can now truly be seen as one of the best metal bands on the planet.
This is their Black album. And we all know what that meant for Metallica.