Parkway Drive – ‘Reverence’

By Adam Rosario

Modern metalcore has been in a slump in recent years. After the heady days in the early noughties, back when Killswitch Engage, Bullet for My Valentine and Trivium were taking names left, right and centre, metalcore was in a great place. As the years have gone on, the genre stagnated. Cookie-cutter bands were mimicking each other with no uniqueness in sight, but one band who led the genre through these dark times were Parkway Drive.

When their last album ‘Ire’ was released, the band were faced with questions. The outright heaviness had been replaced with a more radio friendly tone & more emphasis on melody, moving away from just being metalcore & going for a more metal sound. ‘Reverence’ takes that formula but with a bigger emphasis on their past, making it brand new and improved. Lead single ‘Wishing Wells’ opens proceedings and lays down a marker of how dark and heavy this album is. With lyrics about fighting Gods and ‘striking that f**ker down…’, it’s the perfect lead single and the mission statement of intent to evolve as a band. ‘Prey’ has the melody that was highlighted on ‘Ire’ but brings the riffs with it, as well as a chance for Winston McCall to show off his vocals. It’s one of the most radio friendly songs on the album but is another rager that they can keep in their back pocket for a live environment.

McCall has always been revered as a talented vocalist and a phenomenal frontman, and on ‘Reverence’ he really comes into his own. Using so many different techniques, from the screams he’s known for, to the low growled delivery that really brings the listener in and makes them concentrate. There’s even a couple of ‘is this really Parkway?!’ moments, especially on ‘Shadow Boxing’ when McCall adopts a rap vocal style, in his signature growl. Spitting lyrics with venom, he’s showing why he’s one of the best vocalists in the whole of metal in 2018.

‘Absolute Power’ may well be the standout on the record however. Opening with a chugging bassline, before erupting into jagged riffs with McCall’s drawling delivery over a melancholic guitar riff and drumbeat. There’s not even a discernible chorus, leaving Jeff Ling’s guitar to be the hook whilst McCall screams ‘the truth drops like a bomb’. ‘Cemetery Bloom’ is a hauntingly beautiful track, with an electronic beat in the background, and a chorus of voices with McCall’s delivery of lyrics like a poet reciting his own work. It’s one of the most subdued tracks the band have ever put on record.

‘Chronos’ is the longest song on the record and really shows off the bands talents in full form. From Jeff Ling and Luke Kilpatrick’s sensational riffing, mixed with Ben Gordon’s powerful drumming and Jia O’Connor’s slinky basslines creating the canvas that McCall spills his lungs out onto, the band are firing on all cylinders throughout the 10 tracks, but even more so in this one.

Overall, Parkway Drive are about to do what they’ve always threatened… They’re about to be an arena sized band and rightly so. The songs on this album are way too big for them to do another night at Brixton Academy. With a second stage headline set at Download to come, they’ll be stepping up to join Architects in the argument of ‘Best metal band in the world right now’ and they deserve it.

 

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