Australian metallers Parkway Drive have released their 6th studio album in Reverence. Reverence came out on the 4th of May via Epitaph Records. It was preceded by three singles that were all mind blowingly good making Reverence one of my most eagerly anticipated albums this year.
I wasn’t overly concerned with Parkway Drive before this album campaign but all three singles were so enjoyable I am a dedicated convert now. You can read our thoughts on Wishing Wells, The Void and Prey by clicking on the links. The metalcore band have really matured and progressed musically in recent years. Signs of change started coming through when the band released 2015’s album, Ire. Ire was the band’s first ever release to feature any clean singing at all. Winds of change, that have now progressed on to showcase a band who play expansive, technical, creative metal which is still, of course, plenty heavy.
Parkway Drive are a five piece lead by the vocal talent of Winston McCall. Jeff Ling and Luke Kilpatrick are on guitars with Jia O’Connor is on the bass. Last but not least is Ben Gordon on the drums. It is really cool to see that apart from Jia O’Connor, all the band members are original founding members who started Parkway Drive in 2003. O’Connor actually joined a few short years later, in 2006 so isn’t far behind the others.
I would love to say I am going into Reverence with an open mind but I am not. I am expecting big things. The three singles have hyped me up beyond belief for this release and I am so pleased to say I was not left disappointed. Reverence is as good as I hoped it would be, maybe even better. If you haven’t heard the singles (I may have mentioned I like them), you are in for a treat. Reverence opens up with two of them in a row. First up is the crushingly heavy and excitingly structured Wishing Wells. That is followed immediately by the most recent, Prey, which is easily one of my favourite tracks of the ear so far. Foe me, the first new track I get to hear is the third one Absolute Power.
A bassy intro kicks things off before we head into a groove tinted riff and mid tempo drum beat. Aggressively hushed vocals join in with the drum heavy verse. As it progresses there are sections that see all the instruments turn the power up to 11 with roared vocals all hitting you with full force. There are so many perfectly placed touches in these heavy tracks. The changing drum patterns are awesome. The bass is powerful, the array of vocal styles, the main riff, the guitar melodies. Everything works so well together.
More heaviness comes on tracks like the pleasantly named, I Hope You Rot and In Blood. The former is one of the fastest tracks on the album with frantic guitars and furious drumming while In Blood has lashings of that drum and bass groove with clever and punchy guitar lines. In Blood alos has one of the more brutal breakdowns you will hear this year. Speaking about variation and creativity though and you get songs like Cemetery Bloom.
Cemetery Bloom is essentially a nicely put together poem with a little instrumentation and repetitive bass note. Occasional backing vocals add some depth to a song that stands well on it’s own but is really more of a longer intro to The Void which follows it. More of this variety comes on the track Shadow Boxing which is really different. It has elements of speed rap, heavy breakdowns and orchestral strings sections showing how far this band have come. The rap won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Normally it wouldn’t be for me but it works in this song.
As wonderful as everything before is, the best is still yet to come though with the double header ending of Chronos and The Colour of Leaving. The penultimate track, Chronos, is huge. A gentle melodic intro that explodes into life with quick drums and angry vocals. Verses chock full of rhythm, and vocals that border on death metal lead to a catchy chorus. There is a huge solo that moves through different phases before fading into a sombre melodic section before the fantastic guitar line joins and drags the band back up to a beautifully composed instrumental section. This section even sees orchestral music join it with violins sounding perfect alongside the guitars.
Chronos leads straight into The Colour of Leaving which is a sombre and melancholic ballad of sorts. Soft vocals deal with self reflection over gentle music that is joined by a violin. The violin solo is heart-breaking and, as the epilogue ends, you can’t help but be amazed at how far this band have come.
Reverence is an awe-inspiring album. It is deep and meaningful with personal lyrics dealing with the band’s struggles with religion and grief. Parkway Drive, once simply a metalcore band, have expanded way beyond that now and have delivered their best album yet. The musicianship on show, the compositions, the intelligent song writing, Reverence is exceptional and pretty much flawless. It could well be the best album of 2018.
Reverence is available now at all the usual streaming services like Apple Music, Amazon Prime and Spotify. Grab a physical copy from Parkway Drives merch store here. You can also pick up a copy of Reverence and more from the band at the Amazon links below. Keep up to date with news from the band at their website, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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Reverence by Parkway Drive (Epitaph Records)