Overall Score: 10/10 Songs: 10/10 Lyrics: 9/10 experimentation: 10/10 Pros: A bold and brave album from a pioneering band Cons: nothing
Parkway Drive have always been a cut above everyone else, that isn’t even up for discussion it’s just a fact. With every release, they get stronger and better, constantly evolving and remaining one step ahead of everyone else. It should come as no surprise to anyone then that their newest album Reverence is without question the best album of their career.
Wishing Wells is a bastard heavy opener that caves your skull in from the get-go. It shows a reinforced fury that lets us know the bands’ roots still run deep within. As far as openers go ,it is an explosive start that makes you stand up and take notice right away. With lyrics about killing gods and a groove-laden riff, this is the musical equivalent of Armageddon bursting out of the speakers and into your ears.
Prey has the vein of stadium rock swagger running through and feels so massive and so cinematic that it will surely ignite pits around the world when it debuts live. Absolute Power is rage personified, its nasty, heavy and features some of the most throat-ripping vocals Winston McCall has ever committed to tape.
Cemetery Bloom then switches gears entirely and is more akin to a funeral dirge. It has a Nine Inch Nails-esque beat pumping at its heart, with piano, violins and Gregorian style chants making up its spine and a sinister spoken world vocal bringing the whole thing home. It’s my favourite track on the album and possibly the best song I’ve heard all year.
I Hope You Rot features the best duelling guitar arrangement that Iron Maiden never wrote. It is a track full of layers and extremes, mixing NWOBHM style riffing with galloping drums and another man possessed vocal that veers between seething and just flat out guttural almost black metal like screams. It’s another example of Parkway experimenting with moods and emotions to pull something real and primal out of the listener.
Chronos is the album’s longest and most expansive track that sees Parkway trying to write an epic and mostly succeeding, it’s good to see them stretching themselves musically and moving out of their comfort zone (especially when it sounds this good). It’s atmospheric, heavy, and plays almost like a spiritual sequel to The Slow Surrender from Atlas.
The Colour Of Leaving is like a eulogy of sorts. It features Winston alone with a stark and haunting guitar and violin behind him lamenting loss and things that have come and gone. It’s an interesting way to close out the album. It raises the emotional stakes and gives you the listener something to ponder as the album ends. Especially when the music stops and it is just the fragile vocals isolated and alone. This is the most vulnerable that Parkway Drive have ever allowed themselves to be and it’s bold and spine-tingling choice that is well worth being included here.
Reverence is an ambitious album from a band that is still only scratching the surface of what they are capable of. This is a dark, weighty album full of pain, beauty and overcoming loss. At it’s core, it is the sound of a band coming together and continuing to rewrite the rule book and blaze their own trail. This is Parkway Drive’s masterpiece. There is a lot to unpack throughout this album, and repeated listens only serve to make the experience better. Each repeat listen allows the album to fully reveal itself to the listener over time, given up more of its secrets every time. This is an album that stands shoulder to shoulder with some of music’s modern classics and will be thought about and talked about for a very long time.
This is everything Parkway Drive have always threatened to be and a very big sign of everything they are about to become. This is the album that puts them into arenas and into the history books as one of the greatest bands of their generation.
Reverence is released today on Epitaph Records.