Album Review: PARKWAY DRIVE Reverence
Australia's Parkway Drive continues to be one of the biggest metalcore bands in the scene in 2018. After making a huge splash with Deep Blue, which put them in the metal limelight, Parkway Drive has never let down. Following the release of the 2015 critically acclaimed Ire, numerous world tours, and a continually evolving sound, they're back with Reverence. It sees the band showing off their strong points from the prior installments in their discography.
A majority of Reverence has a formula, from “Wishing Wells” to “Cemetery Bloom” to “In Blood." Parkway Drive has been on the scene for years and is one of the leaders at the forefront of metalcore at this point. Each of the songs is straight to the point, with some adding a bit more to the basic structure as the album progresses. For instance, “In Blood” and “Chronos” add a much more melodic tone from the songs prior. The focus more on harmony and pushing the lyrics along than the previous songs. “Wishing Wells” and “Absolute Power” focus more on the strength of the instrumentals to create chaos. These songs are much more extreme when it comes to the instrumentals and use the vocals more as a backdrop.
Just past the midway point on Reverence, you'll find the track “Shadow Boxing." Now, I may be going crazy, but the song sounds like a tribute to Linkin Park, which would be understandable. Maybe it is just because they familiarized the nü-metal subgenre though. “Shadow Boxing” for the most part focuses around rap-oriented verses while maintaining a heavier, metal-based chorus. The song is a bit of an outlier and definitely was worth the experiment, Parkway Drive managed to nail the nü-metal sound. “Shadow Boxing” or future songs of the like should sit at the end of the album. Anyone who's just giving the band a chance with Reverence may miss some spectacular songs by being turned off by this one. The songs that follow “Shadow Boxing” are just as strong as the ones before it.
My one real gripe with the album comes in “Wishing Wells” and “Absolute Power”. The issue is solely the fact that all these songs have breakdowns that sound practically the exact same. Each of which is the same tone and same pacing with different lyrics thrown over the top. The breakdowns match the songs, but it seems a little lazy to rehash the same thing multiple times in the same album. That being said, having one issue with a 40+ minute album isn't bad at all. I've dealt with albums half this length and they had dozens of issues, so I'll take the one. Plus, songs like “In Blood” do change up the formula, so it's not like every breakdown is the same. If you don't know Parkway Drive at this point, now's your chance.
Reverence is a great jumping point for the band. It's full of everything the band is known for at this point from the more melodic tone of their more recent albums like Ire and Deep Blue to the more extreme and signature metalcore sound from Killing With A Smile. You'll find out if you like Parkway Drive with Reverence. If you're already a fan, this is the ultimate compilation of the band's evolution of sound.