Review Summary: Parkway Drive, killing their career with a smile.
What can be said about metalcore that hasn’t been said already? About Parkway Drive? Any typical review of this nature would start talking about how metalcore has become stale in recent years, showing no signs of breaking free of its self-made stagnancy. Or how Parkway Drive have strayed far from their prime in the past few years. They would ask if it is possible for PWD to go full “dad metal” and come out alive. While all those things are true and relevant, it feels so stale to discuss. With every genre, there will always
be some stagnancy, and with every band, there will always be those who refuse to embrace progression. There’s almost no way to write a review in this scene without sounding like a broken record. As showcased perhaps too visibly on 2015’s IRE
, Parkway Drive once again suffer from an even staler sound. If done correctly and with more thought, the concepts presented on Reverence could
go over very well. It is far more than possible for a band or artist to change their sound in favor for something more accessible, and still be critically successful, but Parkway Drive seem to not care about effort nor any sense of imagination. There are some worthwhile riffs on here, which of course, knowing what these guys are truly capable of, isn’t surprising at all. But, unfortunately, they often wind up falling victim to simple power chord anthem structure choruses, which amounts to essentially nothing. When Winston is clean singing, he sounds pretty good in his own right, and his growled vocals are still sounding decent in their own respective right, but the vocal delivery in almost half of this album is grating to a degree that is unforgivable.
Parkway have crafted something that will for sure get them airplay on SiriusXM Octane, and quite frankly nothing more. It’s something that fans of radio rock will latch onto, like it’s a new Five Finger Death Punch album. It just isn’t enough. The biggest issue that Parkway had with IRE
was that it was simply too stale. With only 11 tracks, it got tiring way too quickly for its own good. With Reverence
, it seems that they took the absolute worst parts of IRE
; the cheesy anthemic fist pumping moments and the angry quasi-meaningful whisper lyrics, and rolled with it. This is an album that has moments which are so well executed, but the overpowering cliches make the album disappointingly unenjoyable. “I Hope You Rot”, despite the annoying vocal delivery in the verses, has a great chorus with a spectacularly catchy guitar line; as well as a couple metalcore breakdown moments that are as good as modern PWD can get. “Absolute Power” has another hard hitting chorus, but again falls victim to an awful vocal delivery in the verses. It wouldn’t be as awful if Winston didn’t use it so tiringly, but he insists on almost talking through half the record, not to mention his attempt at rap in “Shadow Boxing”. I wish that I could say more good things about this record than I already have. I wish I could say more than these two paragraphs, but the truth is that Parkway Drive are proving incapable of writing something worth a review that hasn’t been written over and over for countless other boring albums.