Review Summary: Parkway has lost all their Drive…
Hailing from the sunny shores of Australia’s sandy beaches and endless blue skies, Parkway Drive has certainly made a name for themselves throughout their career. A few defining moments launched this humble metalcore band into dizzying heights of the mainstream metal scene, polarising the standards of what the Australian metal scene can offer at an international level. However it’s the band’s 2018 effort that simultaneously confuses fans of music and the group’s fans in one fell swing. Reverence
neither expands on the Parkway Drive sound, nor does it showcase a band maturing on personal loss. Instead, the regression and lack of care shown on the band’s 2018 album highlights a major step down in quality, form and intensity.
Fairly, it could be argued that the larger metalcore scene has become stale, unchanging and without any sign of receiving the injection of quality it apparently needs. The listening community has certainly become jaded in this regard. Outwardly criticising any band that either tries to continue on the sounds that made them popular in the first place or try something new in the hopes of maturing, finding new markets or following the natural nuances of internal songwriting. It’s this ability of modern fans to slap down any new offering of the same thing that has helped push this stagnation to new levels, culminating in a “who cares wins” environment.
finds itself on the edge of the usual criticism. At a first glance, Parkway Drive falls far short of expectation, with the album’s leading singles splitting fans directly down the middle. “Wishing Wells” did have its merits, capitalising on the foundations of metalcore built in the 90s but also falling into a pitfall of spoken word cliche. “The Void” however was met with a largely negative response. The simplistic, yet completely flat “how to write a metalcore track 101” lacked the punch it needed to successful… or halfway decent.
At times it’s difficult to find praise for an album working its hardest to be mundane. Vocally, Reverence
is both the strongest and weakest display of Winston McCall. Take the chorus lines of “Wishing Wells” (“Burn your heaven/Flood your hell”) where McCall capitalises on his trademark screams. It’s here (and here alone) that Parkway sound vocally formidable on their 2018 release. On the other hand, the half whispered, spoken word that permeates the album’s length becomes painful, random and fails to deliver the group’s emotive message throughout. Tracks like “Cemetery Bloom” are hard to sit through relying on the chorus hook to drag an unwilling listener to its end. Tie that in with the cringe worthy romp that is “Absolute Power” and the juvenile attempt at modern heavy metal in “I Hope You Rot” and it’s clear that PWD are as unfocused as they are committed to their new music.
Despite the flat performance found within the album’s forty-three minute run time there is the potential for better music. Lift the intensity, care even just a little bit and the energy behind these tracks lift the album as a whole. Unfortunately, that’s clearly not the case. This isn’t simply a band going through the motions, rather it’s regression in its raw and disappointing form. It’s clear that PWD are no longer aiming for the horizon
, they’re no longer killing
it with a smile
and instead, offering ire
in place of quality.