Review Summary: Hear me when I say: “I miss Reverence, but I miss Parkway Drive even more.”Darker Still
isn’t Parkway Drive, or at least it’s not at all the Parkway Drive that should be. Once, this little band showed promise, earmarking the recurrence of the Australian metal scene and yet that promise is long gone. It’s simpler to state that Parkway Drive isn’t Parkway Drive, or at least they’re not anymore. We [only] thought we hit a road bump with Reverence
; a little patch work and improvement to fix the band’s current trajectory into butt-toting dad rock. Darker Still
is a far cry from emulating the same lightning in a bottle soundscape that launched this little Aussie band that could
onto the larger, international scene. It’s now clear that Parkway Drive will never hit the highs of “Boneyards” again, nor will fans see the dizzying “Carrion” in the same light. Darker Still
is an album that exemplifies the band’s past and causes fans to wince in the present. It’s not that we as listeners are caught in the past, pearl-clutching at the hopes of nostalgia *sarcasm maybe*.
But even as we put that aside Darker Still
is less a shadow and more of a shit stain on a discography forever capable of so much more and yet we’re left to deal with Parkway Drive’s attempt at going full Imagine Dragons (opener, “Ground Zero”), plagiarizing their best take on Avenged Sevenfold’s Hail To The King
(“The Greatest Fear”) and abusing the fuck out of a guitar’s wah-wah pedal on almost-every-track. Darker Still
isn’t an indication of a band giving up, they’ve simply lost the plot. “Imperial Heretic” plays on the typical chugs and melodic harmonies, after all this is a metalcore release (just
), but long-time vocalist and frontman Winston’s spoken word can’t shake the fact that this song and album as a whole fall very short of being “good”. Singing about rusty blades and getting ‘cut’ a la “If A God Can Bleed” will probably be put into consideration for the worst heavy song of the year, (akin to musical self-harm if played on repeat) and yet this is where this once fabled Byron Bay act sets the bar. Fuck.
As far as redeeming factors go, Darker Still
has very few graces to offer. “Soul Bleach” invokes the heaviness of Reverences
’ “Wishing Wells”, but the lyrics have somehow taken another step back, reforming into the lowest base denominator of any heavy act selling out to commercialism. Perhaps Parkway Drive has all the validation they need. After all they’ve landed that all important gig performing at a grand final sporting event
in…you probably guessed it, Australia
—woo! Personally, I’m at a loss as to how quickly Parkway Drive has fallen off the rails. I don’t want to speculate, but I’m going to: Darker Still
is the highest grossing, lowest form of selling out to a market that doesn’t even want what you’re selling. The best parts of Darker Still
make me wish I was listening to the worst parts of Reverence
. More importantly, it makes me wish Parkway Drive would consider just being themselves again.