Metal | Metalcore
One might agree with me that metal and metalcore is a music genre that is slowly giving way to other genres in recent memory. And while many of the greats to have come out of the 2000s and 2010s have adapted their style, or mayhaps even dwindled in appeal, there has been one band in particular that has seemingly manages to stay heavy, and stay enjoyable all at once. That band, of course, is the Australian metalcore band Parkway Drive.
I have been a fan of Parkway Drive for many a year, having picked up on the band in my angsty teenhood, in which I believe their fourth studio record, 2012’s Atlas had been their most recent album at the time (despite the track “Karma”, found on their 2010 album Deep Blue, serving as my introductory track).
In terms of my reviews, their 2018 album Reverence was their first album that I sat down for and reviewed fully. It was this album that really developed on their stylistic shift (which didn’t so much change their signature heaviness, as it did the mood of their music). Whilst there were of course inkling of this very sound on their prior album release, 2015’s Ire (which features what is still my favourite Parkway Drive track in the form of “Crushed”), it was Reverence that really blew me away as an album. Not only because of the epicness that laced the entire record, but also because of the stellar narrative that the album brought forward.
In short, Reverence centred its narrative about the personal tragedies each of the bands members were going through shortly after the release of Ire. It could have potentially spelt the end of the band. But instead, the darkness they carried was spilled onto the album, and in turn made each of them stronger. In a more widespread sense, Reverence also revolves around many ideas or death and religion; the “reverence” in question being aimed at death itself. With that said, the album deservedly stood as my favourite album of that year. And I liked it so much in fact, that I even brought the vinyl!
But when I was faced with a brand new album titled Darker Still, I wasn’t too sure just what I would be in for. I mean, there was little room left to be much darker than Reverence, but I went into their brand new album with an open mind.
I mean, with the teaser tracks that were put out, things certainly sounded promising. However, I still had that nagging feeling in the back of my mind that suggested that Parkway Drive are now at a point where many of their fans have become very familiar with their dark and epic sound.
Upon the full release of the album, it seemed that their remedy for this was to bring us what is arguably the most versatile and strongest list of tracks that Parkway Drive have put under one album. While some of their other classic tunes on their own are preferable, I felt that I got the fullest sense of enjoyment from the music alone on Darker Still.
You have tracks like the beautifully peaceful yet dark title track, “Imperial Heretic”; essentially an even better variant of “The Void”, “Soul Bleach”, which literally sound like a better Slipknot song that Slipknot’s newer material, “From the Heart Of Darkness”, which showcases Winston McCall’s bellowing vocals amazingly, and many more.
And while the narrative of Darker Still may not be as awe-inspiring as the likes of Reverence, it still stands as a pretty phenomenal record. And it again proves that Parkway Drive still has what it takes to be one of the greatest bands to embody all the familiar and traditional qualities of metalcore, whilst upping the ante when it comes to their immense epicness.
Favourite Tracks: Darker Still | Imperial Heretic | Land of the Lost | From the Heart of Darkness
Least Favourite Track: Ground Zero