Published May 04, 2018Parkway Drive made a career, spanning 15 years, of bruising breakdowns and mosh-inducing metalcore, but with their latest effort, Reverence, they've reached a dead end on once familiar streets. The Australian force had undeniably meek beginnings from fledging "Byron Bay hardcore" to becoming an internationally sought-after namesake over time, but new material leaves this praise in question.
The days of BBHC are certainly no more. For whatever reason, Parkway Drive thought it would be a noble idea to abandon their vicious breed of songwriting to adopt arena rock in the vein of Avenged Sevenfold or Five Finger Death Punch. Sonically, there's even a bit of a Clint Eastwood-esque Western movie theme throughout. You are reading that correctly, and it is as nauseatingly unappealing as it sounds.
There's a ballad ("Shadow Boxing"), rapping ("I Hope You Rot") and even a choir on "Cemetery Bloom." Beyond the puzzling experimentation is an unquenched thirst for the hard-hitting savagery their early discography provides. A band that once brutishly roared "I would rather see your face in Hell / than speak another word of this perfect world" can barely emit the same fear on "The Void," with a radio-rock chorus that ironically welcomes listeners to "a world of pain." Indeed.
The sole digestible tracks are "In Blood" and "Absolute Power." The former is a rehash of ideas from "Carrion," off Parkway Drive's seminal 2007 release Horizons, while the other recalls Biohazard at their tamest, which in itself could lead a listener astray, depending on how you take your metalcore tea.
Beware of a gluttonous serving, though. Parkway Drive know these eight minutes are the only moderately redeeming content here, and overstay their welcome through a strict vice-grip of repetitive song structure. The paychecks from European summer festival season must be very rewarding, because that is the only audience that will be able to swallow any of Reverence's brooding cowboy nonsense. (Epitaph)