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Parkway Drive - Darker Still (Album Review)

Wednesday, 14 September 2022 Written by Will Marshall

Photo: Dave LePage

Given their recent track record it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Parkway Drive’s seventh album underlines the fact that the Byron Bay bruisers aren’t a metalcore band any more. Since branching out into modern metal and stadium-sized writing with 2015’s ‘Ire’ and its 2018 follow up ‘Reverence’, the band took some time out to figure out how to speed Parkway further down that road.

‘Darker Still’, though, ends with the group racing off a cliff. Opener Ground Zero leads with a despairingly twee glockenspiel and spoken word section until a huge, obviously Parkway, riff kicks in. But the sense of relief lasts only seconds before vocalist Winston McCall screams “drop the beat” and ruins it.

The following songs contain too many moments that’ll similarly leave you scratching your head. The riffs and guitar hooks are there but vocally ‘Darker Still’ represents one misstep after another.

The balladeering title track rips off Metallica far too obviously and If A God Can Bleed attempts to ape Rammstein, with McCall rolling out the line “fat little piggy with his head on the block” in a cringe-inducing faux-American accent. 

That said, ‘Darker Still’ isn’t all curveballs in the dirt or pale nu-core imitations (looking at you, Glitch). Like Napalm has an addictive, stomping groove in its closing minute while The Greatest Fear offers an almost Iron Maiden melody in its opening guitar lick, though the less said about its Poundland Pink Floyd chorus the better. Imperial Heretic keeps up the skyscraping singalong melodies, too, with plenty of woah-oh potential for the arenas Parkway will be bothering soon. 

On the one hand, Parkway Drive deserve some praise for being willing to step outside their comfort zone and push their sound this far. On the other, ‘Darker Still’ is a stellar example of a swing and a miss.

Parkway Drive Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri September 30 2022 - LONDON Alexandra Palace
Sat October 01 2022 - MANCHESTER AO Arena
Sun October 02 2022 - NOTTINGHAM Motorpoint Arena Nottingham
Mon October 03 2022 - CARDIFF Motorpoint Arena Cardiff

Compare & Buy Parkway Drive Tickets at Stereoboard.com.


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