Parkway Drive – ‘Darker Still’

Review : Dan Maynard

It’s still hard to believe sometimes, that the powerhouse that is Parkway Drive began as a blip playing town halls and schools in the small town of Byron Bay, just at the top of the New South Wales coastline. Since then, they’ve gone on to accomplish goals that most bands would dream of. Headlining some of the biggest festivals in the world, touring endlessly and selling millions of albums across the globe and becoming one of the most entertaining spectacles in live entertainment to date.

This week, almost 20 years since they started their journey, they will release their seventh studio album Darker Still unto the world. Parkways are a band who do not fear change, they have no issue with growing and reinventing themselves as they mature as musicians.

Darker Still is no exception.

The album demonstrates their ability to keep true to themselves and defines what makes a Parkway Drive album so notable, massive and fucking….loud. The boys never fail with production, with producer George Hadji-Christou joining for the third record in a row. Opening track Ground Zero is the epitome of a Parkway track, with its massive punch to the face intro, Jeff’s melodic lead guitar that drives so many of the biggest Parkway songs and a chorus that inevitably will have the crowd singing along. If the band opens their next tour with this track, no doubt it will be a crowd pleaser and a set up for a brilliant show.

Title track Darker Still, which was released as a single prior to the release of the album, sees the band step outside of their comfort zone more than ever. A ballad that showcases vocalist Winston McCall, proof that he has transformed himself as a musician since his metal-core beginnings all those years ago, shining a light on his clean vocals. Filled with stunning acoustic guitars, epic melody driven guitar solos and tremendous build ups, Darker Still proves that Parkway Drive are never going to settle for less than what they put their minds to.

Soul Bleach, god damn this intro will take you back to the days of Deep Blue, heavy as a mother fucker. Quickly moving into a more Ire era song, this song doesn’t let up through its entirety. Another belter that screams crowd pleaser when it comes to the next tour and I personally think it  out as a highlight of the album. When I first heard this song and had it blasting, it was like someone took a sledgehammer and tore it across my face. Pretty sure the words “Holy shit” may have made an appearance and when you get your ears wrapped around it, you’ll likely have the same reaction.

The thing to take away from this, is that Darker Still is huge, it’s nothing short of epic and it’s full of anthems that will drive the crowd into a fucking frenzy. This record shows the growth within the band and that clearly, Parkway Drive is not going anywhere anytime soon. They’ve reached a plateau that would have seemed more than impossible twenty years ago and I can’t imagine they’re ready to give that up just yet. And I, for one, welcome our new metal overlords.

Parkway Drive – ‘Darker Still’ is out September 9 via Parkway Records