Parkway Drive

Reverence

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A powerful statement of intent and a hugely cinematic amalgam of heavy metal subgenres, the stalwart Aussie unit's sixth studio long-player draws from old-school melodic headbangers like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, while maintaining some of the seismic post-hardcore crunch of mid-period offerings like Deep Blue and Atlas. Produced by the band's longterm engineer George Hadji-Christou and inspired by a succession of deaths -- heart-rending closer "The Colour of Leaving" was written in the emotional aftermath of frontman Winston McCall digging a grave for his dog -- the aptly named Reverence stares grief in the face while giving it a no-holds-barred tongue-lashing. Much like 2015's Ire, the ten-track set is mired in fury, but Parkway Drive rage against the dying of the light with as much melodic might as they do sheer spleen, resulting in something that's often as profoundly beautiful as it is relentlessly brutal. Front-loaded with fiery, flag-waving anti-anthems like "Prey," "Absolute Power," and the Black Album-era Metallica-worthy "The Void," Reverence is a wicked marvel of esoteric heavy metal craftsmanship -- electronic and orchestral flourishes propel the otherwise monastic "Cemetery Bloom" into Valhallic rapture, while the defiant opener, "Wishing Wells," pairs the fire-and-brimstone fury of early Nick Cave with the hook-driven hostility of Ghost. If Ire was the sound of Parkway Drive tunneling out of their metalcore prison cell, then Reverence is the great escape, and in finding that thin line between pageantry and purpose, the band has delivered its most crucial outing to date, one that's both devastating and galvanizing.

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