The cover art of Parkway Drive’s new album Reverence is a re-coloured detail of Baroque artist Peter Paul Rubens’ The Fall Of The Damned (1620). It’s kind of terrifying in its lusciousness, not least because, hell’s bells, it’s a depiction of condemned souls flung like meatbags down into the inferno.
In form and theme, it’s an apt visual for the Byron five-piece’s follow-up to ARIA #1 mega-success Ire (2015). Reverence doesn’t present a simple sacred/profane storybook but teases out the fragments in between those extremes. The live-ready Prey plays on the conflicting spellings and meanings of that word, and The Void thrashes with agility like a hydra-headed whip. Cemetery Bloom includes some of frontman Winston McCall’s most evocative poetry (“My unnatural disaster, my kaleidoscopic gloom, my karmic equaliser, my cemetery bloom”).
During closer The Colour Of Leaving, strings start chugging and you expect filthy guitars to leap out of the wind at any moment, but they don’t; McCall’s voice just gets more cracked, and then positively fragile, and then there’s just the distant birds cawing and the dirt crunching underfoot. And that’s life, really: sometimes you can marshal all your anger and hurt, and heave it out with great force. But sometimes the fissures slowly become abysses, and then you’re just dissolved. This is a monumental album of huge heart and dogged honesty.
Reverence is out May 4 via Resist/Cooking Vinyl, including on bronze vinyl, and JB-exclusive limited edition gold and black vinyl.
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