Parkway Drive have shaken it up yet are still one of Australia’s beloved hardcore acts
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Parkway Drive have shaken it up yet are still one of Australia’s beloved hardcore acts

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For anyone that’s even remotely switched on to the metal/hardcore scene around the world, the name “Parkway Drive” carries a significant amount of weight. The band has garnered a reputation as one of Australia’s most well-known exports. They’ve thundered through four albums, countless world tours and, like all good bands, evolved their sound with every new experience.

This change and evolution is embodied by the release of their fifth record, Reverence, which dropped in May. Winston McCall, the man behind the vocals, offers a peek behind the veil of the release, shedding some insight on what sets this album apart, the gears that had to grind in order to make it something special, and his own personal feelings on the entire experience.

“I’m excited for it to come out, simply because I like sharing what we do,” McCall said pre-release. “I’ve yet to experience it any other way, but you’re stoked with what you’ve made. I’m psyched on that aspect.”

But the release of the album also came with a lot of waiting. “This time I couldn’t believe that the thing we imagined, we got to see come to a complete creation, and then you’ve got to sit on it while all the back end happens. You’re like ‘Just get it out there.’”

At the time of writing, before the album’s release, it was a mystery whether Parkway Drive fans would take to the band’s newer sound – it’s true there’s been a bit of a schism in the fan base about Parkway Drive’s sonic evolution – but McCall remains positively confident regardless.

“This is the record where we committed to the idea of doing anything. It meant not falling back on the idea of something being safe because it’s something we’ve done in the past,” he explains. “Whatever elements we used [for the album] were the elements that we felt were necessary to get the character across. That led to heaps of moments that I think people will hear and go ‘Whoa, never heard Parkway like that before.’ This is just the representation of a modern Parkway.”

Another interesting element of Reverence would have to be the way the album was made. “Everything up until Atlas was written with the concept of ‘Parkway Drive can only be this one thing.’ By the time we got to Atlas, we found ourselves just driving around in circles, and everything just started sounding like it was watered down.

“This time we were going to write music and not listen to any other bands, not use anything as a reference point other than the spark of inspiration we’ll just build on until it’s created something that’s interesting for us. The way we write, it’s a really long distillation process. We build on things, leave it and come back to it. A lot of these concepts were bigger than anything we tried before.”

As McCall revealed, the hardest song to write and get onto the album was the closing track, ‘The Colour of Leaving’.

“That song was written during a period when the band had friends or family diagnosed with cancer. And we had to deal with that the whole way through being on tour, dealing with treatment, and dealing with the loss. I couldn’t even demo that track, it was so hard to sing, just saying the words.”

Despite the heartache throughout the writing process, Parkway’s album is out now doing the rounds. In fact, they’re off on a blistering tour of the US showcasing it, and are heading on a mammoth run of dates across Europe in June.

“Someone will probably throw a cake at someone on stage or one of those things,” he says, pre-empting album release rowdiness. “As long as no one’s yelling ‘Shoey’ I’ll be stoked. It’s gonna be pretty mental.”