Parkway Drive Albums Ranked

Hate list features? Feel free to skip this article and others in this series.

Here I’ll be ranking the albums by certain bands in order from Best (actually my subjective favourite) to worst/least good (subjectively, in my opinion). Number 1 is obviously the best. The lowest number is my least favourite.

DAY 3 – PARKWAY DRIVE:

01. Ire (2015) – If you recall my albums of the decade list, then I think you could have guessed already, but there is no chance this album would not make it to the top spot. This is not only my favourite album by the band, but also my favourite album of the subgenre, and my favourite album of the decade it was released. Not bad going for an album I wasn’t sure about on first listen! This is a big stylistic change from the band’s early direction. They’ve injected so much personality, variety and ‘’umph’’ into their sound, and took the ballsy decision to make a grab at the big time (and seemingly succeed, based on the venues and how high up festival bills they’ve been ever since!).  

The Maiden/Priest leads have always been there, but never so well, they absolutely slay it on this record. The clean vocals were only hinted at previously and the big influx of Slipknot & Machine Head influences are new, and they nail it first time. If any criticism could be levelled at their early albums, it may be that the songs were not always distinct enough from each-other, and this album fixes that so completely, never a dull moment, no two songs alike, every second memorable. In my mind this is a stone cold masterpiece.   

Best songs: ‘Dedicated,’ ‘Crushed,’ ‘Vice Grip’ & ‘Destroyer.’

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02. Reverence (2018) – Proving that Ire was not just a one off, PWD followed up my album of the decade with an album nearly as good. They made it even more melodic, more varied and more polished. While it is a bit shorter, and it loses the wow factor for first album in this new style, it is still a terrific album in its own right and a superb sequel.

I caught the band live twice on this album cycle. They were the best band live at Download Festival 2018 even though Guns N’ Roses played after them with Slash and Duff back in the band.  Their headline concert in Cardiff early the next year was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to.

I feel like this may be the band’s most dramatic and expansive record to date. If you came from the Hardcore scene and have a Killing With A Smile tattoo you may be sat there with a confused expression wondering what the hell happened, but if are happy to go with them on their cinematic catchy new journey, then this is a must have.

Best songs: ‘Cronos,’ ‘Absolute Power’ & ‘Prey.’

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03. Deep Blue (2010) – This was my first Parkway Drive album, for a long time it was my favourite, and it will always have a special place in my heart. I have very fond memories of this record. This is the band perfecting their early sound and is the pinnacle of phase one of their career. It is a must have for any fan of this subgenre.

At first glance it may not seem that original, not have that much of a unique selling point, but while they may not have been in all the magazines from day one, they simply wrote some of the best songs, better than most of their competitors and peers.

The album works best as a journey I feel. Maybe because it’s a concept album, but its best to put it on with no distractions and sink (not pun intended) into the glorious underwater world the band create. Even the shimmering clean guitar lines sound like water half the time. I almost went to see them live on this album cycle, but I skipped it to go on a date that was cancelled with a girl who was very soon an ex. Quite the mistake.

Best songs ‘Sleepwalker,’ ‘Deadweight,’ ‘Karma’ & ‘Leviathan I.’

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04. Atlas (2012) – This album was a bit of a let down when it first came out, but I feel time has been kind to it. Horizons and Deep Blue were so well received and really covered all the ground in this particular furrow, that at the time it kind of felt at the time that Parkway had said all they had to say already. Its strange because the press at the time was kind of about how Parkway had run out of ideas, but in hindsight this was quite a change for the band already. (Not as big a change as Ire was mind you, but a change none-the-less). There were strings, a ballad, a darker vibe, environmental lyrical themes, and even surprisingly some DJ scratches at one point. It wouldn’t be my instant recommendation for first Parkway Drive album, but its not one I’d tell you to skip either.

Best songs: ‘’Old Ghosts/New Regrets’ ‘Wild Eyes’ & ‘Dark Days.’

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05. Horizons (2007) – This is a lot of people’s favourite Parkway Drive album and was a lot of people’s first. It has a very good reputation and songs from it seem to go down a storm live. For some reason, personal choice, who knows, but it is never the album I reach for when I am in the mood for some PWD.

If I was being hyper critical I may say that it is a wee bit samey and it doesn’t have as much personality as later albums, but on the whole I don’t really have anything bad to say about it, and the only reason it isn’t higher on the list is that the albums which followed it were better.

Best songs: ‘Carrion,’ ‘Idols & Anchors’ and ‘Five Months.’  

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06. Killing With A Smile (2006) – For some reason, I never got this album until 2020, every time I went into a shop to buy it (which I have planned to on numerous occasions) it was always 7 or 8 quid more expensive than other albums I saw and always walked out without it. Import costs perhaps? And up until recently, every time I looked for it online I was only finding second hand copies and then the band wouldn’t make anything off it, so I always chose to wait. I finally pulled the trigger on it in the hype building up to their new live album (check back for a review here soon).

I’ve been listening to it pretty consistently since then. Its definitely a little rawer, more rough and ready, less metallic with less guitar hero moments. That being said, all the essential PWD elements are on display here; crunchy riffs, dynamic transitions, dirty beatdowns, memorable guitar lines and savage screams. They didn’t really have the lyrics down yet, but I guess they would have been quite young at the time.

Best songs: ‘Smoke Em If You Got Em,’ ‘Romance Is Dead’ & ‘Anasasis (Xenophontis)’

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07. Don’t Close Your Eyes (2007 reissue compilation / 2004 original) – Like Ember To Inferno, or Killswitch’s self titled debut album, this very early independent album is a solid prototype for what the band would go on to do later, but in the modern day is pretty much ‘’for fans only’’ and the last thing you should pick up when you’ve exhausted all other avenues but still crave a little more. You can see the potential, but the best was yet to come.

Best songs: ‘Don’t Close Your Eyes’ & ‘Hollow Man.’ (And ‘Smoke Em If You Got Em’ too, but they rerecorded that for Killing With A Smile as above)

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1 Comment

  1. I like this series as either:
    a) it’s an artist I know, and we can agree/agree to disagree on the rankings
    b) it’s advice on where to start on a new-to-me artist
    win-win!

    Like

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