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Parkway Drive channel Black Album-era Metallica on stirring new ballad, Darker Still

Jeff Ling
(Image credit: Future)

Parkway Drive have steered the creative ship into unchartered waters with Darker Still, the third single from their upcoming seventh album of the same name.

Notably softer than the album’s previously released singles Glitch and The Greatest Fear – and indeed anything the Aussie metalcore stalwarts have put out in their near two-decade career – Darker Still is a sprawling seven-minute acoustic guitar-driven ballad with an air of Metallica’s The Unforgiven, expanding with electric guitars and Winston McCall’s trademark screams in its second half. 

Jeff Ling’s lead guitar work marks another stylistic departure, as he peppers the track with a series of bluesy arena rock-inspired runs. Watch its eerie music video below.

The Byron Bay metal troupe incorporated acoustic guitars and string sections on their previous outing, 2018’s Reverence, but Darker Still marks the first time they’ve used them to such a degree to shape an entire song.

Like Glitch and The Greatest Fear, McCall’s lyrical content for Darker Still is deeply considered and thought-provoking.

“Love. Time. Death. The great defining elements that make up our existence,” he explains. “This song begins with the simplest of human sounds and represents these elements as the musical journey grows to reach its souring crescendo before facing the inevitable conclusion of its journey. The night grows dark… darker still.”

Darker Still is set to arrive September 9 via Epitaph. Take a look at its track list below.

  1. Ground Zero
  2. Like Napalm
  3. Glitch
  4. The Greatest Fear
  5. Darker Still
  6. Imperial Heretic
  7. If a God Can Bleed
  8. Soul Bleach
  9. Stranger
  10. Land of the Lost
  11. From the Heart of the Darkness

“When Parkway originally started out, we all were trying to push ourselves to do more than we possibly could," McCall says. “What you hear on Darker Still is the final fulfilment of our ability to learn and grow catching up with the imagination that we have always had.”

Parkway Drive are scheduled to embark on an 18-date European tour (opens in new tab) from the album’s release date on September 9.

The band previously canceled a planned 2022 North America tour back in April citing mental health reasons.

“The relentless nature of being in this band has given us very little time to reflect on who we are as individuals,” the band wrote on social media (opens in new tab). “We feel the limit has been reached and we don’t want to fuck this up.”

In a followup post in May, the band continued: “Mental health is an ever-present issue within our society and we are no exception. As touring started back up, we found ourselves at a crossroads. Continue down the same path, risk more damage and more than likely destroy the band and ourselves, or take the time needed to do the work on ourselves and heal. We are doing the work and know that ultimately, this was the correct choice.”

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Sam is a Staff Writer at Guitar World, also creating content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar (opens in new tab).