Already a thrilling live prospect and now a must-see fixture at festivals across the country, Black Peaks prepare to release their second album ‘All That Divides’ on 5 October.
A wall of feedback and frantic drumming signal the start of album opener ‘Can’t Sleep’. Already a consistent part of Black Peaks live set, it finds Will Gardner delivering lines about ‘how we hold each other tight as we slip into the night’ and also has the record’s first mention of darkness – a theme that will be returned to time and time again. It comes to a close with a glitch-filled breakdown that’s given extra impetus by Will’s howls and screams. Following this is ‘The Midnight Sun’, a stop-start song in the vein of Hell is for Heroes with honest lyrics about personal faults (‘innocence for my over-confidence’) and a rhythmic sing-along of ‘voice in the wind, can you hear them calling?’ ‘Electric Fires is the shortest song on the album but it’s no less potent. It has a fuzzed-up sound and assertive vocals that talk about being ‘freed from desire’ (we hope it’s a Gala reference) amidst a mountain of urgent And So I Watch You From Afar-style math rock riffs.
‘Aether’ opens in quieter fashion with Will’s gentler falsetto giving real credence to the words: ‘I can see it through the trees to the lake, I see the rain. I can see it through the clouds there’s a change, I feel your pain’. It’s an emotional piece that is perfect for the bigger rooms Black Peaks are bound to be playing in soon. As we mentioned earlier, darkness is a running theme and the band said the feel of this album was inspired by the their individual states of mental health the divisive nature of the world right now – and, of course, this means Brexit rears its ugly head on both recent single ‘Home’ (‘To lose the heart of all we loved, to have the umbilical cord ripped away from our children’) and the grunge-laden ‘Across the Great Divide’ (‘All I see, distant memory’). Full of angular guitar work, the latter is especially powerful as Will sums up feelings of negativity in the most visceral of words: ‘I’ll never let the monsters out the cage’; ‘I’ll never let the beast under my bed, never let the feat fill me with dread’.
One of the great things about Black Peaks is how they can flip from prog rock to Reuben-style fuzz and chanted sing-alongs at the flip of a coin and the album’s closing songs reflect this. ‘Eternal Light’ is a mathy piece with a roaring finish; ‘Slow Seas’ is an altogether quieter and emotional affair with the band asking ‘where are the heroes?’ before delivering a delicious crescendo to finish and the closing two-songs-for-the-price-of-one ‘Fate I & II’ is a six-minute epic that offers nods to Oceansize and La Dispute with healthy amounts of shouting, aggression and then – to top it all off – power rock guitar solos. Black Peaks have taken another huge step up with this record. Climb on board and join them on their rise to the top.