ALBUM REVIEW: Black Peaks – All That Divides

Release Date: October 5th 2018
Label: Rise Records


Brighton’s Black Peaks have been on a hugely ascending trajectory over the last few years. From plying their trade on the local club circuit armed with only a handful of songs, to supporting the likes of Marmozets, Deftones, and A Perfect Circle in front of thousands of people, the band show no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

Following on from 2016’s critically acclaimed debut, ‘Statues’, the band’s sophomore effort ‘All That Divides’ feels as though it could play a massively pivotal part of their continued journey into the stratosphere.

The introduction of opening track and lead single ‘Can’t Sleep’ immediately affirms that their journey up the ranks is set to continue. With stunning interplay between cleanly sung vocals and horrific screaming during the verses, vocalist Will Gardner‘s undeniable talent stand front and center throughout. The levels of emotive extremity emanating from Gardner‘s lungs in the chorus is delightful, before a driving riff elevates the sonic characteristics to the next level.

Black Peaks mix it up a bit on ‘The Midnight Sun’ with a seven-minute soundscape filled with broken down passages, Opeth-esque vocal melodies, and a thunderously progressive section complete with harsh screams and discordant guitars. Meanwhile, ‘Electric Fires’ tackles a more straight-ahead rock sound with the odd gang chant thrown in for good measure.

The production on this album is unquestionably strong after drafting in Adrian Bushby (Foo Fighters, Muse) and, while ‘Statues’ was a bit more schizophrenic and haphazard in approach, ‘All That Divides’ shows a far more expansive outlook whilst at the same time being a lot more focused.

Examples of this are shown on ‘Aether’, which hints at a bit of southern-style Clutch worship, and one of the album highlights, ‘Across The Great Divide’, which displays ‘Showbiz’ era Muse (listen to how closely that chorus resembles ‘Muscle Museum’). The fact that they manage to comprise broken down beatdowns with an exquisite high-pitched vocal delivery is utterly astounding.

While ‘Slow Seas’ and finale ‘Fate I & II’ further strengthen the album’s output, incorporating acoustic sensibilities and a sludgy solo courtesy of guitarist Joe Gosney on the former and a seven-minute all-encompassing emotive journey on the latter, it’s one of the singles ‘Home’ which rattles home (no pun intended) the real mission statement of Black Peaks on this effort. With the lyrical content hinting at the fear of a future with restricted freedom governed by political and upheaval and internal conflicts, it’s a very poignant statement of the current state of the world.

Each member of the band gives a man of the match performance on this record, with every instrument showing tremendous levels of dexterity and originality. It’s frightening and magnificent to think that this is a band with only two full-length releases and a handful of years live experience (lest we say that they are one of the country’s brightest prospects live).

If this is the sound of Black Peaks still honing their skills and finding their feet, the pure magnetism of ‘All That Divides’ proves it unquestionable that we’re witness to the rearing of one of the most promising bands of the past few decades.