Black Peaks - All That Divides | Album Review

For the most part, any emerging band’s future is mostly dictated by chance and ambiguity. However, once in a blue moon you encounter an act who clearly possess the attitude, innovation and profound technical prowess required to overcome the harsh winds of the music industry with ease. One such act are Brighton’s Black Peaks. Being rightfully on the receiving end of an endless torrent of praise since the release of their phenomenal full-length debut Statues in 2016, it has always felt like the quintet have been destined for success since their inception. Now on the cusp of releasing their hotly anticipated sophomore record All That Divides, it feels like the lofty spoils of success are only steps away, with All That Divides being their most impressive, inclusive and tight offering yet.

Produced by the Grammy Award winning Adrian Bushby (Foo Fighters, Muse), All That Divides flawlessly advances on the progressive innovation introduced in their previous work. Truly, there’s no hint at the group experiencing difficulty in channeling and expressing their homegrown take on prog tinged alt-metal within this record, with the nine deeply unique tracks present showcasing just how deeply skilled Black Peaks are as performers and writers. Opening with the raw and ferocious anxiety of lead single ‘Can’t Sleep’, the record ebbs and flows between fervent power and pensive contemplation without relenting on the intensity and crystallising progressive ambiance the group have become renowned for.

Whilst stating that All That Divides is a concept album may be too restrictive, there’s certainly a running lyrical theme flowing this record, one inspired by the worrying right-wing political upheaval the world is currently experiencing. Focusing on the denial of the freedom of movement, whilst many aggressive acts may charge into a concept with fervent anger, Black Peaks have clearly taken the time to contemplate their thoughts on the subject and ponder an intelligent response. Of course, anger and resentment towards the faceless powers that be are still evident but there’s a tangible air of anxiety, fear and restlessness.

‘The Midnight Sun’ ebbs between hellish fury and clean, picturesque ambience and ‘Electric Fires’ proves to be a furious yet reserved damning assessment of current pathetic state of global politics. There’s a palpable air of ambition within All That Divides, with the swelling picking and clear mindfulness of ‘Aether’ taking on a more full-bodied progressive sound and ‘The Great Divide’ exploring more technical and sprawling avenues that are reminiscent of both the progressive work of Deftones and Arcane Roots. Such a level of intricacy is undoubtedly set to pull in listeners time and time again, with each respective listen offering new insights, perspectives and shades of this deeply layered offering. The progressive, post-alternative structures present carry enough formulated depth to appeal to even most seasoned progressive rock connoisseur whilst remaining approachable enough to enthrall the most casual of listeners.

Yet, one of the most awe-inspiring elements of this record is the prodigious vocal talents of frontman Will Gardner. With his soaring highs and subterranean growls and screams, the way Gardner utilises his voice with tight precision to narrate the album is simply a pleasure to witness, with his phenomenal range amplifying the human emotion and progressive motifs found within this record. Such a fact is simply staggering on ‘Home’, with his genuine retching anguish marring against the progressive tenderness that blossoms into an explosive documentation of austerity.

You’re going to see this record atop many album of the year lists come December; All That Divides is a bar raising triumph. Every aspect of this band’s renewed persona and respective sound has been intensified and pushed further and will stagger both newcomers and long-established fans alike with it’s masterful handling of progressive sensibilities and enthralling emotive soundscapes. An electric, sprawling journey that many will undertake time and time again.

Score: 9/10

All That Divides is released the 5th October via Rise Records / BMG