One would be hard pressed to find anyone who would argue against the fact that Black Peaks have been dealt an incredibly cruel hand as of late. Whilst the band are undoubtedly one of the brightest stars in UK progressive metal, their seemingly unstoppable rise to the stratosphere was cut short following on from the release of their blinding second record All That Divides. Just as the band were about to reach a galloping pace in support of the album, vocalist Will Gardner was cut down by a severe case of sepsis in 2019. Following on from a year of recovery and worry, the band’s triumphant return to the live scene was halted by certain ongoing global events that should not need any introduction.
With that in mind, it was guaranteed that the band’s livestream from The Brighton Centre was going to an incredibly special moment for both the band and fans. But even with everyone harbouring lofty exceptions for the event, it’s safe to say that no one truly expected the sheer calibre of skill that was exercised during the evening. A cinematic tour-de-force of their sound, vision and musical prowess, the stream was an event that has already been cemented as a pivotal moment of their career. With that in mind, here’s the five things we learned from the evening.
Black Peaks Headlining These Venues Is Not A Possibility, But An Inevitability
Granted, the Brighton natives are no strangers to large venues. Over the course of their career, Black Peaks have found themselves performing in some truly colossal rooms supporting the likes of Architects, Mastodon, System Of A Down and have even performed the utmost pinnacle of the UK live circuit by storming Wembley Stadium in support of Deftones. However, this set was an inarguable statement that the band are destined for the big leagues themselves. Performing to an audience of none within the 5000 capacity Brighton Centre, the group showcased how their expansive sound is inherently suited for such gargantuan spaces. Their truly immersive and immense set filled the now silent and barren venue in a manner resonating utter devastation, and if there was any justice in this word, Black Peaks will find themselves topping these lofty rooms when the gears within the live circuit start turning again.
‘King’ Is Monumental Live
It’s almost surreal to think how the livestream saw the band’s first true live play through of ‘King’. Released in early fall of 2019, the single stands the subsequent follow-up to the aforementioned All That Divides and a tantalising glimmer of the band’s musical progression. Despite the track being a juggernaut on record, as showcased within the stream, the confines of the live stage is where the song truly takes form. Simultaneously ethereally spellbinding and grounded by foundation shattering gravity, the live premiere of ‘King’ saw the group furiously pumping on all cylinders, united in shared Earth breaking instrumental interplay. A guaranteed live staple in the hopefully not too distant future, it’s a surprise The Brighton Centre is still standing after that premiere.
Black Peaks Truly Know How To Enliven Their Cinematic Vision
For better or worse, livestreams have become the norm over the course of the past year. Whilst the majority simply feature the artist in question storming through a set, Black Peaks successfully attempted to take a direct approach. Documenting and highlighting the peril these venues are facing amidst the current crisis, Black Peaks Live At The Brighton Centre was a moving, if not poignant documentation of our currently troubled time. Interspersed by cutaways showcasing a venue once teeming with life now devoid of essence, the stream saw the band skilfully navigate through a setlist filled with introspective and cinematic material whilst projecting enough vitality to substitute the thousands missing from the building. Against an introspective musical backdrop composed of the likes of ‘Aether’, ‘Home’ and ‘Saviour’, Black Peaks presented their intellectually progressive mindset to stunning effect and provided an experience that was contemplative as it was calamitous
Will Gardner Is Without Question One Of The Best Progressive Metal Vocalists On The Planet
Yes, this is a point that’s been hold by countless fans of progressive music for years now. But following on from the vocalist’s public illness, some have been quietly sharing concerns that his impeccable vocal abilities may have been affected following the battle for his life. However, any such apprehensions where undoubtedly quelled within minutes of this set starting. As soon as the band plunged into the translucent waters of ‘Aether’ prior to storming though renditions of ‘Drones’ and ‘Can’t Sleep’, it was made abundant clear that Gardner remains one of the most dynamic, varied and untouchable voices within progressive music. The towering ‘The Midnight Sun’ saw the vocalist effortlessly conveying a performance that countless other musicians can only dream of delivering and the closing ‘Say You Will’ sounded as jaw-dropping as it did when it first stunned audiences back in 2016. Even amidst the sidewinding instrumentation in that binds the output of Black Peaks, Gardner flawlessly took centre stage with grace and borderline intimidating force.
The Vinyl Release Is A Must Have For Any Fans Of Progressive Density
Even without the roar of the crowd coating the album, the live record that was birthed forth from this set will be a must have purchase for not just fans of the band, but for anyone with just a passing interest in heavy progressive music. Free from any overlays, dubs or other such post-show inclusions, the upcoming live record is set to contain nothing but the raw and unfiltered live power Black Peaks have become renowned for. Be it a sentimental reminder of an era that will forever be a part of our lives, this set and subsequent live record is and will be a flaying and immerse testament not just to the skill of the band, but their resolve, creative integrity and ardent perseverance against seemingly impossible hardship.
Black Peaks Live At The Brighton Centre is available to watch until 11:59pm April 10th.
The live album is released April 16th digitally and September 17th physically via Rise Records.