Words: Tara Garman
With second album ‘All That Divides’, Brighton four-piece Black Peaks return to their familiar mesh of alternative rock, heavy metal, and hardcore punk. This time around, they also recruit producer Adrian Bushby, who’s brought his talents to the likes of Foo Fighters and Muse.
‘All That Divides’ opens with wonderfully boisterous lead single ‘Can’t Sleep’ – appropriately named, as this track is bound to send you tossing and turning. The crash of Liam Kearley’s drums and force of Joe Gosney’s electric guitar mark the beginning of what is a sensational showcase of Black Peaks’ development since 2014. They maintain this stamina throughout the album, which is also peppered with more mellow moments where string-led tracks reign. Things are toned down, for instance, with ‘Aether’, as Black Peaks exercise their knack for tension and suspense.
Here, the momentum is slowed down only to be revved right back up again on cathartic, high-octane ‘Home’. The twists and turns of the album are delightful to explore yet represent a profound feeling of instability – this reflects their feelings about the political tumult that rocked Britain as the band were touring Europe in 2016. Where is home, they ask, when your homeland doesn’t seem to represent you?
The centrepiece of the album, ‘Across the Great Divide’, candidly voices the feeling of fear this uncertainty breeds as Will Gardner laments, “Out of these walls I cannot see, drowning alone I cannot breathe”. Meanwhile, ‘Electric Fires’ inspires a mutiny against these turbulent times and urges us to reclaim our liberty by joining the prophets who guide us away from ‘the people forcing us to stay’. Black Peaks carefully slot the pieces of the puzzle together, making space for social awareness in their work without ever obscuring the escapist thrill of their labyrinthine rock riffs.
With ‘All That Divides’, the band delivers an album that’s confident, stylistically cohesive, and points towards their ascending star in the future. If there’s one thing that this album shows, it’s that Black Peaks are a force to be reckoned with.