ARTIST: BLACK PEAKS
TITLE: ALL THAT DIVIDES
LABEL: RISE RECORDS
RATING: 10 /10
WORDS: AMY ALBINSON
After delivering one of the best debut albums of 2016 Black Peaks fell full-speed, kicking and screaming into a prog-rock scene that hasn’t seen them settle down since. After playing with Deftones and Mastodon and performing at various festivals including the Heavy Music Awards this year their sophomore album has been the subject of much buzz and excitement since its announcement. Released on Rise Records and produced by Adrian Bushby (Foo Fighters/Muse), ‘All That Divides’ arrives in a collision of anger and heavy guitar riffs as a testimony to everything that this band is capable of.
Opening track ‘Can’t Sleep’ arrives with the roaring of distorted guitars as vocalist Will Gardner cries out “black boots, on the street, can you hear them?”, a challenge or promise of a fight.
The energy is visceral, a display of the emotional turmoil that stems from the changing political climate which is an overarching theme throughout the record as they ask “is the cost of blood so low?” Having been on tour in the mid-2016s, far from home when so much was afoot, this confusion and desire to take back some form of control is evidently a huge influence on the band. Heading into the breakdown each line is viciously spat out into soaring guitar riffs, “can’t speak, can’t breathe, can’t sleep”. There is fire in every word. This isn’t a song about an inability to sleep, it’s a refusal to.
“a collision of anger and heavy guitar riffs as a testimony to everything that this band is capable of.”
Second track, ‘The Midnight Sun’, offers no reprieve as the band explode with a bass-driven intro leading into the same guttural screaming that gave their debut so much energy. At almost seven minutes this song is the longest on the record, filled with drastic changes in pace and more high-velocity screaming . Dropping midway back in to a slower, softer melody, Gardner asks again “can you hear them calling?” with a promise of something much bigger to come. In such a high energy album the anticipation is almost uncomfortable.
With heavy highs and crashing lows, ‘Aether’ shows the extent of Will Gardner’s vocal range as he moves between a falsetto tone and roaring cries. There is something undeniably like a battle cry about this record as the fierce repetition of “I will not lose face” gets faster and darker accompanied by a heavy bassline and pounding drums. In the last few years of touring it’s clear that the band have not lost any of the energy that made their debut so intensely captivating.
“more drive,, visceral and intense than anything released in a long while ….”
Opening with layers and layers of distortion, 7th track ‘Eternal Light’ is a highlight of the album. The song builds and builds before colliding into siren-esque screams as the drums take over. The vocals are distorted and endlessly powerful and energetic. This is a track that compels movement. It will send bodies flying and leave bruises. It showcases all that make this band so popular inside the post/prog-rock heavy scene they have found themselves within.
Due out on October 5th, ‘All That Divides’ is Black Peaks’ own fight against political turmoil, building on the intensity of their previous record and striking out with an album that is without a doubt more driven, visceral and intense than anything released in a long while.