All That Divides by Black PeaksRelease date: October 5, 2018
Label: Rise Records
Through all the instability of living in Brexit Britain, through all the divisiveness and uncertainty if there’s one positive to find it’s that such a political climate is bound to inspire some fine musical minds. If Brighton’s Black Peaks are anything to go by, we’re in for some fine sonic delights over the next few years. Bursting onto the scene in 2016 with debut album Statues, the band’s blend of hardcore aggression, progressive leanings and an exasperated anger at the political climate they found themselves in won plaudits throughout the music industry, including support slots with bands such as Architects and Dillinger Escape Plan and shows at numerous festivals.
Now, with second album All That Divides the band could have rested on their laurels and continued with the same blend of mathy post-hardcore that won them such acclaim. Instead, All That Divides is a different beast, expanding on their sound while taking it in new directions. Where Statues (landing before the Brexit vote and the election of Trump) was a bleak, pessimistic rage at a future vocalist and chief lyricist Will Gardner fervently hoped could be avoided, All That Divides is a voice of hope, of the potential for change in a future where the worst has already happened.
Musically as well the band has evolved. The reactionary rage of their political ideas was always tempered by an unusual intelligence, but at times on All That Divides it’s hard to see the band’s more aggressive roots. Indeed, tracks such as ‘Aether’, ‘Home’ and ‘Slow Seas’ have a stronger progressive leaning, at times veering into the realms of post-metal. This is a more measured, patient Black Peaks.
From opener ‘Can’t Sleep’ it’s clear the band is on to a winner. It’s an absolute highlight, a track bursting with aggression, but with a strong melodic hook at its heart. It’s pure Black Peaks, and the rest of the album is absolutely packed with the same anthemic choruses the band write so well. The band swing from the punk influenced ‘Electric Fires’; to the menacing ‘Home’; to the wistful beauty of ‘Slow Seas’ with that same eye for an earworm. It’s on ‘Aether’ however that the bands new sound truly shines through. It’s gentler than previous tracks, with a dreamlike quality throughout but there is still a heft buried beneath and with the chorus refrain of “I can see through the clouds there’s a change”, shows off the album’s optimistic tone. It’s an excellent track and it’s hard to think of another band that can channel such a range of influences with such precision.
That Black Peaks can combine such elements so confidently is a testament to the band’s prowess. They have effortlessly continued where they left off, with All That Divides a perfect and logical evolution of the band’s sound, and while some fans might be disappointed in the move away from the heavier elements of the band’s sound, Gardner’s ability to write anthemic choruses remains sure to electrify, no matter which side of the political spectrum you fall on.