Black Peaks


Written by: TL on 21/04/2016 13:53:12

Brighton's Black Peaks is a band that, to the eye of the Danish concertgoer, has appeared from out of nowhere and onto this year's Copenhell lineup. The group is also rather new, with their debut album "Statues" coming out just a few weeks ago. Their sound has been labelled as progressive post-hardcore, yet the keyword there is definitely 'progressive' as the mainstay of the music on "Statues" is darker and heavier than post-hardcore is normally perceived, often feeling like a slightly lighter variant of bands like The Ocean, Between The Buried And Me or Mastodon.

The pieces of the puzzle include clean vocals that occasionally remind of Thrice or their gloomier counterparts in O'Brother, and extended belted roars that bring to mind older Mastodon material. Then there are frequent sections of creepy, atmospheric clean guitar: The sort of traditional proggy stuff that fans will find familiar whether they're used to it from darker Coheed And Cambria material, from the much lauded excursions of Between The Buried And Me or from older prog history in general. And then there's the heavy side to the sound, which is probably the reason Black Peaks has ended up labelled as progressive post-hardcore instead of progressive metal, because of its often abrasive and erosive feeling, which is where The Ocean in particular come to mind as a decent comparison.

Contributing to the idea that Black Peaks are a lighter counterpart to the bands first mentioned, the eleven tracks on offer are a also good bit less demanding on your time than either Ocean or BTBAM material, clocking in at relatively modest lengths between three and seven minutes. Yet rest assured that there is still plenty of explorative listening to be had right past the opening lead single "Glass Built Castles", which stands apart from the remaining songs by being catchier by a considerable measure, yet arguably also a tad more repetitive for it, circling as it does, around and back to the infectiously rising croons of "You're blinded in the night / You're giving up the fight / For your life!".

The opener stands out because the remaining tracks on the album consistently feel the opposite: They're anything but too repetitive, yet they could probably benefit from having slightly stronger signatures built in, to create a stronger feeling of separate track identities. Listening through "Statues" is otherwise enjoyable and engaging, primarily because Black Peaks showcase an aptitude for keeping things highly dynamic and relatively diverse. It just falls a little heavily on the clean vocals to etch some fixpoints into your brain, to anchor you as you map out the surrounding sounds and atmospheres. Songs like "Say You Will" and "Saviour" have some success in this regard, while others punch you well enough in the stomach while you have them on, yet blur together a bit when you look at the tracklist the next day.

With their emergence, Black Peaks seize an interesting middle ground, however, between progressive post-hardcore and progressive metal, which it feels unsuitable to write off as just 'metalcore'. As a production in general "Statues" sounds professional, giving off the immediate vibe that there are no hints of amateurism clinging to the group's first step, which is highly respectable in its own right. So for those attuned to the moods and the energy of the bands Black Peaks compare to, there's probably no reason in sight not to at least dip their toes in and sample "Statues" as well. As to whether Black Peaks is yet writing bangers that the heavier crowds will remember for posteriority, though, perhaps a bit more development and structure is needed. But this is a striking debut nonetheless.


Download: Glass Built Castles, Saviour, Say You Will
For The Fans Of: The Ocean, Between The Buried And Me, Mastodon, Burst

Release date 08.04.2016
Sony Music

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