Black Peaks – a name frequently heard through word-of-mouth, various tours, and the radio waves in 2015. Despite forming a few years ago, this previous year was a true unveiling for the Brighton band, seeing major coverage on all media platforms – turning heads in discovery, as if a hidden secret had emerged. And frankly, it had. The uniqueness that Black Peaks clutch to has been hard to come by in the recent years within the distinctive mathcore genre, but they really have been successful in bringing their own exceptional sound into the spotlight. After a lot of waiting, various singles, and much hard work, this has all has paid off – culminating in a blistering debut album, ‘Statues’.
The record makes for a bold introduction, with previously released trio ‘Glass Built Castles’, ‘Crooks’ and ‘Say You Will’ – three that, to the more dedicated fans, have seen release before in various forms. The crispness of the remastering of these tracks will stand out to those acquainted with the previous EP and single releases, and ‘Say You Will’ steps into the limelight as a showcase of Will Gardner’s ferocious vocals. This unique voice is a large part of what makes Black Peaks so identifiable, as the blending of shattering vocals and melodic singing works so effectively in complimenting one another alongside the instrumentation. Together with ‘Set In Stone’, these two tracks are unquestionably the most noteworthy at presenting Gardner’s sheer talent, with shiver-inducing shrieks throughout.
In their usual fashion, each track is of a decent length – and ‘Statues’ relies on the fast-paced, 7-minute ‘Hang Em High’ as the longest on the record. The track helps showcase their math-influences, slowly descending into more experimental songwriting throughout the 7 minutes. It doesn’t leave out the heavier influences either, as the last minute sees them plunging into destructive breakdowns and vocals. Following behind is the 6-minute ‘Drones’, which provides a musical contrast; with bass heavy instrumentation and Tool-inspired melodic work driving the track, it delves off into another area of Black Peaks’ endless range of sound, proving very impressive, and very powerful.
Nearing the end of the album, ‘White Eyes’ proves a highlight. The chorus, comprised of the strong harmonies in the simple line “Cards come tumbling down, who shall strike the crown?’” provides a fullness to the track, and focuses more on Gardner’s singing to drive the song. The strong layering of the rest of the band’s work comes to light too – with a sudden pause halfway that effectively gives way to rhythmic instrumentation in a surprising twist.
Overall, ‘Statues’ has been a real accomplishment for Black Peaks. Not very often does a debut album portray such promise, and with such strength – it’s truly intriguing to see where their song writing will lead them next. With the right amount of live shows to satisfy the hunger for more, there is definitely no reason to deny that this is only the beginning of big things for the Brighton band.
‘Statues’ is out now via Sony Music entertainment.
This Black Peaks review was written by Caitlin Damsell, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Stephen Butchard.