The whirlwind emergence of Black Peaks encapsulates perfectly the sea change that was taking place in the UK alternative music scene in the mid 2010s. Garnering understandably frothing plaudits from music media and exuberant fans alike, their progressive yet tuneful brand of genre-hopping post-rock quickly saw the band not only nab festival-stealing slots at Download, 2000 Trees, Arctangent and a glut of headline tour dates, but most impressively take to the stage in a rather gargantuan opening slot for the mighty Deftones at Wembley Arena.
Statues, the band’s debut full-length, is a wonderfully cohesive piece of work, a foundation of fiery alt-rock dismantled and rebuilt to suit their instinctively progressive approach, contemporary metallic power and luminous post-rock all harnessed with the subtlety and skill of a band twice their age. The intermittently blazing ‘Hang ’em High’, for example, provides a gripping showcase for the band’s sound-mincing spirit, all playful melodies and glacial crescendos, whereas opener ‘Glass Built Castles’ and a sensational ‘Say You Will’ are already immortal, set-staple classics, the later exhibiting Will Gardner’s phenomenal voice as each lacerating high note pins us against the wall. It is easy to see why the aforementioned success swiftly followed; accessible enough for the casual fan, yet with all the intelligence and ideas to prick the ears of genuine enthusiasts, it is clear that Black Peaks had all the raw talent and ideas to be all things to all people, and crucially, sound like no one else whilst doing so.
Although some may argue that the best was yet to come (2018’s All That Divides received similar and deserved acclaim), Black Peaks have done much to prove that artistic, classy and fearless modern music is capable of making a huge impact beyond the underground and Statues, in its own right, scaled new heights for contemporary rock music.
Words: Tony Bliss