ALBUM REVIEW: Black Peaks – All That Divides
When Deftones dropped Around the Fur the expectation was the next record would embrace the bounce and dance floors of rock clubs everywhere. On White Pony they defied all expectations by taking their sound in wild, beautifully textured and unexpected directions. This isn’t to say that All That Divides is Black Peaks’ White Pony, but it suggests that the band aren’t far off their own seminal record.
This album affirms that Black Peaks are much more interested in their own creative satisfaction than they are commercial success. The songs here are a lot less verse and chorus focused and feel more like compositions. Not just because of their long run times, but because the arrangements twist and turn in a variety of mesmerising ways. Most bands would be envious of the sophistication of songwriting on display in Across The Great Divide and Slow Seas, two of the strongest tracks to emerge from any band in alternative music this year.
There are a few tracks, unsurprisingly the three singles that precede the album, that are echoes of the style of the band’s first record, but it seems clear that this album makes a change for Black Peaks towards something else. Each of the four member’s turns in stunning, vibrant and inventive performances work perfectly together, creating a record is bursting with organic energy as well as instrumental prowess, helping the band maintain their progressive leanings without becoming self-indulgent musos.
One of the key differences between this album and Statues is that it’s a lot less angular and obtuse than its predecessor. These songs might be longer and denser, but the journeys they take you on simply richer as opposed to more challenging. It’s a change that might upset some fans who loved the sense of chaos the band so gleefully displayed on that album. This time around it’s like they’re taking your hand to guide you through the treacherous and fascinating sonic landscapes, as opposed to pushing you over the cliff edge in the eye of the storm.
The other side of that coin, is that this album will require more work. Work that fans of their first album are surely likely to put in. Casual listeners who were pulled in by a Glass Built Castles at a festival? Perhaps not. Five minute plus tracks aren’t always at home with the playlist generation. Especially when those tracks only really deliver their real gifts on repeated listens, the pure Mastodon worship of Eternal Light being a key example.
All That Divides isn’t immediate and it does require work, but the rewards are substantial for fans of creative and invigorating alternative music. With the seemingly innate ability to blend so many styles together in such a unique and seamless way, without sacrificing accessibility, it’s starting to feel like their White Pony or Toxicity could be just around the corner.
Standout track: Slow Seas
For Fans Of: Mastodon, Deftones, System of a Down, Tool
Written by: Calum McMillan