Black Peaks’ Rise Records debut (and second overall) proves that technical tunes can meet up with heady subject matter and still result in an astoundingly fun record.
The band’s sound feels like the sonic spawn of a lineage that includes Mastodon, The Mars Volta, Deftones, and even Muse, birthing a record that oozes kinetic energy and big, burly riffs. To be sure, All That Divides is not necessarily a record that takes complete control right off the bat; however, there is a powerful punch that rewards careful–and continued–listens.
Vocalist Will Gardner’s pliable, potent voice dexterously divides itself among different approaches: his tenor can wail with the best of them (just spin “Slow Seas”); he can make anyone swoon while crooning (“Across the Great Divide”), and he can also scream his heart out.
However, it’s the empathetic subject matter that helps elevate Gardner’s words to greater heights (perhaps a … peak?) All That Divides traverses the treacherous landscape that is our current sociopolitical world, and the literal and metaphorical walls that split us. Wisely, this never comes across as preachy or holier-than-thou; instead, Gardner wrestles with humanity’s friction points and how they impact those we would rather not think about or see.
Given the powerful empathy displayed throughout the record, it’s a credit to the band that the power of their music speaks just as loud as their message. All That Divides will not divide fans of heady, beefy prog rock. Black Peaks’ sonic stew won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but the quality on display showcases a band with a bright future and one of 2018’s best records in tow.