Black Peaks at Academy 3: Live Review
Words: Phil Weller | Photos: Anthony Firmin
On paper, Gold Key are a mouth watering prospect with their members having formerly spent stints in SikTh, Gallows and Spycatcher, but tonight they do little to stir the senses of the early arrivals. There’s chimey guitars and brash vocals aplenty but, closing track Mess aside, they never seemed to get out of second gear.
Bossk meanwhile are an alluring and immersive watch; they cut shadowy figures through the thick, blue-lit smoke that billowed out across the stage during their performance whilst their dreamy-turned-nightmarish soundscape unravels and unfolds. Slow and predominantly instrumental, they aren’t exactly a party starting band but the first half of their set at least is full of clever pastiches and brooding atmospheres to soak into. With their members having formerly spent stints in SikTh, Gallows and Spycatcher, their musicianship and experience cannot be understated, and yet their performance, while energetic, fails to stir the early arrivals. Brash screaming and chimey guitars aplenty, but it’s only during closing number Mess that they start to tingle our senses. Those spangly guitar tones are merged with grit and a vocal approach not far from Dave Grohl at his most preachy.
From the rollicking, all-guns-blazing Can’t Sleep, which stabs a rush of adrenaline right into this evening’s veins, through to the emotively powerful, anthemically delivered Home, the dominance their new record, All That Divides has over Black Peaks’ set tonight is telling of their belief in these new songs. It is, in short, a delight to hear such a scintillating record brought to life on the stage. Following on from one of the strongest debut records by a British rock band in years, this quartet of musicians, invigorated by new bass player Dave Larkin, have evolved the sound of Statues, experimented with it, enlarged its hooks, greased up its riffs and sprinkled magic dust all over the resulting tracks. Even with a flu that has him floored pre-show, vocalist Will Gardner is an inspiring and dynamic frontman; a joy to watch and to listen to, on new cuts The Midnight Sun and Mastodon-channelling Eternal Light - a monstrous banger of a song - you see every side of what he is capable of. There’s gorgeous classy cleans, booming, beastly roars and everything in-between, all delivered with a charming charisma and a devilish menace, between which he can switch in an instant.
The fan favourites from Statues reappear with smiles on their faces too; Say You Will is haunted yet beautiful, Glass Built Castles soaring, searing and savage. These all tracks from a record that saw them support Mastodon, Deftones, A Perfect Circle and much more, a record which accelerated their ascent following 2014’s promising Shine EP. Now, armed with an album that takes what they did with that record to a surprise-packed next level, there’s no guessing what this band could achieve in the next few years.
The Midnight Sun
Say You Will
Glass Built Castles
Fate I & II