Black Peaks at the Record Junkee, Sheffield: Live Review
Words: Phil Weller | Photos: Anthony Firmin
Having just completed a run of dates in some of the UK's larger venues with electro-metal enthusiasts Enter Shikari, Black Peaks returned to the kind of close proximity venue in which they thrive.
Give them a bigger stage and they sieze the moment with aplomb, but here is where Black Peaks which genuinely loves the thrill of a sweat box show, playing so close to their fans they can smell each other's breath. This short run of headline shows in places untouched on their headline dates with Bossk towards the tail end of 2018, is just as exciting for the band, if not more so, than the glitz and glamour of a big name support slot. And you can tell.
With Phoxjaw pulling out last minute due to their van breaking down, The King Is Dead were called up to play support for the second night running. Wether they impressed the headliners in Huddersfield two nights prior, or them stepping in as main support tonight was a purely logistical convenience is unclear and neither, in truth, is the band's musical vision. While there was plenty of smatterings of engaging grooves and enough energy from the band to power a small village, especially from loud shirt adorning vocalist, their fluctuations between fuzzy doom rock and raging hardcore punk rarely seemed to make sense. It wasn't that one style suited them better than the other, rather that their transitions between them seemed forced, slapped together through wanting to appease all songwriter's tastes as opposed to serving the songs with methodically different flavours. The taste left in our mouths was one of wanting.
Black Peaks, on the contrary, once more left a tightly packed, extremely receptive audience in appreciative tatters come the last, bulldozing bars of their set. Slow Seas was only slow in name as cascading guitar work and purring and passionate vocals oozed forth, crashing into a wave like crescendo in its infectious, tidal force chorus. Electric Fires fizzed with flame and fury whilst Saviour reminded us that just how brilliant their debut album was, such is the distracting quality of its 2018 follow up. The same was true of Glass Built Castles, which is still as classy and chaotic as it was the first time it graced our ears, To Take The First Turn is brooding, uplifting and anthemic all in the same breath.
The band is living on the road right now, glued to stages nationwide with Will Gardener bellowing his vocals in people's faces each and every night and it shows. They played, as ever, with an effortless grace, gritty yet polished, feral yet professional. Black Peaks never seem to have an off day, and tonight was yet another case in point.