Black Peaks Play A Tiny Hometown Pub
…and Manchester Rocks just happened to be there
Words: Phil Weller | Photos: Anthony Firmin
Since the release of their 2016 debut album, Statues, Black Peaks have become one of the UK’s most promising and formidable young bands. With a record packed to the rafters with songs which seamlessly combined aggression and melody, memorability and technicality all into one superbly inventive package their reputation rose rapidly. There was not one poor track on the album which, for any band is a huge achievement, let alone a debut release. The success of Statues has seen them support Mastodon, Deftones, A Perfect Circle and Marmozets to name but a few along with acclaimed headline tours across the UK and Europe. It’s been a whirlwind three years.
On Friday they released their second album in All That Divides. Here, their sound has developed and evolved into something even more individualistic and extraordinary, each member now an expert of their own craft and, fusing their forces together their music really has become something to behold. Striking the chords of your soul through painfully evocative melodies, furious, rampant riffs that nestle between the eccentric time signature shifting of prog and the brutality of modern metal there sound is all-encompassing and all-engrossing. While their eye for clever shifts in tempo, volume and moods on Statues was smart, their dynamics and the new record’s whole ebb and flow is a cut above.
On Saturday they performed an intimate, sweaty and adrenaline propelled 35 minute set at Birghton’s tiny Idle Hands bar. It was a tight knit celebration for the hometown fans who had pre-ordered what is a phenomenal record and Manchester Rocks just happened to crash the party. And what a night it was.
With no stage, just a pile of amps and their new, enormous and colourful backdrop draped around the corner of the room, this raw setting proved potent. Accelerating straight into the hardcore flavoured, Mastodon channelling thump and thunder of Can’t Sleep, the first single from the new record where dissonance and harmonic resonance entangle it feels like we’re watching a beast un-caged. Vocalist Will Gardner is a commanding presence, who roars with passion and vigour and sings with a velvety sweetness, juxtaposing himself in a heartbeat. He gets in the audience’s faces, you can feel his breath and feel too his undiluted emotions. His multi-faceted range is stunning and on Electric Fires, which follows, it seems every breathe he takes, every syllable he utters is hook-lavished and imperative.
Guitarist Joe Gosney meanwhile, with his Orange Amps, dark sunburst Fender guitar and flashing pedalboard has crafted a razor sharp tone that guides his licks, with precision, through gritty distortion. It makes tracks like the growling opening riff of Eternal Light and the cannoning Glass Built Castles sound immense, especially in such a cosy environment.
By the end of closing number The Midnight Sun, another visceral cut from All That Divides, Gardner has climbed a table at other side of the venue from the stage, looking down at the small but lucky cluster of fans below him like a priest delivering a sermon. As the last chord dies away their show at Academy 3 in Manchester Wednesday 17th October cannot come quick enough. In that setting, prepare yourself for some of their more progressive and epic tracks. Tonight was all about pace and power and they delivered just that with aplomb.
Glass Built Castles
The Midnight Sun
Tickets for their upcoming Manchester show can be purchased here: