Black Peak’s second album fades in on feedback and the gradually increasing hum of a distorted guitar. A rolling snare ups the anticipation. Like a driver revving an engine before catapulting themselves off around the circuit. And, right on cue, All That Divides proves itself to be an explosive album. But’s it’s controlled, confident and precise. More F1 than Talladega Nights, to carry that metaphor further than it deserves.
Black Peaks aren’t loud and heavy for the sake of it. Rather, the album’s lighter points are carefully planted to allow the chaos to reign more completely. The opening three tracks bleed into one another, ebbing and flowing between controlled verse sections, melodic choruses and then descending to a scream as the song reaches its climax. The format could become predictable, but moments like The Midnight Sun’s tranquil breakdown ensure it’s anything but. The riff-driven guitar lines throughout are excellent; at times syncopated and working off one another, at others blending with ferociously struck chords.
It’s track four, Aether, before we are allowed a breath. And it’s worth taking a breath for. Structurally and musically the album’s standout track, Aether epitomises Will Gardner’s vocal range; falsetto verses give way to repeated chorus lines as the half-time tempo keeps the mood controlled. After a breathless opening salvo, Aether is a perfect release. Controlled aggression underneath excellent melodies shows the guile of a band becoming more mature in their writing. It’s odd that a band can have as many mosh-pit inducing moments of carnage on an album which has just as many anthemic, begging to be sung along to choruses, but All That Divides bridges the gap expertly.
Across The Great Divide rises and falls, while in Home, it’s Gardner’s melodic delivery and the shift from singing through growls to almighty screams and back again that stands out. The juxtaposition of Gardner’s howls in quiet sections and regular singing in heavier parts when you’d expect the reverse makes it even more effective.
Closer Fate I & II is just a behemoth of a track. Twisting and turning through the gears, melodic and screaming, riffing and crashing, it’s complex but never indulgent. Its production, scope and structure verge on cinematic and it wouldn’t feel out of place at the denouement of an epic futuristic war thriller or video game.
All That Divides is an expertly constructed album, from songwriting through to production, every member of the band plays the perfect game. It’s fine-tuned and polished but retains the raw energy and ambition of a band which has expertly navigated the first corner and is poised, ready to put the foot down.