Look, I’m going to be straight up with you: if someone said to me, “Simon, you know what you need in your life? A band that sounds like the post-hardcore lovechild of Agent Fresco and Mastodon, with a little bit of indie rock influence a la O’Brother thrown in,” I probably would have agreed that that would be nice but said that such a band would not only be far too widespread in their sound to maintain any sort of cohesion but also would suffer from serious impostor syndrome and just make me want to listen to one of those three bands. But, lo and behold, while listening through my Weekly Discover mix that Spotify curates, I stumbled upon Black Peaks, and man, would I need to admit my wrong to this hypothetical past individual, because it turns out that a band that sounds like the post-hardcore lovechild of Agent Fresco and Mastodon is exactly what I needed in my life.
“Glass Built Castles,” one of the tracks from their debut record – Statues, which dropped last year – goes through quite a lot even in the first minute. Starting with abrasive, sludgy rock and moving into a more ambient, pensive post-hardcore territory before exploding into a fantastic chorus that smacks of the Nordic prog-pop influence of the aforementioned Agent Fresco, these guys are masters at keeping momentum flowing from one section into the next, and this is true all over the track, as well as all over the album.. Even as the song careens into a refrain that smacks of the mathy, Southern-rock-inspired metalcore of Every Time I Die, Black Peaks manages to avoid the pitfall of songs feeling slapdash and disparate: each element feels careful, considered, and properly placed for maximum effect, and the sheer sense of bombast and energy the band harnesses at every turn is undeniably intoxicating.
Statues is notable as well for how damn self-contained the whole affair is: for a band that takes so much outside influence – influence they clearly wear on their sleeve with pride – it’s hard to ever feel as though you’re just getting the cobbled together version of a few classic bands. Bringing all of these sounds together draws out something within each that couldn’t be found except in tandem like this. It’s a truly impressive feat, managing to draw so obviously from classic bands, and yet never really aping them, just applying the same painting technique to a different canvas entirely.
So, yeah, imaginary hypothetical past person, you were right. I did need a band that sounds like the post-hardcore lovechild of Agent Fresco and Mastodon. I’d apologize for not listening earlier, but I’m too busy getting extremely hyped over Black Peaks.