Earlier this year, I was surprised and delighted by Black Peaks’ impressive set at the Boileroom in Guildford, attending on good word of mouth alone. The band left such an impression that as soon as I saw they would be returning later in the year, I marked it in my calendar straight away. But could they live up to their last set, or would the pressures of touring take their toll on such a fresh, young band?
Arriving a little later than usual, we entered to the incredibly impressive desert-vibes of Rootwork, working the room in a way first support at The Boileroom rarely can. Captivating every ear in the venue, it was difficult to get past the doors! The band’s sound resonated throughout the room, a blend of Queens Of The Stone Age stoner rock and highly impressive technical ability mixing with a strong charisma emanating from the stage. My only regret is not catching the rest of their set, having unfortunately only managed to hear two of their offerings. However, to leave such an impression in such a short time speaks volumes. Check out Rootwork, because I won’t be missing their next show.
Up next, the instrumental four piece Polar Valley, treating listeners to their own brand of low-fi, groove-laden riff rock. Thankfully, the band managed to escape the usual trap most instrumental outfits fall into by having a clear agenda. Polar Valley are here to melt your face for the next thirty minutes, pure and simple. The band’s tight technical ability works to create such a thick wall of sound that whilst they may have the disadvantage of a lack of vocals, it rarely seems to matter, with their three to four minute tracks carrying so much sheer ingenuity and memorable material that you simply forget you’re not singing along anymore. Another band to watch, Polar Valley have some incredible talent, and those riffs aren’t something you’ll forget lightly.
What can I say about Yearbook, then? Up until now, the evening had been clicking on at a fair pace, with great bands doing their thing, and in come Yearbook to put both previous bands to shame with one fell swoop. Starting with a blindingly heavy track, the band launch into a torpedo of a set that doesn’t let up for a second, technical difficulties not marring the performance one bit. I’d never heard Yearbook before, but every single track was fantastic. If anything, I was hoping they would just continue throughout the night, forgetting Black Peaks were even here. Raw intensity in such a young band is seldom seen, but Yearbook have it in droves. The band’s dynamics are a thing of beauty, with their snap-changes to soft, beautiful melody from blistering hardcore. Yearbook were stupidly good, that’s all I can say.
However, whilst my jaw hit the floor for Yearbook, I don’t think I have one left after the powerhouse performance that was Black Peaks. Blasting through a short set of almost all new material (well, new to most people, the band are yet to release an album), once again showcasing just why the band are filling venues in their infancy. Shockingly more heavy live than on their few singles, special mention has to be given to vocalist Will Gardner (and his incredible moustache), who at points hit screams and vocal lines that caused me to laugh in pure disbelief. The band’s melding of technical ability, indie choruses and hardcore elements is something that absolutely has to be seen to be believed. I think I said in my review of their show earlier in the year that the band remind me of Deftones in many ways, and now I see that the band may even be able to take the test of going toe to toe with the boys, it’s THAT good.
It’s incredibly hard to review this show, in all honesty. Black Peaks was one of those moments where you just get so incredibly lost in the moment, so engrossed in the onstage action you’re experiencing, that any form of analysis flies out of the window. What I will say however, is that I abolished review scores a few weeks ago. I felt that it hindered a band’s score if I ever had to convey just how great another band was, and at times it would lead to a support act having a lower score for emphasis. I left the venue utterly lost for words. Tonight, though, I am comfortable saying that for the first time, Black Peaks put on a truly perfect performance, one worthy of a near-impossible 10/10.
Black Peaks debut album, Statues is available on the 26th of February 2016.
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