Mountain – Peaks + Valleys (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Many moons ago, in what feels like another life, I used to listen to a lot of heavier music but somewhere along the way, as the classic sounds of my youth gave way to a fairly impenetrable screamo replacement and bands seemingly favouring musical muscle over melody, technicality over groove and sheer weight over dexterity, I must confess that I lost my way with the genre. And whilst there are elements of those brutal sound in Peaks + Valleys‘ music, they temper them with more melodic runs and by dynamic variance and the end result is music built on wonderful contrasts. It becomes a play off between opposing forces where walls of aggression that slip into soaring, sky-scrapping vocal escapes, of classic repetitive and hypnotic razor wire riffs that give way to more drifting and sound washed concerns. At about one minute thirty I start thinking that maybe I have judged the metal fraternity too harshly and that it might be time to reacquaint myself with its boisterous and brutal charms.

Mountains is the sound of a band that knows its musical history that’s for sure. Guitars blast out classic sounding salvos and in the blink of an eye…or the blink of an ear if that’s possible…head into dream state post-rockery. Post hardcore walls of noise battle with searing and euphoric nu-metal forms and the vocal contrast of overtly aggressive growls and a sweeter, more diction friendly, more accessible delivery works brilliantly.

There is a lot going on up this particular Mountain, a mixture of lithical avalanches and engaging vistas, of sonic valleys and musical peaks …pun intended…of darkness and light, weight and delicacy. Okay not delicacy but you know what I’m saying here. And despite all of its nods to the past, it looks very much to the future. To borrow a phrase from a diametrically opposed genre, “it’s not where you are from, it’s where you are at!” Peaks + Valleys certainly know where they are at, and even how they got here but more importantly they know where they are going, and that is that which keeps the future of music alive.

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