It would have been easy for Black Peaks to be a flash in the pan. The lead single from Statues, the colossal ‘Glass Built Castles’, received support from Zane Lowe, the influential ex-Radio 1 DJ who is now a crucial part of Apple’s Beats1 streaming radio service. He remains enough of a tastemaker that a band is going to get somewhere with his backing, but a surprise breakout single — and it was a surprise, since post-hardcore bands aren’t the sort to get daytime radio play — does not a great band make. It was enough of a step up from their Closer to the Sun EP for a bunch more people to take notice, but many a band have failed to live up to expectations and faded into obscurity as a result.

If you’ve been keeping an eye on the Brighton four-piece, chances are you’ll know that Statues was due for release in late February before being pushed back 6 weeks. While a delay that significant usually means there are issues somewhere, maybe with the label or between the band, Black Peaks made the decision to send the mastered album back for some ‘final tweaks’. What that means is that Statues sounds absolutely massive. It’s one of the best-sounding rock albums in recent memory, and will definitely aid Mark Roberts in landing some more production gigs.

The band have some lofty ambitions, but such things can be scuppered by poor execution; for instance, a certain trio from Devon put out a trainwreck concept album last year that shares its title with a song on Statues, but even when Black Peaks indulge in similar flights of fancy, they don’t get ahead of themselves. They haven’t gone full prog yet, but while their debut lacks a core concept, there is a four-part story woven throughout the album that starts with a bank heist, escalates into the mother of all riots and ends with half of the world’s population being wiped out in a nuclear apocalypse; a nightmarish morality tale told through songs that toy with rock conventions and don’t hold back: namely; ‘Glass Built Castles’; ‘Crooks’; the masterful ‘Hang ‘Em High’ (which acts as a microcosm of the album over a constantly inventive 7 minutes) & the suitably chaotic quasi-title track ‘Statues of Shame’.

The band’s appeal lies in their ability to combine metallic riffs and math-rock complexity with an accessibility that masks the album’s true intentions. ‘Say You Will’ and ‘White Eyes’ are among the most immediate songs on the record, but they don’t stay still for long; by the time they reach their conclusions, you’ll be racking your brain trying to remember where they started, such are the detours they take. The record can be slightly overwhelming on initial listens, but it coerces as much as it challenges. If you manage to make it through without getting stuck on any of the 9 previous songs (or instrumental palette cleanser ‘For Those who Sleep for a Thousand Years Shall Soon Wake’, if that’s your thing), closer ‘To Take the First Turn’ is a hell of a payoff, featuring guest vocals from Jamie Lenman (ex-Reuben, currently an illustrator, performs live once in a while) and a sound that is Black Peaks at their most visceral and devastating. It’s a suitably powerful finale to a record that showcases the UK rock scene at its most vital. Even if you think you won’t enjoy Statues due to its focus on melodic heaviness, good luck trying to resist it. A single song could provide you with a gateway to an unquestionably brilliant album.