Black Tide – Light From Above (2008, Interscope)
Warriors Of Time
Give Me A Chance
Show Me The Way
Live Fast Die Young
Hit The Lights
Light From Above
Gabriel Garcia – Lead Vocals, Lead/Rhythm Guitar
Alex Nunez – Lead/Rhythm Guitar
Zakk Sandler – Bass
Steven Spence – Drums
Johnny K (Machine Head, Disturbed)
Total Time = 46:24
I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical when I got the press release for this hot new young Metal band named Black Tide. First thing that struck me was the age of the band, everyone is a teenager (under 20)! Right away I figured that this was going to be another Trixter situation where the hype is based on the age of the band rather the music. The second thing that put up warning signs was the all out media blitz that the band’s label (Interscope) put out. The band’s picture is everywhere online and in magazines and the album has been streaming a good month before it’s release date. Either Black Tide is the next huge Metal band or they are the new marketing tool in a sagging industry.
Black Tide have come out of the gates storming with a debut that draws completely from the ’80s Metal heyday and incorporates Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Thrash, and Power Metal all into one huge sound. Think Metallica, Ozzy, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, GnR, and Motley Crue all rolled into one. This album really sounds like it came out in ’86 but it stands up against current Power Metal heavyweights like Hammerfall and Iced Earth.
Starting with ‘Shockwave’, the band puts in a fiery guitar riff underneath some surprisingly solid ’80s style vocals from 15 year old Gabriel Garcia. And people thought that Trivium took over the twin guitar attack, Garcia and Nunez immeadiately show that despite their young age, they can shred and solo with the best of them. The pounding continues with ‘Shout’, a song that sounds like a Metallica/Guns ‘N Roses hybrid with some really clean soloing. ‘Warriors Of Time’ starts with a nice twin acoustic beginning that has a touch of Spanish flavor, something Angra might do, and immeadiately kicks into a Hammerfall styled power anthem. Seriously, where did these kids learn to make Metal like this?
Things slow down a little on ‘Give Me A Chance’ but those lead runs make the song seem faster. I’ve noticed that Zakk’s bass is really pumping along with the rhythm track but there is some variation that keeps it from getting lost. ‘Let Me’ starts with another good basic riff but I’m not digging the childish (no pun intended) lusty lyrics. Then again, what do teenage guys think about anyway? Women! I like the quick breakdown 2:35 in, you can really get a good listen to the bass and drums. ‘Show Me The Way’ and ‘Enterprise’ continue the barrage of pure Heavy Metal while ‘Live Fast Die Young’ reminds of another young band in Airbourne.
I hate covers! Especially when a band has good fresh material. A lot of press has been given to Black Tide’s cover of the of the Metallica classic, ‘Hit The Lights’. It’s a solid rendition with dead on solos but is it necessary? The album stands tall so far and doesn’t need it. I’d prefer another original song, a small complaint. The band channels more ’80s Metal flavors with ‘Black Abyss’ and ‘Light From Above’. I like the sequencing of both titles together because if you are in a black abyss then the only light is from above! Seriously, the twin lead attack of ‘Black Abyss’ sounds like Priest with a really cool breakdown at the 2:30 mark and the title track has a nice solo intro moving into a Maiden vibe.
What a surprise! I never would have thought that this record was going to be that good! The mix of all the old school Metal styles and influences added to the band’s energy makes a great formula for success. The musicianship is awesome for a band of teenagers: solid backbone with the bass and drums, soaring guitars, and pretty good Metal vocals. The songwriting will mature with the age and experience, some may find the lyrics not as complex but they are good. Black Tide has really come out storming and joins the ranks of Airbourne, Icarus Witch, Endeverafter, and Armory as bands with a successful future ahead. A contender for the Top Albums of 2008 already!