Black Tide - Light From Above (Interscope) 2008
Black Tide were a buzz band in '08. These teenagers scored a record contract and released an album that created a buzz in metal circles with both old school and modern metal fans alike. Whether fans liked them or not didn't really matter. What they succeeded in doing was getting people to talk about them all over the internet and creating a buzz that helped get their name out there. Much of this had to do with their young age, all being under 17 years old. It is certainly cool to see young, budding metal bands taking their creative cues and giving props to the traditional metal icons, as opposed to all the nu-school pop stuff polluting the airwaves. There seems to be a ton of bands coming out like this, many of which are purposely playing a very retro style of metal. However, Black Tide are not playing retro thrash or power metal, but those influences are clearly present on "Light from Above". There was a description tagged on this album, that I thought was particularly inaccurate that stated "Megadeth riffs, Metallica brutality, and Guns 'n Roses melody". I will give them that they have a few hooky choruses, some interesting groove and thrash based riffs and some choice guitar solos. However, while Black Tide most certainly have their old school influences, I was hearing a sound not that far off from Avenged Sevenfold. Even some of the vocals reminded me of A.S.
The formula of mixing the influences actually works well enough for this band. There are some standout cuts. "Shockwave" and "Warriors of Time" are two that came to mind when writing this review. "Warriors" in particular melds the aforementioned styles quite well, offering a solid metal rocker with a simple, yet catchy, radio-ready chorus. What really holds this one back, are the vocals which sound rather wimpy and lacking gusto, in my opinion. In particular, the Metallica cover comes off very poorly due to a weak vocal performance. As well, the whole thing seems a bit overproduced and polished. This might have been a better release with a more raw sound, as opposed to the digital recording we were given. However, what Black Tide does offer is promise. If they can continue to build on this sound, I am sure they will improve with each new release. As for the vocals, I think with maturity, the vocals will gain more depth. "Light from Above" is a decent debut. If their label and management continues to help them build as artist, they could be a force to be reckoned with.