Genre – Metal
Label – Pavement Entertainment
Release Date – 16th October 2015
3. Angel In The Dark
4. Predator (Animal)
6. Chasing Shadows
7. Before We Form
8. Sex Is Angry
9. Welcome To Misery
11. Promised Land
Gabriel Garcia – Lead Vocals / Bass Guitar
Austin Diaz – Guitar / Vocals
Cody Paige – Drums
Black Tide are back after an extended break (and several personnel changes along the way) with their third full length album, “Chasing Shadows”, which is already dividing opinion amongst their die-hard fans. Few bands can boast the attention and praise that Black Tide received at such an early age in their career, resulting in them being rewarded with support slots for major players such as Avenged Sevenfold and Bullet For My Valentine. Their debut album, “Light From Above”, was extremely well received by media and fans alike, as was the follow-up, “Post Mortem”.
“Chasing Shadows” shows another step in the Black Tide evolution, but one that moves away more noticeably from their previous efforts in a new direction. The immediacy and passion of their first two releases is still evident in places, but the polish and production has curbed the ferocious bite that they had previously achieved with such success. You would expect any band releasing their début whilst still in their teenage years to demonstrate such a development and Black Tide are no exception with each album documenting their change in maturity and approach.
The album kicks off with an intro track of swirling guitar melody, building up ominously before bizarrely cutting off without reaching the expected climax. ‘No Guidelines’ kicks off with a squalling guitar riff, pounding drum beat and a scream that promises great things: the pace and drive of this track, combined with an impressive solo, will make it a great live favourite. Recent single, ‘Angel In The Dark’ continues in a similar vein, keeping up a frenetic tempo as Gabriel Garcia’s vocals soar over the urgent guitar riffs. After a few minutes of ‘Predator’, it starts to become apparent that the anger and emotion that you would expect to come out in such songs is lacking: it feels as if the potential power that the band are more than capable of has been held back by a more radio-friendly sensibility. ‘Burn’ cements this by dropping the pace right down, smouldering rather than blazing into a slower and more introspective track when you are still waiting for that killer punch where you know the album has taken off into the area that it regularly hints at.
The album’s title track grabs your attention through its powerful rhythm and irregular drum beat, taking the song off in directions that keep you interested and hinting at the ferociousness that Black Tide can achieve.
The weaker points on the album unfortunately take place where the band veers off into ballad territory. After starting with a promising guitar riff, ‘Sex Is Angry’ reveals itself to be an earnest song about the discord in relationships but displays none of the anger that you would expect Black Tide to be more than capable of, instead sounding like a Steel Panther song that the humour has been left out of. ‘Heaven’ drifts along with its poignant lyrics of lost love, accompanied by wistful Spanish flamenco guitar melodies and layered backing vocals. The production on these songs gives them an exceptionally professional sheen which is impressive in essence, but you are left with the feeling that the fire and passion you expect of such a band has been tempered and tamed. The songs are not poor, they just feel a little anonymous when balanced against the expectation you have from this band.
‘Promised Land’ brings the album to its conclusion in a more expected manner but you are left feeling as if the largest firework of the display is still fizzling in front of you without having exploded in the riot of colour and excitement that you had anticipated. The rawness that you may have hoped for from a Black Tide release has been replaced by a more mature sound, often introspective and on occasions a little washed out and lacking in vitality.
Black Tide’s third album is full of well-written songs and impressive musicianship, but there is an overwhelming sense of their essence having been diluted. Many of the tracks hint at a potential that they never quite seem to achieve, as if they are being reined in from the full power that they want to unleash. “Chasing Shadows” may not quite be the sound of a band treading water but hopefully the Tide will turn again.
Written by: Si Easton