There are a plethora of super young bands being scooped up by big labels left and right lately. Remember that when weighing the merits of wunderkind types, you need to judge slowly. From Mozart to Louis Armstrong, Sinatra to Little Stevie Wonder, Tori Amos to Jason Becker, Fiona Apple, Devin Townsend an now Adele; the bristling energy of a talented prodigy can make hearts pound. Recall that except for Adele, they didn’t have to deal with trolls on current social media who have neither talent nor any nurturing it seems. Since forming ten years ago Floridians Black Tide broke out with their explosive début Light From Above (Interscope), and they blew up as fast as their riffing little fingers were moving. In the years passed they have dealt with changing times, changing members, and a back biting scene.
However, the story does not end here and the arc of Black Tide’s career does fade out yet. Founder Gabe Garcia and longtime guitar partner Austin Diaz have matured past the Trivium-esque neo-thrash of their début and the active rock of Post Mortem to make an interesting mix of all those influences and much more. Chasing Shadows (Pavement Music) sees the band come into its own and becoming comfortable with uncomfortable: adulting in this cray decade.
When Chasing Shadows rocks, it blazes hot. After a dramatic classical intro ‘No Guidelines’ just rips. There is a confidence to match the talent now that has seasoned into form. Thrash, heavy metal, harmony guitar solos, great singing: all in the kitchen sink of well written songs. ‘Angel In The Dark’ has a faint hint of a pop-rock chorus, but doesn’t lose the script of a ballsy rocker. ‘Predator (Animal)’ is the best song on the album. Gabe and Austin are super talented shredders and when the band lets their inner Iron Maiden loose, you are sure to smile.
There are other worthy gems on here such as the title track, the stellar ‘Before We Form’ and the epic thrash closer ‘Promised Land’. There are some missteps too, and despite some competently performed balladry the band will always fall nearer to mid-era Avenged Sevenfold and Bullet For My Valentine than Shinedown or Seether. Nothing wrong with that at all by the way.