Tuesday, 6 September 2011

They Grow Up Too Fast

Do you remember a band a few years ago by the name of Black Tide? Released a decent enough album back in 2007, did a lot of touring then seemed to fall off the radar completely? Well ladies and gentlemen, they are back! Sort of.

2007 saw the release of Black Tide's début album, Light From Above, which was far from flawless it has to be said, but was a very enjoyable effort and showed the band (who were merely in the teens upon its release, vocalist and guitarist Gabriel the youngest member at around 16 years of age) to have a lot of potential. It had moments of fantastic guitar work and some really catchy songs, which often came across sounding like Ratt being covered by Megadeth. So whilst not the finished article, it did guarantee that Black Tide would be on the right path towards bigger things, including places on the likes of The Warped Tour and support slots with Avenged Sevenfold and Bullet For My Valentine, to name a few. But then they seemingly disappeared until finally, 2011 saw the release of the follow up. Unfortunately it isn't as interesting as the début.

The swagger that the band showed on their first album has mostly diminished for a more generic sound. Now Black Tide have pushed into more commercial territory dominated by previous tour mates BFMV and A7X. Not that their début was not completely suited for radio play, but its obvious they have pushed into that direction considerably. In doing so there is nothing new or hugely interesting here.

That's not to say it is terrible though as it is enjoyable enough, and in some cases the band has improved. Gabe for example, was an incredibly shy front man live and his vocals maybe weren't the strongest, but on Post Mortem he has shown vast improvement and even widened his arsenal with the scattered use of harsh vocals.  They also show some greater maturity by some experimentation (Post Mortem includes a ballad, which I shall come on to again later). However it is obvious that they (at their or their record label's will) tried to push into more mainstream territory with some mixed results.

At times the album seems to have several personalities coming through. Opening track 'Ashes' is definite BFMV styled (and that's not just  because of the Matt Tuck cameo), then following track 'Bury Me' is more A7X sounding, and it doesn't just end here. 'Honest Eyes' initially sounds like it could have been taken from Trivium's Ascendency album, then 'Fight 'Til The Bitter End' tones down on the guitar work and has a Nu- Metal feel to it. That all being said all those mentioned songs are very enjoyable and should work wonders in rock and metal clubs. Curiously previously released songs 'That Fire' and 'Walking Dead Man' are some of the weakest songs on here.

Unexpected highlight is the stripped down ballad 'Into The Sky', partly in that it comes out of the blue against the fast pace of the rest of the album (although quite clichéd, it really works) and even has great use of an orchestra towards its end.

Post Mortem does suffer however from a lot of filler ('Take It Easy' and 'Alone' for example are very forgettable). Another problem is it's longevity; far too many songs over reach the four minute mark and creep to five minutes when there is simply no need to, these songs don't grab your attention for that long. Over all here, a change in musical direction, while not being catastrophic, has meant that Black Tide have become a far less interesting proposition, and Post Mortem is simply not as strong as the break taken to make it, or the change in direction has warranted. Black Tide seem to have become a metal band for people who maybe are just getting into metal, or maybe delve in every so often. This in itself is not a huge criticism as those bands are needed, but as a band that once incited a hell of a lot of interest, their second move is a big disappointment. 


Recommended: Ashes, Fight 'Til The Bitter End, Into The Sky


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