Metal Review: Light From Above by Black Tide

Bear with me as I say this; Black Tide has the potential to release one of, if not the, best metal albums ever.  Seriously.  But this album isn’t it.

Not that this album doesn’t rock, it does, it rocks hard.  If you find yourself frustrated and slightly disgusted by the droves of emo-laden scream and croon antics of many of today’s recent mainstream metal you should do yourself a favor and pick this baby up.  Hell, even if you like those other guys you should pick this album up.  If you care anything at all about the future of metal you should Pick. This. Album. Up.

As you listen to it you may scoff at some of the derivative elements but keep listening and I dare you not to smile at the sheer amount of fun these guys seem to have as they revel in the tropes and themes we metal fans have come to know and love.  Then drop your jaw as you remember that lead singer/guitarist Gabriel Garcia is 15 years old!  Their bassist? 18.  Their drummer? 19.  Their guitarist? 17.

WTF!?

If this is their debut I shudder to think what they can do in the future.  And I shiver to think how they might turn out if things go badly (or too well).   There is certainly room for improvement.  Garcia certainly has the talent to craft a classic metal song but I’d like to see these guys stretch a little more creatively.  Regardless, with the somewhat uneven debut of Airbourne I’m glad to see a debut album that actually lives up to the hype.

Regardless of what minor gripes I have this is an absolutely brilliant debut album that any veteran band would be proud to have put out.  A couple more years, a bit of touring under their belts and see something amazing coming from these guys.  Buy this album.  Rock out to “Warriors of Time” (definatley my favorite song off this album), headbang to “Black Abyss,”  wallow in “The Light from Above,” and hope that these guys stay together for the long run so we can see and enjoy the creative explosion and momemtous impact they seem destined for.

Links:

Official Band Site

2007 Blabbermouth.net interview

Less Optimistic Blender Review

More Black Tide

Didn’t realize how shitty the audio was on that live performance, check out this video instead:

The bio on their website doesn’t seem to be working but I should point out that the word is that these guys are all under 20.  That is a ridiculous amount of talent for people that young.  If you haven’t already you should be out buying Light From Above right now.

Black Tide rising…

Been meaning to write about this for a while but kept putting it off; now I’m a bit behind thanks to the new Rock Band DLC.  I stumbled across Black Tide during a search for new music via the Playist over at the Kerrang! website; unfortunatley some genius broke the link.  A short hop over to iTunes and I found the singles “Shockwave” and “Warriors of Time”…and was summarily $1.98 the poorer.  In my opinion “Warriors of Time” far eclipses “Shockwave” in sheer badassery but both songs rock.  Needless to say their album is scheduled for 3/18 and I’ll definitly be snagging a copy.  In the meantime enjoy the studio cut and the live version (from Ozzfest this past August):

Agalloch- Ashes Against the Grain Review

Portland rockers Agallochhave reached deep into the cold dark pits of their mortal souls and poured the black extract found therin into their latest album “Ashes Against the Grain.”  Indeed there are few bands in the black metal/death metal genre(s) that manage to infuse their music with an emotionally rich sound and I am excited to report that Agalloch is one of that elite number.  Indeed,  Agalloch doesn’t just make music they paint landscapes with sound.  Like their previous effort, “The Mantle,” “Ashes Against the Grain” is laden with mysterious overtones perfectly suited to a cold, gray winter morning.  However, “The Mantle,” for all its triumph seemed to wallow in its own darkness.  “Ashes Against the Grain,” on the other hand, is more diverse in both its musical and emotional content ranging almost equally between hope, beauty, anger and despair.

With songs that hover, on average, around the 8 or 9 minute mark Agalloch will never achieve a mainstream success. However, with solid songwriting and a sound that is wholly their own should endear themselves not only to longtime fans but to black metal enthusiasts the world around.  Highly recommended.

Postscript:  Kudos to the design of Agalloch’s web page (linked to above).  Simple and elegent use of flash, comprised of obscure imagery true to the band’s style it is one of the better band websites I’ve seen in a while.

Top 5: Part 2 (Music)

My music picks have a number of older titles in them, but everything I list here I bought this year.

5. Down -Sentenced (1997)
Down is a fantastic black metal album. Shades of this album can be heard in almost every metal, metalcore, and emo band album released recently and Sentenced still does it better. A metal classic.
4. A Line of Deathless Kings -My Dying Bride
Despite having a name that should belong to whiny emo band, My Dying Bride, manages to kick some ass. Gloom or Doom metal featuring melodic vocals and a driving rhythm the band manages to be equal parts hard and beautiful at the same time. Certainly an interesting departure from much of metal saturating the market today.
3. Angel Down -Sebastian Bach
A surprisingly hard solo album from former Sonic Youth frontman Sebastian Bach. It’s a shame that Bach’s vocal talents aren’t as well known as they should be. This album features three tracks with Axl Rose and I’m hard pressed to make the call on who tops who in the seeming battle for vocal oneupmanship. Solid rock album a far cry from most of what hits the market today equal parts retro and new.
2. The Dethalbum -Dethklok
Despite being a spoof on all things metal The Dethalbum sill manages to rock hard. Lacking the rather oppressive seriousness of most death metal bands the fellows over at Dethklok manage to turn out some damned entertaining tunes, hilarious in their over the top nature. How can one not smile at songs with such ridiculous names as “Hatredcopter”, “Bloodrocuted”, “Face Fisted”, and “Dethharmonic”. Hilarious metal fun.
1. Bang Camaro -Bang Camaro
80s metal “tribute” sung by a 15+ man chorus, with wicked guitar licks and simple easy-to-sing-a-long-with lyrics. No other album had me smiling as much as this one (The Dethalbum came pretty close) nor have I blasted any other CD quite so loud in a long time. If you’re a fan of 80s metal, Guitar Hero, or just fun music this is the album for you.

Ocean County Roads….

Fun day over in Seaside, despite that shit ass weather.  Hangin’ with the ‘po crew.  Lotsa laughs, lotsa eats.  I did get lost on the way there though, thanks to Google Maps (and my poor abilities at multitasking map reading and driving) which split 549 into two roads…oops.  Best part is that while my friend’s house has a Seaside Heights zip code it’s actually in Dover and a much easier drive down the GSP than the crazy county roads the actual address sent me down.  First time the Google Maps has let me down…for shame.  Unfortunately I didn’t realize this error on *sigh* my part, until after I had shelled out some dough for a frickin’ map.  I feel I should also shovel some blame on Verizon Broadband its intermittent connection loss over the last 72 hours.

Also I found out that Bang Camaro’s debut CD should be out on iTunes now.  Sweet news for me as this rock/metal indie supergroup was the author by far my favorite bonus song on Guitar Hero 2, “Push Push (Lady Lightning).”  For those that don’t know that band is mostly made up of guys from Boston/NE indie groups and features a “chorus” of about 15 “lead vox,” according to their myspace page.  I wish they were playing some shows down here, in Philly or NYC, but alas the closest is in Bethlehem in August.  They were of course playing in Brooklyn this Friday but I was at home with a fever and unconscious by 11.