Black Tide
"Light from Above"

(Interscope Records 2008)Black Tide - Light from Above

Remember what it was like to be fifteen years old, way back in the mists of time? Passing out in Social Studies class, getting your first buzz off of two Natty Ices, getting signed to a major label while simultaneously becoming an internationally-known band. Wait, what? Unfortunately for me, that last part describes not my teen years, but those of Black Tide singer/lead guitarist/main dude Gabriel Garcia. And while I hate to knock these guys because their parents commingled DNA before mine, it really shows on their debut album "Light from Above."

Black Tide must have put all of their influences into a blender with really dull blades; instead of whipping up a fine musical puree, they made a chunky gruel peppered with great big globs of '80s and '90s metal acts. Listening to "Light from Above" is like taking a safari through Emulation Country. Hey, there's Judas Priest ("Live Fast Die Young")! And look, Mötley Crüe ("Let Me")! Oooh, it's Alice in Chains ("Give Me a Chance") and Metallica (an unimpressive version of "Hit the Lights"). It seems that instead of finding their own musical voice, these cats were content to put out an album choked with hero worship.

"Light from Above" isn't a complete catastrophe; for the most part, the songs are pretty catchy and the musicianship is very good. So yeah, there's musical virtuosity aplenty, but guitar histrionics does not a good album make. Standouts like "Shockwave" and the title track can't overcome a general lack of creative songwriting. Given a bit more experience and more room to stretch their creative legs, Black Tide seems more than capable of putting out awesome music. As far as first impressions go, though, "Light from Above" is an underwhelming display of radio friendly pop-metal.

C+

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