Originally published in Guitar World, January 2011
The thrash quartet takes a new spin with its sophomore disc.
When Interscope Records signed Miami commercial thrash band Black Tide in 2007, the label thought it had landed the heavy metal Jonas Brothers. The musicians were barely out of their teens and they played fast, driving songs in the vein of early Metallica. With hopes sky-high, Interscope put Black Tide in the studio with producer Johnny K (Disturbed, Sevendust), where the quartet recorded 2008’s Light from Above, and hooked them up with a healthy promotional budget.
At first, all systems were go. The album debuted at Number 73 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart, and Black Tide toured with everyone from All-American Rejects to Bleeding Through. But Light from Above stalled with total sales of under 78,000 copies, disappointing all but frontman Gabriel Garcia. “I knew that wasn’t our record,” he insists. “We didn’t have the songs to blow up like people were expecting. I feel like we have those songs now.”
The band’s upcoming self-titled album, due in February, combines the volcanic riffage of their debut with a new emphasis on catchy hooks, strong choruses and multifaceted guitar playing. “The music isn’t so stuck in that Eighties thrash world,” says new guitarist Austin Diaz, who replaced original member Alex Nuñez in 2008. “It’s more diverse and thought-out.”
If Black Tide takes the band to new heights, it will be an example of hard work paying off. The group wrote three batches of songs for the record in three locations before Interscope put them in New York’s Spin Studio last summer with producers Josh Wilbur (Lamb of God) and GGGarth (Atreyu, Rise Against).
“We wrote 44 songs for this thing, and each time we went back to write more, I was like, ‘Yo, c’mon, man. We just wanna go in and record this already,’ ” Garcia says. “But at the end of the day I’m really stoked they pushed us because I feel like they helped us improve a lot and we’ve finally made the right record.”