Black Tide have made some great songs in their relatively short career. Their debut album Light From Above gave birth to songs like Shout, Shockwave and Warriors of Time, all three being great hard rock anthems, especially for a band just starting out. They furthered their song writing ability away from the anthem mindset and toward a more structured sound on their second album Post Mortem with some great songs like Bury Me, Honest Eyes and That Fire, showing a bit of a matured sound. Now, after a couple of online EPs and four years of waiting, Black Tide have finally come out with a full album follow up to Post Mortem, Chasing Shadows.
I first heard of Black Tide when Warriors of Time was featured on NHL 09, but if I had never played the game I still would have found out about them in due time, because they toured like crazy. I’ve seen them live twice, opening for Bullet For My Valentine and as a part of the Rockstar Energy Uproar Festival tour, and their name just seemed to keep popping up until about a year after they released Post Mortem. What I always felt they needed was an album a little more consistent than Post Mortem. Light From Above was pretty solid all the way through, but Post Mortem was really just great because of its great songs, it kind of trailed off towards the end.
Chasing Shadows is an answer to that. It’s obvious to me right from the short instrumental Intro that Black Tide has matured. Opening track Guidelines comes out all guns blazing, showing that Black Tide still rock hard despite the predominantly acoustic intro track. After experimenting with some metalcore and other 2011 metal trends on Post Mortem, Black Tide prove to make Chasing Shadows a traditional heavy metal album, similar to but more developed than Light From Above. Angel in the Dark and Predator (Animal) are great guitar driven high energy tracks just like what fans of the band would expect, but it’s the title track to Chasing Shadows that really impresses me thanks to its changing pace throughout the song.
Black Tide do add other elements to Chasing Shadows with slower rockers like Burn and Sex is Angry which is unique in that it’s music is nice sounding, kind of light hearted with the sound of a piano present behind the distorted guitars and hard hitting drums, but despite all this the lyrics are kind of dirty and masochistic, making for a twist. Welcome To Misery sounds like an upbeat punk song (with a heavy metal spine) from about fifteen years ago, almost unrecognizable for long time fans. I don’t know how people will like it, but this long time fan sure enjoys it.
Then of course there is the ballad Heaven. I always like a hard rock/heavy metal album to have a true ballad, though I don’t get upset when a band decides to leave one out. Heaven isn’t better or worse than Black Tide’s slower songs from the past like Into The Sky or Give Me A Sign. Actually I like it more than the former, but the latter is still probably my favourite song by the band. As for Heaven, it furthers that matured sound Black Tide presents on Chasing Shadows.
The heavy metal doesn’t end though. In fact, the second half of Chasing Shadows may even be better than the first, which includes most of the different songs previously mentioned like Sex is Angry and Welcome to Misery, among others. It also includes harder songs like Before We Form as well as one more hard rocking Black Tide sounding track, Promised Land, which also serves as the closing track. Promised Land doesn’t necessarily stand out above the pack here as much as it ends Chasing Shadows on a heavy note giving everything Black Tide has to make a pleasant hard rock song.
One thing is for sure, Chasing Shadows is more consistent than Post Mortem and is on par with Light From Above in that respect. What it lacks is that true stand out song or songs like both previous albums have. While there are a few great songs on Chasing Shadows that are better than other forgettable songs from Black Tide‘s past, it’s best songs don’t stand out the way other previously mentioned songs have stood out in the bands past. But what’s important is that Chasing Shadows makes its mark as perhaps the band’s most consistently good album.
“Chasing Shadows” – I mostly liken this as the highlight because of its complex changes in pace, but beyond that it’s heavy metal chops are some of the best heard throughout the album and it shows that cultivated sound that Black Tide continue to grow on.
7.5 (Out of 10)
|3||Angel in the Dark||3:54|
|7||Before We Form||4:22|
|8||Sex Is Angry||4:36|
|9||Welcome to Misery||3:27|