Miami, Florida, isn’t the place one would associate with hard rock and heavy metal. South Beach and the surrounding area has always been a place where people go to lay on the beach, see/be seen at the local dance clubs, and eat plenty of Cuban food. Hard rock imagery does not necessarily fit in this tropical scenario. Black Tide, a band from Miami signed to Interscope Records, goes against the grain (and beans) with their latest release, “Post Mortem”. These Latin-blooded rockers bring all the intensity a hard rock fan could ask for while leaving the pink flamingoes at home.
Post Mortem is not a Latin-infused hard rock album; it is a full hard rock/metal album in the vein of Bullet for My Valentine, Trivium, Avenged Sevenfold, etc. There is blazing double-bass drumming courtesy of Steven Spence, melodic-yet-heavy riffing by guitarists Gabriel Garcia & Austin Diaz, and thundering bass by Zachary Sandler. Garcia also takes lead vocal and lead guitar duties in the band, which is pretty amazing because both his vocals and guitar solos are quite good. The vocals are very melodic yet aggressive, with slight screams during certain sections. His melodies are catchy, energetic, and flow very well. His style is very similar to Bullet for My Valentine’s Matt Tuck; in fact, Tuck sang on the track “Ashes” on the album. His lead playing contain plenty of flash but he always balances the speed with melody and some nice soulful note bending.
Most of the record is high-energy with a pretty fast tempo. Such choice cuts include the aforementioned “Ashes”, “Bury Me”, “Honest Eyes”, “That Fire”, and “Walking Dead Man”. A few poppier tracks are also included, such as “Let It Out” and “Fight Til The Bitter End” (note: poppier in the sense that there is less double bass, metal riffs, and the vocals are not very aggressive). As a whole, the album’s songwriting is very tight, concise, and restrained (many metal albums can go overboard on length, solos, etc). The record’s flow is very good as well, making it a true album and not just a collection of songs.
As enjoyable as the songs are, there seems to be a sonic disconnect from the band wanting to be either really heavy or really mainstream. Post Mortem combines both, which makes it a little harder to pinpoint the band’s identity. Yet this diversity is part of the album’s strength. As different as the lighter tracks are, the tracks still sound like Black Tide. If the band further develops the dichotomy of catchy, pop-oriented vocals with a metal backdrop, then they could definitely have longevity in the future. It is the magic formula which hard rock fans are known to like: melodic vocals with little screaming on top of some heavy music. Cheers to the Tide for bringing their own flavor for this recipe of tropical metal goodness.