Ever since he was eight years old, Gabriel Garcia knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life - write songs, sing lead and play shredding guitar for a hard-rocking band. "My cousin used to listen to Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Pantera and all that stuff," Gabriel remembers. "He played it for me, and he taught me how to play guitar." Gabriel learned fast; six years later, at an age when most budding guitarists are still getting their chops together and dreaming of future stardom, his band Black Tide has already opened for Ozzy Osbourne and Lamb of God on the mainstage of OZZfest 2007, and are preparing to unleash Light From Above, their debut record for Interscope.
Don't let Black Tide's youthfulness fool you; Gabriel may be only fourteen, and his three bandmates all under twenty, but this Miami-based band is unquestionably the real deal. Gabriel, guitarist Alex Nunez, bassist Zakk Sandler and drummer Steven Spence hit the stage with a street gang's confident swagger, and back it up with a combination of raw power and highly developed chops that would easily shame bands ten years their senior.
Though they're too young to remember the Eighties, Black Tide's music draws from the best hard rock and thrash from the era (think Guns N' Roses, Megadeth, Metallica, Iron Maiden and Skid Row). "Shockwave," the band's calling card and the album's opening track, is an utter classic - all bloody-knuckled thrash riffs, squealing guitars, rampaging drums, in-your-face vocals and an instantly memorable chorus. The rest of Light From Above is up to the same impressive standard; anthemic, take-no-prisoners tracks like "Shout," "Black Abyss," "Let Me," "Live Fast Die Young," the Maiden-esque "Warriors of Time" and their spot-on cover of Metallica's "Hit The Lights" will punch any metal fan squarely in their pleasure centers.
Despite the obvious influences, what makes Black Tide's music sound so fresh is the fact that all four members harbor vastly different musical obsessions. "We all agree with the Iron Maiden, Pantera, Megadeth - everyone's into 'em - but we all kind of branch off from there," Zakk explains. "Alex is really into grind and crust-punk, and he loves bands like Bad Brains, Dead Kennedys and Phobia. Steve is into Rush, Dream Theater and newer metal stuff like Killswitch Engage and All That Remains. Gabriel's into Satriani, Vai and Death, all that shred kind of stuff; and I'm into Meatloaf, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Doors. Things that really don't make sense together, but it works for us!"