Does being in a sub-21 thrash-metal outfit guarantee an early exit from the innocence of childhood, or a permanent home in pubescent immaturity? We don't think the young shredders of Black Tide really give a shit one way or the other; they're too busy basking in the warmth of critical acclaim and the assurance that they are now definitively cooler than their classmates. Riding high on the wave of a recent record release and a sweet spot on the Mayhem tour, the would-be Priest protégés are back for a Miami appearance, opening for Welsh metal outfit Bullet for My Valentine.
Bullet for My Valentine also worships at the altar of the standard set of classic heavy heroes. It's a good thing for these guys that they play music that prides itself on sheer power and sonic bombast; it's easy to hide a shuddering lack of originality under a shuddering wall of sound. Not that any of that's necessarily a bad thing. After all, there are worse things to copycat than classic metal, especially when it's played with the level of craftsmanship of which Bullet is capable. The one downside is the slight Facebook generation updating, which has left the band straddling the line between middling critical support and popular adulation.
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Black Tide has somehow escaped the death-grip of novelty that so often surrounds a young band, making old hat sound fresh through the group's youthful exuberance. Bullet for My Valentine sounds basically like the same band, but comes off more like a bunch of Metallica groupies who finally got it together (sort of). Perhaps Black Tide's very young blood is just what it takes to revive that middle-age music.