Gabriel Garcia - vocals, lead guitar
Zakk Sandler - bass
Steven Spence - drums
Austin Diaz - guitar
Black Tide come out of the gate with all guns blazing. Their Interscope Records debut, Light from Above, is a loaded salvo of fret-burning, hyper-charged riffs. The Florida quartet churns out fist-pumping, fast-paced metallic anthems with no remorse. Their sound channels the forefathers of heavy metal, but with a dose of 21st century attitude. Cuts like "Shockwave," "Warriors of Time" and "Show Me The Way" pack enough explosive energy to ignite any crowd. Drummer Steven Spence lays down a propulsive percussive backdrop for Zakk Sandler´s volatile bass lines. Meanwhile, guitarist Austin Diaz rips mean leads across the rhythmic battlefield, picking each note with an unmatched fury. At the eye of the storm is vocalist and guitarist Gabriel Garcia. Leading the charge, his voice carries hooks to Hell and back, while he scorches his strings. He fires off every chorus with conviction and charisma.
Gabriel started singing and playing guitar at eight-years-old, and he knew that´s what he was meant to do the second he donned an axe. "When I started playing, I was like, ´This is what I have to do.´ I don´t want to be a fucking lawyer or some shit like that. I told my family I wanted to play heavy metal. My parents have supported my decision the whole time. Anyone else would´ve been like, ´Shut up! Go to school!´"
Gabriel´s intense immersion into music has paid off. He formed Black Tide along with Zakk in 2003. Steven joined the ranks in 2006, and after an incendiary performance at that year´s Florida Music Festival, Interscope signed the band. Black Tide recorded their debut, Light from Above, at Groovemaster Studios, with Johnny K (Disturbred, Staind). Johnny K has since garnered the venerable “Producer Of The Year” 2008 Grammy-nomination for his recent body of work including Black Tide’s album.
Upon completion of Light From Above, the four lads hit the road on OZZfest 2007´s main stage alongside Ozzy Osbourne, Lamb of God and Static-X. Immediately, they began to build a buzz because of their no-holds barred approach to infectious, arena-ready heavy metal.
Zakk sums up the band´s sound: "Black Tide sounds like four pissed off teenagers who listen to too much good music. When we come together, we make something special. We love Iron Maiden, Pantera, Metallica and Guns ´N´ Roses, but we don´t try to be anything we´re not. We just get up on stage and do what we love."
Leading up to album release on March 18, 2008 release, the band toured with the likes of Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet for My Valentine and All that Remains. Garnering instant acclaim, Light From Above sent a "shockwave" of its own through the scene. Rolling Stone named Black Tide one of the “Best Rookies of 2008” and “Metal’s New Teen Titans,” Spin tapped them as one of the “Next Big Things,” while Revolver featured them as a “Band To Watch” and included them on the cover of the August 2008 Mayhem issue, and Kerrang! proclaimed them “Best International Newcomer.” The band followed its release with a main stage appearance on the inaugural Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival alongside Slipknot and Disturbed. The tour was a massive success, and inspired them to start composing new songs.
"We´ve grown up and changed," Gabriel elaborates. "The new material sounds different, but fans are going to like it. We try to write epic songs. We learned from watching all of the bands we´ve toured with. The next record´s definitely going to be a lot more musical. The songs are more intense and complicated for guitar players. We want to feel it just as much as we want the fans to feel it."
Steven describes an important moment for the band internationally. "One real milestone for us was when we played Download Festival 2008. It´s such a prestigious rock event, and we had the honor of playing on the main stage. It was insane." The band left a big impression on the Donnington crowd, solidifying their presence overseas. Steven continues, "We want to build a hardcore fan base that grows with us. We want to make strong, powerful meaningful music that affects people. Fans can rely on us to be consistent. This is what we´re here to do, and there´s no time for complaining. People would kill to be where we´re at. We just appreciate it."
After Download, the band added guitarist Austin Diaz to the fold, and he´s been the perfect fret foil for Gabriel. "Austin is awesome. He learned all of our songs in two days, before the first date of Mayhem. We played the show, and he killed it. On Mayhem, Austin and I started coming up with riff and song ideas for the next album," Gabriel says. About joining the band and composing new tunes, Austin excitedly exclaims, "This band stands out, and I am honored to join. It´s a breath of fresh air for heavy metal, and it´s going to keep escalating. The music that we´ve been writing is really technical, but it´s still Black Tide."
In the end, Black Tide are ready for anything. Gabriel comments, "The band is so united now. We´ve never been together like this before. Black Tide´s stronger than ever." That strength will only lead to bigger and better things. Zakk concludes, "The kids want more, and I want more out of us everyday. We´re like that arena rock band who just hasn´t made it to the arenas, yet." It´s only a matter of time until they do.