Tidal Arms - Tidal Arms

Tidal Arms Tidal Arms cover
Tidal Arms
Tidal Arms
Black Numbers
Tidal Arms is a trio from Brooklyn, NY who, one could say, made waves back in 2011 with their debut release of “The Sun Exploding”. Now they’re back again with their self-titled sophomore attempt. Let me tell you, this one packs quite a punch.
I’m not going to pretend I knew about Tidal Arms before this album arrived at my computer for a review. After listening to it a little though, I got the urge to look the band up and hear their previous work. I was surprised to hear that the new album has very little in common with everything they’ve done so far. “Tidal Arms” is much darker than the relative mellow “The Sun Exploding” and their “Hair and Teeth/Flooded Meadows” single (2010). It appears that the band has adopted a sound which is a combination of doom, sludge metal, noise and alternative rock. (By the way, is this particular sound becoming a fad, or is it just me?)
Grading this record was pretty difficult. To be perfectly honest, listening to “Tidal Arms” has not been the most pleasant experience. I’m guessing however that the band never wanted it to be pleasant. The moment “Gooski’s Ladder” (the first track of the record) begun it was like four huge walls of sound were created; they surrounded me making me feel trapped and a little bit claustrophobic. I loved it! Then “Mirror Box” followed, dropping the pace but keeping the same dark energy and raw power. I had no complaints. After that it was time for “Dunston Mass”, which sounded kinda like a doom/stoner track but stayed at the exact same levels as the previous two. I didn’t mind. “Jungle of Dust” follows and I started to think that these guys are kind of overplaying their instruments. Those sound walls I mentioned before were starting to close up on me a little too much by that time. By the fifth song (“Mad Glacier”) I was beginning to get annoyed. The deliberate grinding sound of the guitar, the bass bombing remorsefully in my ear but most of all the vocals which sounded to be coming from outer space through a broken microphone, were all a little too heavy on my chest. Right after the instrumental “ear date raping” sixth track, “Molasses”, it felt like my soul had enough dark power for the day. I stopped listening to it to prevent the headache that seemed imminent. I listened to the rest four songs the next day (just because I had to in order to write this review) and got no pleasure at all from it.
“Tidal Arms” is the kind of album that whichever song you hear first becomes your personal favorite. That’s because all the tracks share the exact same vibe, no matter how different the elements that each of them consists are. The same noisy guitar distortion, the same bass sound, the same drumming mentality and the same far away sounding vocals. This means that even though each and every one of their musical compositions is tight as hell and extremely interesting on its own, when put one after the other the experience can be a little too much to handle. At least, that’s the way I felt it. It’s clear that the band has talent, so it’s a shame they are so insistent on writing the same kind of songs over and over. Therefore, I’ll still give their next album a shot when it comes out and hope I get blown away.