REVIEW: Tidal Arms – ‘Tidal Arms’

tidal arms

Artist: Tidal Arms
Album: Tidal Arms
Genre: Post-Hardcore
Label: Black Numbers Records

There is beauty rested deep down in the dark below, escaped from any crack of light that could seep through. Though in reality, there is no such thing as darkness, just the absence of light. If one were to add a single flicker of light to an incredibly dark room, then we would merely have a dark room with some light.

In their eccentric self-titled, sophomore album, New York-based Tidal Arms create a work that is so bi-polar, chaotic, and at times unbelievably serene, I am not sure whether to get lost in the beautifully tinged, full soundscapes, or to bang my head repeatedly in terrible unison to the blistering forces the members emanate, for there is really no predicting where the band will take a song next without repeated listens. But, if there is one thing I do know for sure about Tidal Arms, it’s that I love every moment of it.

Throughout the ten tracks presented, the band will calm you, quell you, provoke you, and interestingly enough, enable you. Enable you to dive deep down with them that is, engrossing yourself in the voluminous sludge of distortion, culminating in an inspiration of sonic expression.

Beginning with “Gooski’s Ladder,” Tidal Arms easily shows its versatility. Sewing in and out of palm-muted riffs, soaring echoed vocals, and a pounding rhythm section, “Gooski’s Ladder” is a perfect example of what the band has to offer. But, one of the most pleasant aspects of the album is its ability to groove insanely hard while surrounded by massive walls of sound. The power trio seem to find a way to bring in a collective rhythmic mindset, behind the onslaught of destruction created in its path.

Personal favorite, “Mirrorbox,” only triumphs on the statures set in the opener. A harder groove, a catchier melody, and still pounding within its tonal resonance, the track serves as a pedestal for which the band deserves to sit. Throughout the work, the band creates a wonderful environment. From the Deftones-inspired “Dunston Mass,” to the schizophrenic “Jungle of Dust,” there is a plethora of sounds and textures to get lost to.

Wonderfully produced (by the band, as it should be noted), the album’s sound is exactly where it should be. Basked in reverb and distortion, each riff, beat, and melody is fixated in the right place. As where some power trios begin to falter, Tidal Arms are able to make every delve of sound of the utmost importance. “Beach Torture” eloquently highlights the band’s brighter side (for a few measures that is, don’t take anything this band does with certainty), all while keeping within their darker, fuzzier collective. Finishing out with “Cosmic Donald’s,” Tidal Arms presents itself as one of the more ambitious, finely tuned, and well-executed pieces of the year. Never calm with situating in one genre or sound for too long, Tidal Arms will take you to a variety of places.

This album took me by surprise. Not that I should have been surprised by the talent the band has to offer, but how easily they are able to create a vivid world that is constantly changing. Each song a different window, each chord pulse a various emotion, the album is a communal foundation for our darkest crevices. Consistently weaving to and from the walls that the sound bounces off of, this album is an escape from the real and an introduction to the surreal.

Escaping through said darkness is but only a crack of light, but how we are fit and able to interpret such light is a manner left to our own devices.

SCORE: 9/10

Review written by: Andrew Caruso — Follow him on Twitter

Drew Caruso

Drew Caruso is a Bostonian who, when not writing about music and film, spends his time getting lost in New England, reading books, talking about science whether people want to listen or not, and more. To see the thoughts of a scientist by day and a writer by night, follow him on Twitter.
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