In 1983 Dale and Troy Thompson started a heavy metal band named Matrix in Louisville, Kentucky. Eventually, before signing their first record contract, the name was changed to Bride. They were one of the best bands in the genre for a long time. Dale's unique screech gave the band and edge and a very unique sound. Dale even sang for Stryper for a show after Michael Sweet quite the band following the release of "Can't Stop the Rock." At the time, however, Bride were gaining popularity rapidly so Dale decided not to join Stryper but to stay with the band he formed. Unfortunately, brother Dale and Troy Thompson have taken the band through every trend to come through, even releasing a CD of rapcore. Fortunately in 2003 Bride decided to listen to their fans and started writing music in the style of their more popular hard rock/metal works.
Treasure Seeker did a remake of "Heroes".
Bride - End of the Age (Pure Metal) 1990
1. "Everybody Knows
My Name" (4:22)
End of the Age was appropriately named as it saw Bride's heavy metal dayz being exchanged for the more bluesy, Aerosmith sounds that were to follow. "End of the Age" is a best-of-compilation from the first three album plus two new songs that were to give an idea of the direction the band was going. At the time, it was cool to be a follower of Aerosmith, so with that fad, Bride jumped aboard and changed to a more commercial metal sound, even acknowledging in interviews that they were going for an Aerosmith sound. The two new songs included here are actually very good, they are still heavy but less thrashy with a bit more hook and groove. "Everybody Knows My Name" ended up doing well for the band and was on their next album. "Same Old Sinner" is stinking heavy and was never released on any other official Bride disc, as far as I know.
Bride - Kinetic Faith (Pure Metal) 1991
1. "Troubled Times"
As was suggested by the two new songs on "End of the Age" Bride changed styles, but they remained a heavy metal band. I still really dug this album, even though I was bummed that they weren't doing the speed metal thing any longer. From this point on, however, Bride would continue to get more and more commercial with each album. I suppose after tasting a bit of success with "Everybody Knows My Name" and the Christian radio hit "Sweet Louise" that Bride's focus changed. Too bad!
Bride - Snakes In The Playground (Star Song) 1992
Uh, oh, the total commercial sellout . . . well, maybe not totally. This is actually a very good heavy metal disc with a truck load of killer hooks and beefy guitar riffs. The music takes on more of a Guns 'n' Roses-vibe, but it still had the hooks and Dale's mesmerizing, powerhouse vocals. Man, he just belts it out on "Rattlesnake." "Goodbye", an emotional ballad, was a CCM radio hit. The first pressing came with a bonus disc. If I am not mistaken, this was Bride's biggest selling album to date and in my opinion was their finest hour.
When I first bought this disc the week it was released, I wasn't impress. I never seemed to be able get through this disc in one listen. For some reason it just doesn't have the holding power that past discs have had. "Scarecrow Messiah" seemed to me to be Bride on autopilot. This was almost an exact duplicate of "Snake in The Playground" although not nearly as interesting, save for a few songs. The title track rocks hard and is a classic from the Bride catalogue. There are a few other tracks as well that I like. However if find most of this disc to be forgettable, unlike "Snakes in the Playground" which would rattle in my head for days after hearing it. Over the years, I have grown to appreciate this disc, especially in light of the more modern approach they took on follow-up releases. Lyrically Bride is right on. With this CD and "Snakes in the Playground" I really think Dale came into his own as a lyric writer. Where as their first few albums were of the "turn of burn" variety and "Silence is Madness" almost abandoned the Christian lyrics at all, Scarecrow blends interesting, thought provoking lyrics from a Christian perspective. This was to be Bride's last record on the Pure Metal/Star Song label as well although Star Song did release another 'best of' collection called "Shotgun Wedding."
Bride - Across the Border (Stephans-Buchhandlung) 1994
1. "Would You Die
For Me" (4:57)
This German import was released independently by some of the guys who eventually formed MCM Music. I am not sure if it is a bootleg or an official release, but either way, the overall feel and quality of this release is a bootleg. The first ten cuts were recorded on Rick Foley's farewell tour with Bride in Switzerland and the last few cuts are acoustic and recorded at Rick's very last show in Wurzburg Germany. "Across the Border" captures Bride during their heyday and has an impressive set list. The band sounds tight and Dale just wails. However, while the sound quality is a listenable soundboard recording, it isn't of a professional quality either. Basically this is a collector's disc for Bride fans and nothing more. "Across the Border" is a limited edition collectors disc. Mine is 5/2000. I should also mention that the track listing includes the acoustic track "Sweet Louise" although it isn't actually on the CD.
Bride - Shotgun Wedding (Star Song) 1995
This compilation marked the end of an era for Bride when they would leave their label Star Song and go into completely new musical directions in the future. The songs on this disc are culled mostly from the band's Aerosmith-swagger, commercial heavy metal years, so an exhaustive retrospective this is not. However, the material here is all excellent making for an enjoyable listen overall, despite the absence of anything off the band's first three more metallic releases. Although there is nothing really new on this disc, and the packaging is rather cheap, the presence of three cool remixes made it worth the $2.99 I spent on this disc.
Bride - Drop (Rugged Records) 1995
A new label and a new attitude, "Drop" is a far cry from the screaming metal that Bride was know for. I think Bride knew that their last album sounded like a carbon copy of the one before it and they made a conscious effort to do something different. Many fans revolted against this experimental disc that moved so far away from the formula. "Drop" experiments with many different styles including the blues, alternative, funk, and straight up rock 'n roll. Tunes like "Help" have a definite Led Zeppelin vibe, while "Have You Made It?" almost has a funky Ohio Players meets Bride vibe. At times Dale sings in a high falsetto voice that reminds me of some of the old R&B and Motown singers. "Drop" is far mellower than Bride fans were use to hearing from them as well. Parts of this disc have an almost acoustic vibe. "Mamma", for instance, is a blues based, melancholy song with an infectious chorus and retains this 'acoustic' feel. There is also a definite alternative influence here that wasn't present in past Bride discs. Even in the heavier parts, the thick, heavily distorted guitars of the past have been replaced with a retro-70's sound that is popular among the alternative and grunge rockers. Album lead off track, "Personal Savior" is probably responsible for much of the disdain this album received. This bluesy, alternative-rock song is very unlike the screamin' lead off tracks on the bands last few albums. However, it is still more interesting and contains a hook that wasn't present on "Scarecrow Messiah." "Drop" is a bit darker than past discs as well. While "Rattlesnake" and "Kinetic Faith" took on an Aerosmith/Guns n Roses vibe, "Drop" seems to steer clear of this upbeat metal sound. As stated, I am sure they did this to keep from getting stale but they were also most certainly following the trends as well. To be quite honest, I was very much put off by this disc at first. Over they years, and after owning and trading several copies, I have grown to appreciate it, even though I would not list it among my favorite Bride discs, I find it a good listen and far better than much of what would soon follow.
Bride - The Jesus Experience (Organic) 1997
1. "I Love You"
OK, so I was wrong on this one. My original review stated, "Dale, Troy and Co. regroup and release this grunge soaked piece of. . ." However, a reader of this site prompted me to give a careful listen to this CD. After a few reminder emails from this person, I finally broke down and popped this CD into my car deck at 5:30 AM on my way to work one morning, then again a couple days later at work. Well, what do you know, this isn't nearly as bad as I originally thought it was. As has been the case with Bride, they seem to follow whatever trends are going on in rock. That is certainly the case here as well. Short songs like "I Love You" have that alternative flavor, yet somehow still retain the classic Bride sound. Despite this, "I Love You" is has plenty of hook and has a cool guitar riff. I think part of the reasoning for "Jesus Experience" having a more alternative sound is the production, which includes some weird effects on Dale's voice. "The Worm" is a perfect example of what I am talking about. This song actually has a pretty catchy melody and chorus, but for some reason Dale's voice seems like it is squashed down and fuzzy. It's almost like Bride were attempting to get a mixture of their own sound with Alice In Chains and a bit of Nirvana as well. "I Live For You", likewise, is unmistakably Bride, yet at the same time the production is grungy, as opposed to the brighter sound that Bride had on earlier releases. Well, I must commend the reader who advised me to listen again a bit closer to this CD. I actually found some of this stuff to be very enjoyable, despite my dislike for all things grunge.
Bride-Oddities (Organic) 1998
1. "Intro" (:19)
How many times have you heard a band say that they are returning to their old sound. Of course that was the hype that surrounded this disc. Was it true? Not even! This is another boring alternative rock piece of junk. Sorry, but this is miles away from what I liked about Bride in their early years.
Bride - Live Vol. II - Acoustic (M8) 2000
1. "Everybody Knows
My Name" (4:46)
A compilation of various "unplugged" sets with Dale and Troy. The nice thing about this disc is that it features material from the band's "metal years," which is why I purchased this disc. The overall sound isn't perfect, almost taking on a bootleg feel. That being said, however, that doesn't mean the sound is bad either, just not studio quality. "Political Statement" is not a song, but rather Dale taking some pot shots at President Clinton and then presidential candidate Ross Perot. "Christian Rock Statement" is also a commentary by Dale on Christianity and music. Also have to add, that since this disc really is just an acoustic guitar and Dale's voice, he does an exceptional job. Dale simply wails!
Bride - The Matrix Years/Lost Years I (Millennium Eight Records) 2001
Bride stated out as Matrix and when they were signed changed their name to Bride. The band released two cassettes demos, "PG-13" and "Monkey See, Monkey Do." Some of those demo songs made it to future Bride releases, however many did not. These tracks had been released before on CD by the band in very limited quantities. However, M8 re-release these songs for fans who were not able to get the independent release Bride did. While I don't own the original CD release, I have been told that this version is superior to the Bride version in both sound quality and packaging. The songs are all mastered better which gives them an overall better sound. The packaging, while not extensive, does give some interesting pictures of early Bride with their spandex, bandanas and teased hair. Being a fan of Bride's metal years, this stuff is right up my alley. Old-school heavy metal! Also included in this release are some magazine clippings. There is a quote from a then 21 year Dale Thompson who says "Some people have called us [Matrix] new-wave metal."
Also included in this 2
CD set is a remastered version of Bride - Lost Reels 1. This CD was originally
released in 1994 and contains demo songs that were not used on the band's official
recordings. The recording here is remasted and has a decent sound quality, especially
since this is all demo material. Lost Reels was a 2000 limited edition release
from the band that quickly sold out. (The band later put our Lost Reel 2 & 3
which featured demos of the bands newer alternative metal sound.) Overall, an
excellent collector's CD for longtime Bride fans and those longing to hear more
from Bride's metal years.
Bride - Fist Full of Bees (Absolute) 2001
1. "Too Tired"
I was on a bit of a Bride fix after "This Is It" came out and began listening to much of their back catalogue again as well. I count myself as a fan, but have been pretty disappointed with the bands constant changes and musical fad following over the years. I even discovered in listening to all their CDs again that I liked a disc ("Drop") that I had loathed in the past. I have at least always given each Bride disc a listen over the years, even if I didn't like the direction they were taking. With this disc, however, I avoided it like the plague when I heard they were going "rapcore". (This is how the band described it.) Well, shortly after getting the excellent "This Is It" CD, I found a used copy of "Fist Full of Bees" for $4 and thought to myself, "how bad can it be?" The answer is, pretty bad. Let's just assume for a minute that Bride hasn't been pathetically following radio trends over the years and that they honestly were just progressing as a band and expanding their artistic horizons. If that be the case then what the heck were they thinking here? I mean, Bride doing rap? The Guns 'n Roses bit wasn't a stretch from the metal they were doing in their formative years. The grunge and hard alternative isn't even that far of a stretch. However, this is the most pathetic attempt to cash in on a trend I have ever seen. Much of this disc sounds like a combination of Limp Bizkit and Kidd Rock. Die-hard Bride fans get so offended by my distaste for these trendy Bride discs. Some of the e-mails I get from upset Bride fans are almost funny. Perhaps if you are a fan of rapcore in general, this disc might be to your liking. I find it odd, however, that longtime Bride fans who wouldn't touch a band like Limp Bizkit or P.O.D. with a 10' pole find this disc listenable.
Bride - Live at Cornerstone 2001 (M8) 2001
1. "Intro" (:22)
M8 Records put on an '80's Metal Retro Night' bringing in resurrected bands like Recon, Trytan, Deliverance as well as long standing bands like Guardian and Bride. Sticking with the theme of the evening, Bride played only tracks from their first three CDs. I was actually surprised that the band played nothing from "Kinetic Faith", "Snakes in the Playground" or "Scarecrow Messiah." However, it was cool to hear some of these forgotten Bride gems in a live setting. As Dale mentions on the disc, most of these tracks they have not been played by the band in almost a decade. However, Troy and Dale sound as good as they did back in the late 80's/early 90's when they were pioneering Christian metal. Dale's over-the-top wail sounds awesome. Of the set of Cornerstone 2001 discs, Bride's is certainly one of the best sounding. I especially dug the charged up worship song "I Saw the Light." The bonus tracks are also worship songs, although played in a more traditional style. These tracks are taken from Bride's independent release Bride Live Vol. I and were not performed as part of the Cornerstone show. The cover art for this particular "Cornerstone 2001" disc was fitting as it recalls the same feeling as Bride's "Show No Mercy" and "Live to Die" CDs.
Unfortunately Dale's in between song banter borders the line between annoying and stupid. Firstly in track #4, Dale makes a comment insulting any Christian who might drink 'a beer.' This is nothing more than Americanized Christianity. Drinking a beer is not a sin, although Dale makes it clear that he believes it is a compromise of one's faith. Secondly in this same clip, Dale self righteously takes a pot shot at the Cornerstone festival saying that his 'hard preaching against drinking' is the reason he was has not been invited back. Hmmm, why would you make a comment like that about Cornerstone when you are playing at Cornerstone. Perhaps it's the out of place comments like those that keep Bride from being invited back. Obviously they were invited back, and even if Bride never were invited back, the comment was uncalled for. If this is not enough, Dale's laughable comments about how they now play rapcore will have any metalhead rollin' on the floor laughing. He says something to the effect that the band can still play these old songs, but that they will pay for it in the morning and this is why they now play rapcore. It's a shame a band with this much talent and a vocalist who could send most metal vocalist screaming for the hills has compromised themselves so much over the years. Rapcore! Ha Ha! I'm sure the P.O.D./Limp Biskit fans will run right out to buy the new Bride CD Yeah right!
Yes, I know I said I would never buy another Bride CD. Frankly I was just tired of getting music that wasn't to my tastes and that strayed far away from what Bride became known for. Bride has taken alot of heat over the years for their constant changing of styles and following of trends. I kept giving them the benefit of the doubt as I kept hearing, "this next one will be a return to our roots." However, that didn't really happen and many fans, including myself, were disappointed. This time around Bride attempted a new strategy. While writing for and working on this CD the band began polling fans through their website and emails to find out what they wanted the new album to sound like. After that they posted sound samples and asked for fan interaction. Well, the result is "This Is It". This CD finds Bride returning to their roots of groove oriented hard rock similar to that of "Snakes In The Playground" and "Scarecrow Messiah." There is a hint of more modern tones and even some of the songwriting has a slight modern touch, but it works much better here mixed in with Bride's signature sound rather than them trying to create an entire new "modern" sound. Mostly, however, "This Is It" is just a high-energy, groove-laden, hard rock complete with the intense screams of lead singer Dale Thompson and some fine guitar work by brother Troy Thompson.
The disc kicks off with "Blow It All Away" a rockin' number with a slight Zeppelin vibe. This is how we like to hear Bride, loud 'n screaming. Dale's wail sounding as over-the-top as he did in the band's glory days. Other tracks sway into blues territories, which is something that Dale and Bride have been doing for years. Perhaps one of the best songs of the disc is "Head Lookin' for A Bullet." This song is just powerful! Another highlight is the ballad, "White Elephant," a song that sports a cello, played by Troy. Overall, the music here should not disappoint any long time Bride fan.
Lyrically Dale does a good job lifting the name of Jesus in most every song. His controversial "Universalism" beliefs aren't really apparent except for in a couple songs. In "Universe," for example he states, "Won't cast off forever, won't leave my soul in hell. Not maybe, not some, not a few. He above all, through all and in you all, Free gift came upon all men, Shall be saved yet so by fire, grace abounds, worm is dead. They shall see and understand." This song seems to sum up Dale's current belief that "ALL men will be saved, even as if by fire"'. Like wise in "Best I Expect to Do" he states, "Do you believe in torment? I'm the touchstone of your soul, I just can't believe in your hell anymore." The song "Evil Geniuses" is also of interest as Dale speaks directly to the critics of both his music and his beliefs in which he states, "I'm not a looser like you, a reviewer like you, a liar or a hypocrite like you, I'm not a frustrated beaten musician like you, I would rather be a Has Been than a Never Was." Pretty much Dale venting his frustrations in his critics face.
So, to sum up, I am glad Bride is back to doing what they do best, rocking hard. I am also grateful for lyrics that lift high the name of Jesus.
"Skin for Skin" is a power packed, hard hitting rock and roll album. After a short, industrial sounding introduction Bride break out with their fastest and heaviest song in a long, long time. The title track is a double bass and rapid fire guitar led song and my immediate favorite off this album. The rest of the album sounds more like what I expected from Bride. The songs, for the most part are mid-paced, groove-laced, and hard rockin'. I would have liked to have heard a few more upbeat songs like the title track. Many of the songs in the middle tend to run together as they have very similar grooves and tempos. Thankfully Bride have quite following trends and are now striving to sound like Bride. There is no rapping, no attempts at alternative or metalcore. Rather, what we have here is pure hard rock and heavy metal that sounds modern without sounding intentionally trendy. While I wouldn't go so far as to say that "Skin for Skin" sounds like the classic "Snakes in the Playground", I would say that Bride have now captured a sound that is all their own. "Skin for Skin" is an excellent follow-up to "This Is It" and fits in well in their overall catalog. One noticeable difference between this and more recent albums is the addition of some smokin' guitar leads. "Skin for Skin" marks the return of guitarist Steve Osbourne who offers up some choice licks, as does Troy Thompson. Steve Osbourne had formerly recorded with Bride in their early years. There are even a couple songs that have an old school feel like "The Government", which is an aggressive, scathing, anti-war, heavy metal number. Dale Thompson's voice sounds as strong as ever, although it's as if he is holding back. While he offers a solid performance here, he seems to be staying in the lower range, as opposed the higher octaves he use to screech out on tracks like "Rattlesnake" and "Fallout". This is not really a complaint as much as an observation. Overall I think that "Skin for Skin" is a logical step from "This Is It" and is an honest and successful attempt to progress without worry of what is popular.
For those concerned with Dale's Universalism beliefs, they are pushed full tilt on this album. "End of Day" in particular makes the claim that "From the beginning of the garden to the end and the grave salvation of all comes by the cross, the blood, the life the name. Every man, women and child followed Adam to the grave. Your flesh he will destroy that your spirit will be saved...concluded them all in unbelief, he’ll have mercy on everyone, by His grace and peace the Spirit and the Bride say come". This doctrine flies in the face of orthodox Christianity and may cause some to have a problem with the lyrics on this album.
With Tsar Bomba it sounds like Bride has decided to just be themselves and not let trends or fans dictate what the band should sound like. Overall, Tsar Bomba is a hard rocking album but with a noticeable more modern vibe and production than their past couple releases. Mixed throughout are influences from most of Bride’s past albums, thought there is nothing on here that hails all the way back to their first couple releases. You will hear touches of acoustic guitar hailing back to “Drop”, some groove oriented hard rock not unlike “Snakes” or “Skin for Skin”. It’s all mixed in there and set to whip. There are even some short instrumentals peppered throughout this CD, which is a bit different from anything Bride has done in the past. Dale Thompson’s signature wail is still in place. His gritty, raspy vocal delivery is very charismatic and is part of what gives Bride their edge and sets them apart from other bands. The guitar work this time around seems to be extraordinary as well.
“Industrial Christ” starts things off and is a up-tempo, hooky song that is sure to be a fan favorite. “We Are Together“ is modern hard rocker with some reggae influence. This song seems to be Dale reaching out to those who have criticized him over the past few years about his beliefs and suggesting that there is no reason to “fight”, but that instead we are “all together”. “Last Thing I Feel” is a heavy modern rock song that could probably do great on rock radio, given the chance. “Chopin Nocturne In E Flat Minor” is a short piano instrumental that acts as the introduction to the ballad “Downward”. “Look In My Head” offers a bit of funk and groove. This song would probably have fit well on the band’s popular albums from the early 90’s. “Rhapsodie Fur Ein Gitarre” is an acoustic, instrumental variation on Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
Ultimately, while having a modern hard rock sound, Tsar Bomba just sounds like Bride without any blatant attempts to follow trends. Longtime Bride fans should be pleased and fans of crunchy, raw, hard rock should also find something to like here. I suppose if you are going to go out, then it is indeed good to go out with a bang!