Dale Bride Troy

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.

Show No Mercy
Bride - Show No Mercy (M8)
Bride - Show No Mercy [The Originals: Disc 1] (Retroactive Records)

1. Evil that Men Do (3:38)
2. Now He Is Gone (3:49)
3. Fly Away (4:12)
4. Forever In Darkness (3:44)
5. Follow Your Heart (4:29)
6. Show No Mercy (3:36)
7. I Will Be With You (4:29)
8. Thunder In The City (5:53)
9. No Matter The Price (4:18)
10. The First Will Be Last (4:07)

11. I Can Fly Now (3:39)
12. Welcome/What Must I Do (4:00)
13. Butterfly (3:54)
14. Missing Children (4:24)
15. Fright (3:27)
16. Look At Me Now (4:12)
17. No Matter The Price [demo] (4:12)

"Show No Mercy" was one of the first Christian metal albums I had ever purchased. I remember purchasing this on vinyl back in '86 and being very impressed. I do confess that over the years, this particular album didn't hold up quite as well as some other Bride albums, but it will always hold a lot nostalgic value for me. "Show No Mercy" was no frills heavy metal with over-the-top, screaming vocals by founder Dale Thompson. The guitar work on this disc is actually quite good as well. Bride were a two guitar band at this point with guitarist Steve Osbourne sharing guitar duties with Troy Thompson. There are several standout cuts on this album including opener "Evil that Men Do", "Forever in Darkness", "Thunder in the City," and ""First Will Be Last". I very much like the piano intro to "Thunder in the City."

The production on this album isn't bad considering that most Christian bands at this time had little to no budget. Even in it's original vinyl format it was very listenable and the CD format cleaned up the sound a bit more. Thankfully in 2011 Retroactive Records had the album properly mastered by J Powell at Steinhaus. The album was re-released in a six-panel, digi-pack format as part of the 3 disc set along with "Live to Die" and "Silence is Madness". The package includes the original cover art, lyrics, some classic photos of the band and a commentary by guitarist Troy Thompson.

Bride's classic debut album was originally released in 1986 on Pure Metal Records on cassette tape and vinyl only. In 2001 the album was released on CD by M8 Records with a boat load of bonus tracks that I can only assume were old Matrix/Bride demos. This original disc was released in a limited edition pressing of only 1,000 copies and quickly went out of print. It took 10 years for a reissue to finally appear. Despite the absence of bonus tracks, the 2011 Retroactive Records CD version is the better release. The sound is so far superior that it's almost night and day.

A bit of history about this album:
In 1983 Dale and Troy Thompson started a band named Matrix in Louisville, Kentucky. Matrix recorded four self-financed demos, which were distributed at live shows and through the mail via Contemporary Christian Music Magazine (CCM) and various fanzines of the day. Their ministry continued to grow in the Christian rock underground but it was not until 1986 that they managed to break into the mainstream. Opening for Daniel Band in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, Matrix caught the eye of the representatives of Refuge Records who were forming their subsidiary label Pure Metal. In the latter part of 1986, there were two events that occurred simultaneously that would ultimately be a major turning point for the band. It had been nearly six months since Refuge Records expressed serious interest in the band. In an effort to expedite an impending offer from Refuge, Dale and Troy mailed to the Refuge office all of the hundreds of letters from fans all across the United States. Additionally amid the growing popularity of the Ohio based secular Matrix, the decision was made to change the name Matrix to Bride. Shortly thereafter, Bride became the second band to be signed to the Refuge Records subsidiary label Pure Metal. In October 1986, Bride began work on the first album of a three album-recording contract.

Cover: "The Destruction of Leviathan" by: Gustave Dore'
"In that day the Lord with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish Leviathan the piercing serpent, even Leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the Dragon that is in the sea." (Isaiah 27:1)

Live to Die
Bride - Live to Die
(Pure Metal) 1988
Bride - Live to Die [The Originals: Disc 2]
(Retroactive Records) 1988/2010

1. Metal Might (3:33)
2. Hell No (3:50)
3. In the Dark (4:00)
4. Out for Blood (2:56)
5. Live to Die (2:52)
6. Fire and Brimstone (4:25)
7. Whiskey Seed (3:39)
8. Here Comes the Bride (2:26)
9. Heroes (7:01)

Back in 1988, Christian heavy metal was mostly associated with bands like Stryper and Bloodgood. There is nothing wrong with either of those bands, but their style was more melodic in nature than a lot of the more aggressive heavy metal and speed metal bands of the time. There was nothing in the way of Christian speed metal metal in those days. In 1987 Bride had released a straight forward heavy metal platter titled "Show No Mercy" that showed a lot of promise, but also couldn't be considered speed metal, and certainly wasn't as a aggressive or as heavy as the growing number of thrash metal bands that were populating the metal scene at the time. With their sophomore release "Live to Die" Bride stepped up and filled the void.

"Live to Die" is a fantastic, classic, heavy metal album. The album contains no ballads, no filler, just full-throttle heavy metal, screaming vocals and blazing guitars. Each and every song is as intense as the next. At times "Live to Die" even pushes the boundaries of thrash metal. "Hell No" and "In The Dark" are dark speed metal songs with Dale Thompson giving the vocal performance of his life. Few vocalist could scream with the fury and tenacity of Dale Thompson, save for perhaps Warrell Dane during his Sanctuary days. The vocal performance on many songs could shatter glass. "In the Dark" also had some progressive tendencies with a little jazz break in the middle of the song and a melodic guitar solo. This particular song is one of Bride's defining moments. "Fire & Brimstone" is an equally aggressive, uptempo song with more progressive tendencies. "Whiskey Seed" is more mid-paced heavy metal romp. "Here Comes the  Bride" is straight-forward thrash metal with more glass shattering vocals from Dale. "Heroes" closes out the album and is yet another of Bride's defining moments. The song brings down the tempo quite a bit from much of the rest of the album, and is a dark, epic, mid-paced, traditional heavy metal song complete with some nice dual guitar parts. In general, many fans consider "Live to Die" to be Bride's finest album and I wouldn't necessarily disagree with them.

"Live to Die" was originally released on the now defunct Pure Metal Records. The album quickly went out of circulation and became an instant, sought-after collector's item. The album was poorly re-released by M8 records in a limited quantity of 1,000 copies many years later. Those too quickly disappeared and began fetching hefty prices on auction sites. In 2011 Retroactive Records has re-released "Live to Die" in a six-panel digi-pack format as part of the 3 disc set along with "Show No Mercy" and "Silence is Madness" Each disc comes in it's own digi-pack. The sound has been vastly improved with modern mastering by J Powell at Steinhaus. It's become a trend in recent years for labels to repackage classic albums with new, updated artwork. Thankfully Retroactive saw fit to leave the original cover art. The package also offers a short commentary by guitarist Troy Thompson.

I wish Bride would have continued in this mode rather than changing with every wind of trend. I still own my original Pure Metal copy that I bought as a new release as well as the Retroactive re-issue.

Treasure Seeker did a remake of "Heroes".

Silence is Madness
Bride - Silence is Madness
(Pure Metal) 1989
Bride - Silence is Madness [The Originals: Disc 3]
(Retroactive Records) 1989

1.  Fool Me Once (4:00)
2.  Hot Down South (3:05)
3.  Silence is Madness (5:14)
4.  Until the End We Rock (3:18)
5.  Evil Dreams (4:04)
6.  Under the Influence (4:03)
7.  All Hollow's Eve (5:05)
8.  No More Nightmares (4:11)
9.  Rock those Blues Away (5:38)

With Bride's third album the band moved away from the speed metal and near thrash of "Live to Die" and back closer to the style of their debut. However, the overall sound is quite a bit more diverse, not quite as dark and more melodic as well. A song like "Fool Me Once" still features those wailing Dale Thompson vocals and a vicious guitar assault. As well, "All Hallows Eve" is a darker song both musically and lyrically. However, other songs like "Until the End We Rock" are more melodic and anthemic in nature. Still, "Fool Me Once", "Hot Down South", "Until the End We Rock" and "All Hallow's Eve" all rock hard 'n heavy. Each and every song possesses a sing-along quality coupled with crunchy guitars and mostly mid-paced tempos. Frankly, I think the entire album is solid, right up through the end with "Rock Those Blues Away." This closing track is a blues-based number, something that would become more prevalent in Bride's future releases. Indeed, the song acted as a bridge to the more blues based, Aerosmith-inspired albums that would follow.

Bride 1989

One noticeable difference between this CD and the last two albums was a change in lyrical direction. While "Live to Die" and "Show No Mercy" were openly and boldly Christian in nature, "Silence is Madness" deals more with social issues. Whereas past songs like "Forever in Darkness", "Fire & Brimstone" and "Hell No" were pretty blatant in their turn-or-burn message, a song like "Hot Down South" is a far more obscure in it's approach. As well, while the song "Until the End We Rock" states, "satisfies your mind, can't save your soul", the song is more of a rock and roll anthem and not specifically evangelistic in nature. Because of this Bride took some heat at the time from fans who accused the band of selling out. The album also charged up some anti-rock preachers who pointed to the band's "watered down message" as proof that the band weren't genuine Christians. Of course the entire argument was ridiculous to begin with. The band were offering a positive, Christian message in a music scene that was otherwise filled with evil imagery.

All in all, "Silence is Madness" is another great heavy metal album from Bride. It rounds out their early trilogy before their sound would begin to drastically change. "Silence is Madness" is a classic in every sense of the word.

For many years the original Pure Metal CD pressing of "Silence is Madness" was out of print and worth quite a bit of money on auction sites. In 2011 Retroactive Records re-released "Silence is Madness" in a six-panel digi-pack format as part of the 3 disc set along with "Show No Mercy" and "Live to Die" Each disc comes in it's own digi-pack. The sound has been vastly improved with modern mastering by J Powell at Steinhaus. The package includes the original cover art, lyrics and a commentary about the album by guitarist Troy Thompson.

End ofthe Age Bride - End of the Age (Pure Metal) 1990

1. "Everybody Knows My Name" (4:22)
2. "Hell No" (3:50)
3. "Hot Down South" (3:06)
4. "Forever Darkness" (3:40)
5. "Heroes" (7:11)
6. "Same Ol' Sinner" (4:08)
7. "Thunder in the City" (5:51)
8. "Fire & Brimstone" (4:25)
9. "Evil That Men Do" (3:38)
10. "All Hallow's Eve" (5:12)

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.

Kinetic Faith Bride - Kinetic Faith (Pure Metal) 1991

1. "Troubled Times" (4:29)
2. "Hired Gun" (4:29)
3. "Ever Fallen In Love" (4:36)
4. "Mountain" (4:12)
5. "Ski Mask" (4:31)
6. "Everybody Knows My Name" (4:23)
7. "Young Love" (3:31)
8. "Kiss the Train" (3:58)
9. "Crimes Against Humanity" (4:05)
10. "Sweet Louise" (4:42)

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!

Snakes in the Playground Bride - Snakes In The Playground (Star Song) 1992

1. "Rattlesnake" (4:33)
2. "Would You Die For Me" (3:35)
3. "Psychedelic Super Jesus" (4:17)
4. "Fallout" (4:03)
5. "Saltriver Shuffle" (:37)
6. "Dust Through A Fan" (3:08)
7. "I Miss the Rain" (3:52)
8. "Unlisted" [instrumental] (:19)
9. "Don't Use Me" (4:01)
10. "Picture Perfect" (4:21)
11. "Love, Money" (3:47)
12. "Some Things Never Change" (4:09)
13. Unlisted instrumental (:23)
14. "Goodbye (5:20)

1. "Rattlesnake" (4:39)
2. "Good-bye" (5:22)
3. "Bride Talks" [interview] (1:53)
4. "Everybody Knows My Name" (4:25)
5. "Same Ol' Sinner" (4:15)
6. "Troubled Times" (4:33)
7. "Hired Gun" (4:32)
8. "Hired Gun" [acoustic/unlisted track] (4:47)
Bonus Disc

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.

Scarecrow Messiah Bride - Scarecrow Messiah (Star Song) 1994

1. "Beast" (4:27)
2. "Place" (3:41)
3. "Murder" (4:07)
4. "Scarecrow" (3:51)
5. "Crazy" (3:44)
6. "Time" (4:16)
7. "One" (3:28)
8. "Doubt" (4:11)
9. "DadMom" (3:29)
10. "Thorns" (5:51)
11. "Questions" (1:51)

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."

Across the Border Bride - Across the Border (Stephans-Buchhandlung) 1994

1. "Would You Die For Me" (4:57)
2. "Scarecrow" (4:11)
3. "Psychedelic Super Jesus" (3:58)
4. "Hired Gun" (9:03)
5. "Under the Influence" (10:57)
6. "Thorns" (6:43)
7. "Everybody Knows My Name" (5:09)
8. "Hell No" (6:20)
9. "Murder" (5:18)
10. "Troubled Times" (7:15)
11. "How Long" [unplugged] (3:29)
12. "I Miss the Rain" [unplugged] (4:02)

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.

Shotgun Wedding Bride - Shotgun Wedding (Star Song) 1995

1. "Psychedelic Super Jesus" [Buzzsaw Remix] (4:04)
2. "Would You Die For Me" (3:34)
3. "Everybody Knows My Name" (4:22)
4. "Place" (3:41)
5. "Fallout" (4:02)
6. "Same 'ol Sinner" (4:09)
7. "Time" [The .12 Guage Mix] (5:03)
8. "Rattlesnake" (4:23)
9. "Trouble Times" (3:56)
10. "Beast" (4:26)
11. "Hired Gun" [The Anvil Mix] (4:49)

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

1. "Personal Savior" (4:01)
2. "Mamma" (5:04)
3. "You Never Knew Me" (4:33)
4. "Life Is the Blues" (4:25)
5. "Help" (4:58)
6. "Only Hurts When I Laugh" (3:42)
7. "Thrill a Minute" (3:39)
8. "How Long" (4:58)
9. "Have You Made It?" (4:13)
10. "Nobodies Here" (4:09)
11. "I'm the Devil" (6:56)
12. "Jesus Came Back Via Jesus in a Pawn Shop" (3:57)

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.

The Jesus Experience Bride - The Jesus Experience (Organic) 1997

1. "I Love You" (2:58)
2. "Worm" (4:34)
3. "End" (4:18)
4. "I Live for You" (3:21)
5. "Follow Me" (4:04)
6. "Tell Me" (2:55)
7. "Love Hate" (3:34)
8. "Human Race" (4:00)
9. "I Hear a Word" (3:52)
10. "Christ" (3:32)
11. "World I Know" (4:40)

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.

Oddities Bride-Oddities (Organic) 1998

1. "Intro" (:19)
2. "I Ain't Coming Down" (2:33)
3. "Why Won't He Break" (4:05)
4. "If I Told You It Was The End Of The World" (4:20)
5. "I Found God" (4:44)
6. "Closer To The Center Of The Earth" (5:02)
7. "Tomorrow Makes No Sense" (4:35)
8. "Day By Day" (4:11)
9. "Spirit" (5:29)
10. "It Is Only When I'm Left Alone" (4:07)
11. "God's Human Oddities" (4:33)
12. "Under The Blood" (4:50)
13. "Die A Little Bit Every Day" (5:08)
14. "Restore Me" (2:01)

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)
2. "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" (4:59)
3. "Hired Gun" (4:42)
4. "Sweet Louise" (3:47)
5. "Show Them" (3:09)
6. political statement (1:10)
7. "Hell No" (2:17)
8. Christian rock statement (2:51)
9. "Same Ol' Sinner" (4:57)
10. "Rock Of Ages" (1:57)
11. "Kiss The Train" (3:45)
12. "Help" (4:00)
13. "Young Love" (3:18)
14. "Hollywood" (3:12)

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!

Matrix Years Bride - The Matrix Years/Lost Years I (Millennium Eight Records) 2001

DISC ONE (The Matrix Years)
1. "We Got Rhythm" (3:21)
2. "Who Killed the Rock Hero" (3:26)
3. "Get Away" (3:12)
4. "What's the Point" (4:39)
5. "Good Rock n' Roll" (3:21)
6. "Stand Up and Shout" (3:03)
7. "West of the Moon" (2:15)
8. "Spell House" (3:16)
9. "To Make you think it's Real" (3:01)
10. "Missing Children" (4:36)
Monkey See, Monkey Do
11. "Hero's" (3:30)
12. "Fright" (3:27)
13. "Remember Me" (4:22)
14. "Now You See Me (Now You Don't)" (3:09)
15. "All Hallow's Eve" (2:38)
16. "Slipin into the Light" (2:58)
17. "We are Going to Make it" (3:39)
18. "Look at me now" (4:11)
19. "He's the flyer" (3:42)
20. "What Must I Do" (3:57)

DISC TWO (Lost Reels Vol. I)
1. "How Long" (3:46)
2. "Fine Line" (4:15)
3. "Only Hurts When I Laugh" (3:39)
4. "Lisa" (3:48)
5. "Let the Son Shine" (2:44)
6. "I Don't Get It" (3:19)
7. "Hollywood" (4:02)
8. "Sugar" (2:47)
9. "I'm the Devil" (4:33)
10. "Good Rock 'n Roll" (3:11)
11. "Dirty" (3:03)
12. "18" (3:04)
13. "Help" (3:34)
14. "Could You Live In My World" (3:41)
15. "Think About It" (5:02)
16. "Sleepy Southern Town" (2:49)
17. "Pyramid" (4:19)
18. "Echoes of Mercy" (3:03)
19. "I Miss Dancing With You" (3:50)
20. "It's The Devil" (4:15)

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.

Fist Full of Bees Bride - Fist Full of Bees (Absolute) 2001

1. "Too Tired" (2:45)
2. "White House" (4:15)
3. "Beginning of the End" (1:11)
4. "Dog the Nine" (3:50)
5. "Bitter End" (4:23)
6. "War" (4:11)
7. "Never Thought About Going Back" (3:55)
8. "Soul Winner" (3:19)
9. "Jesus in Me" (4:07)
10. "God" (4:15)
11. "California Sunshine" (4:36)
12. "Rollin'" (3:06)
13. " " (:45)

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.

Cornerstone 2001 Bride - Live at Cornerstone 2001 (M8) 2001

1. "Intro" (:22)
2. "Same Ol' Sinner" (4:25)
3. "Fool Me Once" (3:54)
4. preaching about drinking (:28)
5. "Whiskey Seed" (3:22)
6. "First Will Be Last" (4:41)
7. "Thunder in the City" (4:58)
8. "Until the End We Rock" (3:41)
9. "Hell No" (4:32)
10. "I Saw the Light" (4:55)
11. "Under the Influence" (6:24)
12. "Amazing Grace" (3:57)
13. "Jesus on the Mainline" (2:59)
14. "I Have Decided" (3:16)

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!

This Is It

Bride - This Is It (Independent) 2003
Bride - This Is It (Retrospective Records) 2006

1. "Blow It Away" (4:29)
2. "To The Sky" (4:12)
3. "More Than Human" (3:53)
4. "Drop D" (3:34)
5. "Head Lookin' For a Bullet" (4:06)
6. "Best I Expect To Do" (3:23)
7. "Evil Geniuses" (4:38)
8. "Revolution" (4:46)
9. "Barren River Blues" (1:41)
10. "Microphone" (4:39)
11. "Short Time In The Grave" (3:47)
12. "Universe" (4:59)
13. "White Elephant" (4:22)
BONUS TRACKS ('06 Retrospective reissue)
14. "Blow It All Away" [demo] (4:57)
15. "Is This the Now" [demo] (5:21)
16. "Bring Me Down" [demo] (3:37)
17. "Burning Love" [demo] (3:57)
Bride '05

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.

In 2006 "This Is It" was given a proper label release on Retrospective Records. As an added insentive for die-hard to purchase this CD, four bonus tracks were added. Each of the four are demo tracks, so the production isn't quite up to the standards of the rest of the CD, but certainly aren't bad either. Actually, if I remember correctly, these tracks were released by the band on an EP titled "Raw"to raise money for studio time to record "This Is It". The Retrospectice disc was also digitally remastered, although I am not hearing a huge difference between the original and the remaster other than the music is slightly louder overall. The new version also has a slightly altered cover, as seen above.

Skin for Skin Skins +2
Bride - Skin for Skin (Retroactive) 2006
Bride - Skin for Skin +2 (Retroactive) 2013

1.   The Calm (0:55)
2.   Skin For Skin (3:35)
3.   End of Days (4:07)
4.   Take The Medication (5:23)
5.   Inside Ourselves (4:19)
6.   Hard To Kick (3:34)
7.   Fuel And Fire (4:48)
8.   Breathless (4:08)
9.   Prodigious Savant (0:33)
10. Bang Goodbye (5:32)
11. Rise Above (5:34)
12. The Government (3:49)
13. Super Ego Star (3:41)
14. Hang On (4:13)
2013 Reissue Bonus Tracks
15. I Want to Know You (5:20)
16. Kid (3:35)

Dale Thompson

"Skin for Skin" is the 12th studio album from Bride. It is a power-packed, hard-hitting rock 'n' 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.

"Skin for Skin" was initially released in 2006. Retroactive re-issed the album in 2013 with new mastering by J Powell at Steinhaus and two additional bonus tracks. "I Want To Know You" is a bluesy song with a raw, garage-band type rock 'n' roll recording. "Kid" is a hard rock song with a similar demo vibe to the recording. 

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.

Tsar Bomba Bride – Tsar Bomba (Retroactive) 2009

  1. "Industrial Christ" (4:30)
  2. "All We Are" (5:11)
  3. "Prokofiev" [instrumental] (:20)
  4. "Love Shine" (5:29)
  5. "1973" [instrumental] (:27)
  6. "We Are Together" (4:40)
  7. "Never" (5:57)
  8. "Separate" (4:48)
  9. "Nothing Means Anything To Me" (6:05)
  10. "Bach Minuet" [instrumental] (:59)
  11. "Last Thing I Feel" (4:37)
  12. "Chopin Nocturne In E Flat Minor" [instrumental] (:34)
  13. "Downward" (5:52)
  14. "Look In My Head" (4:40)
  15. "When I Was A Kid" (4:15)
  16. "Rhapsodie Fur Ein Gitarre" [instrumental] (5:02)
  17. "We Are The People" (4:03)

Tsar Bomba is the nickname for the RDS-220 hydrogen bomb developed by the Soviet Union in the early 1960’s. It was the largest and most powerful nuclear device ever detonated. Tsar Bomba is also the name of the latest offering from Bride. Apparently the album received the title Tsar Bomba because, “it is the Bride CD to end all Bride CD’s. This is our final CD as Bride”. So, the band wants to go out with a bang. Let’s hope that is the case and that the album doesn’t bomb. DOH!

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!

Incorruptible Bride - Incorruptible (Retroactive) 2013

1.   Unbelievers (5:55)
2.   Darker Days (3:58)
3.   Darker (2:02)
4.   We Lie (4:08)
5.   Serenade [instrumental] (1:06)
6.   All the Kids Are Gone (4:50)
7.   Melting (5:26)
8.   Free (7:28)
9.   Religion (7:21)
10. I Can't Imagine (5:27)
11. I Want It All (5:41)
12. 2nd Suite for Children [instrumental] (0:27)
13. Where You Want to Go (5:07)
14. Sleep On (4:28)
15. Uke [instrumental] (0:37)
16. Something I Need to Know (5:05)
17. I Choose You (3:01)

Bride are typically known as a band that has followed trends in heavy music. They have run the gamut from speed metal to alternative rock and everything in between. However, over the past decade or so, since the release of "This Is It" (2003), Bride have really found their sound and stuck with it. It's been a mixture of their classic "Snakes/Scarecrow" era and more modern production values. With "Incorruptible" Troy, Dale and company continue down similar paths, offering up some experimentation, especially in the short musical interludes, but pretty much sticking to their music guns for the bulk of the album. The line-up here is Dale Thompson (vocals), Troy Thompson (guitars, cello, keyboards, ukulele), Brad Holland (bass) and Jay Meese (drums). Sadly, guitar shredder Steve Osbourne passed away shortly after completing the last album. Bride pay tribute to him during the opening song "Unbelievers".

To be quite honest, I had high hopes at first for this album as I really enjoyed "This Is It", "Skin for Skin" and "Tsar Bomba", but for whatever reason, "Incorruptible" took some time to get into. It just didn't bowl me over on the first spins. I think the reasons for that is the beginning of the album isn't quite as strong as the deeper tracks. Songs like "Darker Days "and "We Lie" didn't quite do it for me. However, once I got past those tracks I found a lot to enjoy about "Incorruptible". After the a short instrumental titled "Serenade", there is the slow heavy groove of "All the Kids Gone", the intense emotion of "Melting", the blues-based hard rock of "Where You Want to Go" and even some old-school heavy metal in "Religion", with it's chugging guitars and catchy sing-along chorus. Actually, this song reminds me of pre-"Snakes in the Playground"-era Bride. The album closes with the acoustic Zeppelin-esque "I Choose You". In short, the album is packed with meaty riffs, hooky songs and Dale's signature howl.

Bride has been releasing new music going on three decades but "Incorruptible" is said to be their last album. Though it may not top my list of Bride favorites, "Incorruptible" is definitely a grower and I doubt any longtime Bride fans will be disappointed.

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