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Is It (Expanded)
Label: Retroactive Records
Time: 17 tracks/70:38 min
The Christian Music scene has (as long as I have been around) played a dangerous shell game called “If You Like…Then You’ll Like…” These posters & lists have dotted Christian Book Stores since the mid-80’s, at least. Usually, they were sketchy at best (i.e. If you like Madonna, Then You’ll like Crystal Lewis…really?!!!?) However, one stylistic comparison was always evident to me. If you were a fan of Cinderella in the mainstream metal scene, then Bride was the perfect Christian equivalent.
Bride, however, was not a band created to “sound like” a mainstream rock equivalent. They simply showed a stylistic consistency with Cinderella in that both bands mixed classic blues rifts with metal instrumentation, smoking guitar riffs, and gravelly vocals. Both bands showed the direct influence and lineage that the blues had on many metal bands. Bride showed its blues roots on its sleeve throughout the 80’s.
Throughout their '90’s albums, Bride tried to update their sound, leaving many fans unhappy or perplexed by the band’s musical direction. Luckily for us there remained a small, strong group of devoted metal heads in the US. This group, plus large groups of devoted metal fans in South America, helped to nudge the band back towards a classic metal sound. Bride responded in 2003 with This Is It, a hard rocking metal album that hardened the rock sounds of the '80’s, sounding as much like Guns N Roses as Cinderella.
Retroactive Records has now released This Is It (Expanded), which is a remastered expansion of that 2003 return to form. The entire project has been remastered & four demos (previously sold as part of the CDR-from-the-band-only release Raw) have been added, including three tracks not included on the initial release This Is It. Sonically, the sound is great. The remastering has bolstered the inherent crunchiness that the disc achieves. The Thompson brothers are still sounding great (Dale – vocals, Troy – guitars), and are ably backed-up by Michael Loy (Drums) and Lawrence Bishop (Bass) on this disc.
This Is It (Expanded) is a strong latter-day release from Bride. This disc is definitely recommended for fans who loved Snakes in the Playground’s edgy sound, screaming vocals, & guitar virtuosity. As an added bonus, Bride is one of the only bands that I have seen that still lists Bible references next to songs. You can rock your blues away and then, when you need a rest, pull out the Good Book for some study time. I can’t guarantee you’ll always agree with Dale’s theology, but at least you will have something to ponder and pray about. Now that’s old-school Christian metal at it’s finest!
By Jonathan Nelson