|Musical Style: Hard Rock/Acoustic||Produced By:|
|Record Label: Retroactive||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 2013||Artist Website: Bride|
|Tracks: 20/15/12||Rating: No Quote|
Real longevity is rare in the music industry. Only a handful of bands survive past the two to three decade mark and fewer still maintain the ambition that would allow them to make new music on a consistent basis. To understand my point one need take a close look at the Christian metal bands from the eighties that released comeback albums in 2013: Stryper (No More Hell To Pay), Bloodgood (Dangerously Close), Deliverance (Hear What I Say!), Sacred Warrior (Waiting In Darkness) and Bride (Incorruptible).
Bloodgood and Sacred Warrior each went over 20 years before recording new music, while Stryper has remained productive following a 10 year hiatus, with 7 albums (3 studio, 2 covers, 1 live and 1 compilation) and 1 live DVD to its credit. Deliverance represents one of the steadiest of the lot but has also presented with several 5 to 6 year gaps between releases. Only Bride has maintained that “real longevity” in question in that not only has the group never taken an extended break since its 1986 debut Show No Mercy but has put out a new album no less than every 2 to 3 years. Unlike the others, Bride has proven a constant presence in what amounts a demanding and ever changing metal and hard rock scene- and for that give them full credit.
As one might imagine, a band with Bride’s output has accumulated quite the backlog of unreleased material. Enter the Lost Reels, a trio of compilation albums put out by Bride in the mid-nineties made up of both songs that never appeared on any other Bride album and demo versions of songs that would later be re-recorded. The fall of 2013 finds Retroactive Records re-mastering (by J Powell at Steinhaus) and re-issuing Lost Reels I, II & III with each in a full color 4-panel digi-pak and featuring new album artwork.
Lost Reels I
Lost Reels I encompasses mostly never before released songs taken from four different Bride recording sessions between 1988 and 1993.
Tracks 1-5 - Recorded in 1993:
The first series of Lost Reels tracks find Bride in its mid-nineties blues based hard rock prime. Many will recognize “Hold On” from Bride’s 1995 release Drop, with the Lost Reels version taking the more spirited heading as opposed to the chugging and plodding aspect of its Drop counterpart. “Fine Line” and “Only Hurts When I Laugh” bring a bluesy and groove based sound not unlike that of Scarecrow Messiah, while “Lisa” starts acoustic before turning into a gritty hard rocker (and would fit right in on Kinetic Faith as a result).
Tracks 6-9 - Recorded in 1989:
You would think that the 1989 Silence Is Madness era Bride demo material would mirror the straight on metal in which it had gained renown, but such is not the case. Interestingly, Bride was experimenting with an acoustic blues driven sound rooted heavily in classic rock. “Hollywood”, for instance, is bare bones acoustic rock and “I Am The Devil”, another Drop track, a creative attempt at a dramatic progressive sound (also with its share of acoustic elements). When Bride kicks up the tempo, such as on the lively “I Don’t Get It” and at times groovy and others funky “Sugar”, they barely touch upon hard rock (by no means a fault in that both are quite good).
Tracks 10-12 - Recorded in 1988:
The songs from 1988 represent some of Bride’s rawest, grittiest and heaviest rocking to appear on LR1. “Good Rock ‘N’ Rock”, “Dirty” and “18” are all cut from the same mold with up-tempo hooks and malicious high energy that melds the groups metal driven sound of the time with some of the bluesy proclivities it pursued at the start of the nineties. I would have liked to hear a few more tracks along this line.
Tracks 13-20 - Recorded in 1992:
In my opinion, the 1992 material features the best combination of songwriting and production of the four periods represented. Yes, this is when Bride was at its blues based hard rocking best, with the darker and slower demeanor to “Help” and “Could You Live In My World” and heavier direction of “Think About Our Future” and “Pyramid” sounding as if written with any of the early nineties releases in mind.
Some acoustic aspects are present as well, with “Sleepy Southern Town” crossing the line of country rock (by no means a fault in that vocalist Dale Thompson’s voice lends to the style at hand). “Echo Of Mercy” and “I Miss Dancing With You” are also acoustic, with the former mellower and gentler and latter bringing the more forthright milieu.
Lost Reels II
Demo versions of songs that appeared on Kinetic Faith, Snakes In The Playground and Scarecrow Messiah comprise Lost Reels II. Yes, production reflects some rough edges when placed alongside the originals, but fails to overshadow hearing altered versions of songs that are widely regarded as classics.
Note the slower cadence to the chorus of “Scarecrow”, now repeating the phrase “Scare-crow-messiah” as opposed to “Scarecrow (pause) all alone”, while “Beast” comes across that much more weightier (with Dale lending some lower-register grit to his delivery). “Same Ol’ Sinner” takes a full on blues-rock approach with clapping hands, harmonica and added use of slide guitar. Likewise, End Of The Age companion track “Everybody Knows My Name” plays up a bluesy essence in still proving one of Bride’s best ever songs (even if in a slightly raw form).
Kinetic Faith mainstays play up their variances as well: “Ever Fallen In Love” still has a high energy focus but now features the bass carrying the verses with intertwining piano and soulful female backing vocals the chorus. “Young Love” comes across roughly hewn with an almost punk-like vibe (in no way a critique). Also, note the boogie-woogie instrumental breakdown with complementary grand piano. “Kiss The Train” is missing its acoustic lacings but otherwise stays true to its album equivalent.
Of the Snakes In The Playground tracks, “I Miss The Rain” receives the greatest altering with airy keyboards and female backing vocals giving it the full ballad treatment. Chorus moves at the slower tempo to the extent it almost comes across as a completely different song. “Some Things Never Change” also heads at a reduced pace in shedding its funk-groove elements and rapid-fire vocal delivery at the end. “Rattlesnakes” (known as “Rattlesnake” on Snakes…) might have been shortened by a minute but is not that much different from its Snakes… opposite.
One of the highlights to LR2 is the cover of Steve Taylor’s “We Don’t Need No Colour Code” (originally released on the I Predict A Clone compilation). Bride imbues its trademark hard rock flair with massive guitars, punch-driven low-end and plodding chorus (at least in comparison to the original) setting the hulking tone. The quality is such I wish Bride experimented a bit more with covers throughout its career.
Lost Reels III
Lost Reels III features professionally recorded demo tracks from The Jesus Experience sessions. The key word being “professionally” in that you will encounter some of the best production of the three Lost Reels releases here. Nine of the twelve tracks never appeared on any other Bride album. Musically, they hint of the modern hard rock and 90’s grunge overtones inherit to The Jesus Experience but laced with Bride’s trademark blues based hard rock (also noting occasional doses of built in Zeppelinesque swagger).
As for The Jesus Experience, I am a fan and always considered it one of Bride’s more underrated albums (ranking alongside Drop in this capacity). Please also note how the demo material is by no means “leftovers” or “second bests and more than holds its own when compared to that appearing on The Jesus Experience. This would be the best way to describe “Guilty”, crashing and thumping to its stupendous drum sound, and One Race”, heavier and aggressive with a curtly done milieu. “Cover Dry Bones” brings the needed catchy guitar driven heaviness, while “What Am I Supposed To Do?” rushes its length at near breakneck speed (as fast a track you will hear fro Bride).
Tempering things to a mid-paced heading are “I Believe”, more laid back but no-nonsense at the same time, and “What Are We?”, a pointed joining of the churning and funk laden. Tempo slows even further for the relaxed semi-ballad flavorings to the melodic based “I’m Not Alone” in addition to “Alive” with its unplugged folk rock facets (also appearing on the Heaven’s Meta Hard Music compilation Volume 1 under the title “I’m Alive”.
As a total package, the three Lost Reels albums do a good job highlighting Bride’s backlog of unreleased material. While all three make necessary purchases for Bride fans as a result (regardless of era), each serves its own unique purpose: LR1 by showcasing late eighties to early nineties Bride; LR2 for providing a demo compilation from the groups first three nineties releases; LR3 with its quality tracks recorded as part of The Jesus Experience sessions. As a result, the following question begs answer: What other unreleased material does Bride have sitting in the vault? Perhaps this will lead to further releases in the Lost Reels series such as Lost Reels IV or even Lost Reels V.
Track Listing (Lost Reels I): “How Long” (3:45), “Fine Line” (4:17), “Only Hurts When I Laugh” (3:37), “Lisa” (3:48), “Let The Son Shine” (2:46), “I Don't Get It” (3:16), “Hollywood” (4:01), “Sugar” (2:47), “I Am The Devil” (4:31), “Good Rock ‘N” Roll” (3:10), “Dirty” (3:03), “18” (3:02), “Help” (3:33), “Could You Live In My World” (3:41), “Think About Our Future” (5:00), “Sleepy Southern Town” (2:48), “Pyramid” (4:19), “Echoes of Mercy” (3:00), “I Miss Dancing With You” (3:48), “It's the Devil” (4:15)
Track Listing (Lost Reels II): “Scarecrow” (3:35), “Place” (3:17), “Beast” (4:44), “Some Things Never Change” (4:15), “Same Ol’ Sinner” (3:56), “I Miss The Rain” (4:41), “Kiss The Train” (4:15), “Everybody Knows My Name” (4:13), “Hired Gun” (4:25), “Ever Fallen In Love” (4:05), “Young Love” (3:25), “Sweet Louise” (4:50), “Rattlesnakes” (3:37), “Would You Die For Me” (3:41), “We Don’t Need No Colour Code” (4:07)
Track Listing (Lost Reels III): Track Listing: “Guilty” (2:49), “One Race” (3:04), “Break My Spine” (3:20), “Cosmic Christ” (3:35), “Cover Dry Bones” (4:10), “What Am I Supposed to Do?” (2:56), “I Believe” (3:16), “Days Of Shame” (3:28), “I'm Trying To Tell You” (2:49), “What Are We?” (4:17), “I'm Not Alone” (4:39), “Alive” (4:00)