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Release Date: June 2006
Record label: Retroactive Records www.retroactiverecords.net
Distribution: Brutal Planet Distribution / firstname.lastname@example.org
Album: THIS IS IT (EXPANDED)
Product ID: RAR7819
Style: Heavy Metal
Insert: four panel / full color
Total Tracks: 17
Bonus Tracks: Four tracks. Demo versions of one previous released, and three unreleased songs
Total Time: 70 minutes
ABOUT THE ALBUM
This album was originally released independantly by the band in 2003. Retroactive Records was so impressed with THIS IS IT, and Bride has sold so strongly through the years, the decision was made to re-release the album with label support. Always looking for ways to give more to the fans, we have digitally remastered the entire album, greatly improving the already killer sound quality. As an added bonus, we added four tracks from the pre-THIS IS IT, demo entitled RAW, and sold only though the band's web site for a very brief period of time (as burned CD-Rs) before the release of THIS IS IT. Three of these tracks never made it to the THIS IS IT album, and thus are completely exclusive to this Retroactive Records release. One of the four tracks was re-recorded for the album, but the demo version allows the fans a sneak peak into how the song began.
KEY SELLING POINTS
·A legendary, Dove Award wining Christian metal band that has proven to sell well with every album
·Digitally Re-mastered for superior sound AND includes FOUR unreleased bonus tracks!
·For fans of Disciple, Pillar, Tesla, Guns-N-Roses, Extreme and great melodic metal
·Will be featured on upcoming HM Magazine compilation CD that will be mailed to 5000 subscribers
·Featured on the Lightning Strikes Twice promotional CD sampler by Retroactive Records
·HM Magazine & Heaven’s Metal Magazine Ad campaigns
·Radio and Magazine Review promo campaign
Bride has managed to survive the test of time and reach its third decade of existence. After getting started in the eighties with the classic metal influences of Show No Mercy, Live To Die and Silence Is Madness, a makeover in the bands sound led to the blues based hard rock of its early nineties releases Kinetic Faith, Snakes In The Playground and Scarecrow Messiah. Critics and fans alike attest to the fact Bride reaches its creative pinnacle during this period of its history and that Snakes... represented the bands highest artistic achievement. Following the wonderful acoustic laced Drop, Bride released the modern hard rock of The Jesus Experience in 1997 before recording Oddities later in the decade. The turn of the century saw Bride move in a rap-influenced hard rock direction with Fistful Of Bees (an album you will either love or hate). On its eleventh full length studio release entitled This Is It, however, I am pleased to announce that Bride has returned to its Snakes… style hard rock roots.
Bride finds itself in top form musically on This Is It, an album delivering as promised a guitar driven hard rock sound combining the bands solid musicianship with consistent and well crafted songwriting. Frontman Dale Thompson has not lost his touch over the years, his classic hard rock voice still coming across with the same abundant energy, range and passion. While guitarist Troy Thompson has often been an overlooked and underrated musician, This Is It provides him with plenty of opportunity to display both his very fine rhythm guitar playing and sharp sounding lead guitar work. Bassist Lawrence Bishop and drummer Michael Loy round out the rhythm section.
Please note that This Is It was initially released independently by Bride back in 2003. However, Retroactive Records, impressed with Bride’s sales over the years, made the decision to digitally re-master the album and re-release it with four bonus tracks from the bands pre-This Is It demo Raw along with new album artwork.
Bride - This Is It - independent version
The production values to the original version of This Is It prove disappointing in highlighting thin and weak sounding sonics. The rhythm guitar comes across flat and transparent, while the drums lack the needed punch and presence. Only the bass and lead guitar rise above the mix as they should.
The digitally re-mastered Expanded version, on the other hand, literally comes to life in allowing for a crisper rhythm guitar sound and drums that now stand out in the mix in the cleaner sounding manner. The difference in the sonics between the two is literally night and day- which makes purchasing the Expanded version of This Is It essential.
Bride proves in no uncertain terms it is back in full force on "Blow It All Away", an exceptionally strong album opener combining a great catchy hook in its chorus with a message based around the fact God's Kingdom is not of this world:
If my Kingdom were of this world today
I think I'd blow it all away
Troy contributes over thirty seconds of blistering lead guitar work to an instrumental break ending with a scream from Dale.
The run-of-the-mill Bride style hard rocker "To The Sky" proves a bit of a let down in following "Blow It All Away". Kicking in strong and steady, the song slows upon reaching its first verse prior to gaining momentum for a chorus I might describe as average-to-good at best. At its halfway point "To The Sky" transitions to a slowly played guitar line ensued by an aggressive rhythm guitar and a scream from Dale.
Introduced to several seconds of open air rhythm guitar, "More Than Human" moves forward to a crunchy riff before it picks up in pace upon reaching a deep sounding chorus with a good catchy hook. Troy adds several seconds of fiery lead guitar work to a song challenging its listeners to look upon themselves in the same manner Christ does:
Jesus never condemned
Jesus He forgave
Never took revenge
Christ we will be saved
We are, here to save your souls
Troy's wonderful blues based lead guitar work opens the groove flavored "Drop D". Progressing through its first verse to a choppy rhythm guitar, the laid back atmosphere is maintained as the song peaks for a stylish chorus ending to several seconds of bluesy riffing. A grit-laden guitar solo drives a nice extended instrumental passage. "Drop D" details the importance of trusting Christ when other let us down:
It's judgment day when you step in with me
Tell the Lord Jesus just what you have done
Made me promises, it seems so cruel
But, what you've done to me comes back on you
Got The Right!
To be loved and be loved
Every time I'm up
You wanna bring me down
"Head Looking For A Bullet" begins to a heavy handed riff underscored by a punchy bass line, the two carrying the song at an upbeat tempo to a strong hard hitting chorus. Subsequent to a blistering solo, "Head Looking For A Bullet" slows as Dale describes how as Christians we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds:
In the desert of my mind in the in-part realm of time
At the Place of the Skull count all my bones
In the valley of decision on the island of despair
Cut off my way of thinking I will see you there
"Best I Expect To Do" is held back by its lack of a noteworthy melody line. Quickly jumping out of the gate, the songs slows at the start of its first verse only to pick up in pace for a chorus that does not quite hold up when compared to the albums better material. Troy closes out an instrumental break opening to a bass solo with more of his gritty lead guitar work.
Advancing through its verse portions at a mid-tempo pace to a crisp rhythm guitar, the hard rocking "Evil Geniuses" gains momentum upon attaining a very fine melodic flavored chorus. An aggressively played guitar solo brings out the best in a song in which Dale takes a tongue and cheek look at the bands critics:
To all my critics, the cynics who want me to go away
What keeps me going? Why don't I quit?
I'm not a loser like you, a reviewer like you
The song goes on to take an almost condescending tone:
If your life is so redundant, so boring
So routine, so bland, uninspired
That you go to invade mine
Get into my affairs
Infiltrate my beliefs
However, I could not sum things up any better than in the following line:
I preach the same Christ
The same grace, the blood saves
"Revolution" starts as a guitar bounces between the left and right channel before a driving riff briefly takes over the mix. After a heavy duty bass line pushes the song through its first verse, the rhythm guitar returns to propel "Revolution" to an in your face and no-nonsense chorus. Troy follows with a red hot guitar solo. "Revolution" is about getting the message of Christ to those who need to hear it the most:
Your sound goes out to all the earth
Your words to the ends of the world
There is no speech nor dialect
Where your voice is not heard
Similar to "Saltriver Shuffle" (from Snakes In The Playground), "Barren River Blues" features a guest appearance by Greg Martin (Kentucky Headhunters). In the end, the two songs are comparable in that "Barren River Blues" also moves in an acoustic laced blues based direction.
"Microphone" gets underway to an upfront mix of edgy rhythm guitar before slowing as it moves through its first verse in a deep and heavy manner. Picking up in pace, the song peaks for a chorus in which at its end Dale yells, "You can hear me/CUZ I HAVE A MICROPHONE!" The rhythm guitar accentuates a minute long instrumental passage ending to a brief guitar solo. "Microphone" talks about spreading the good news of Christ:
The truth, the hurt, the Spirit, the Word
The Voice, the choice, who will you serve
The life, the Blood, the tree, the love
I've paid my dues/below and above
A pounding riff combined with what the liner notes describe as "inhuman vocal noises" initiates "Short Time In The Grave". Subsequent to the song moving forward in a guitar driven fashion, it reaches a chorus with a catchy refuse to go away hook. Several seconds of lead guitar introduces an instrumental passage ending to an aggressive sounding rhythm guitar. "Short Time In The Grave" focuses on the testing of our faith:
I know what its like to burn
I'm in flames every day
Are you still afraid of me?
Cause I feel your pain
Following a bit of guitar feedback, "Universe" commences to a pounding riff before stopping dead in its tracks as a heavy duty bass line drives its first verse. The rhythm guitar, however, returns to the front of the mix as the song reaches a good forcefully delivered chorus. Troy contributes some of the albums finest lead guitar work throughout a minute long instrumental break.
"White Elephant", the albums lone ballad, embarks to a quietly played guitar line that takes the song through its first verse until it tapers off even further for a brief but slowly moving chorus. The album closes to over a minute of bluesy lead guitar work in line with the songs emotional feel. "White Elephant" is about unconditional love:
Do you hate me as much as I love you?
As for the Raw demo, it is aptly named in that it sounds, well, on the raw side. Of the four songs here from Raw, two - “Blow It All Away” and “Bring Me Down” (under the new title “Drop D”) – appear on This Is It. The two remaining tracks include the bluesy hard rocker “Is This The Now” and “Burning Love”, a more mid-tempo paced number that highlights a catchy hook in its chorus.
It is great to hear Bride return to its hard rock roots on This Is It, an album that might rank a notch or two below Snakes... but still proves a strong and worthwhile release. And while I hit the skip button once or twice, Bride has delivered several noteworthy winners in "Blow It All Away", "More Than Human", "Drop D", "Revolution" and "Universe". My final thoughts here are that if you own the original version of This Is It then by all means get the Expanded Retroactive version as well. The improved sonics as a result of the digital re-mastering and the four bonus tracks make it an essential purchase. Let's hope the straightforward hard rock direction of This Is It remains a trend and not a one shot deal!
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: "Blow It All Away" (4:29), "To The Sky" (4:12), "More Than Human" (3:53), "Drop D" (3:34), "Head Lookin’ For A Bullet" 4:06), "Best I Expect To Do" (3:23), "Evil Geniuses" (4:38), "Revolution" (4:46), "Barren River Blues" (1:46), "Microphone" (4:39), "Short Time In The Grave" (3:47), "Universe" (4:59), "White Elephant" (4:22)
Dale Thompson – Lead Vocals
Troy Thompson – Guitars, Sitar, Cello & Violin
Lawrence Bishop – Bass
Michael Loy – Drums & Percussion
Greg Martin - Guitars
NO LIFE TIL METAL REVIEW
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
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