Saturday, January 15, 2011
Of the first three Bride albums Live to Die was this band at its zenith, hands down. As part of Retroactive’s series of albums entitled The Originals, Live to Die deserves not only to be resurrected this way but also revisited for its impact.
1988 was a year of Christian Metal madness. Debut albums from Sacred Warrior, Vengeance, and Shout along with new releases from Saint, Bloodgood and Barren Cross all peppered the landscape. However, one of those summer albums which just took everyone by storm was the sophomore release from Kentucky’s Bride. Live to Die had a cleaner sound production wise than their debut release, Show No Mercy. Perhaps the most ironic thing was amidst all of the descriptions for Bride musically was perhaps one of their most enduring qualities, they just don’t really sound like anyone else. They definitely were not a ‘hair metal’ outfit at this time, even if some of their stage garb reflected some of that. Bride had more in common with Savatage than Def Leppard; they were a straight up metal act with that already had developed a rabid fan base. This album also featured some of the most intense vocalizations from Dale Thompson ever.
Lyrically they weren’t a ‘Jesus Saves’ band. They were evangelistic, but not in the same way as say a Stryper. Although a Christian worldview was present, each song was not a three evangelistic tract. Personally I believe that is why these albums hold up so well.
This remastered version simply screams, Fire and Brimstone, Whiskey Seed, Live to Die, Heroes and Hell No never sounded this heavy, or this powerful. All the energy that was poured into the original recording is finally given a chance to shine, with all the warmth and strength that a modern mastering job can do.
The increased bass response fills out the overall sound and provides solid bedrock for the rest of the music. The midrange tones that almost sound shrill (hi-hat) are given their due but put in their appropriate place. The guitars receive a great boost which makes the album just sound harder.
Listening to the intro to album closer Heroes is even more eerie. One thing that Bride never can be accused of is failing to create an atmosphere. Subtleties throughout this release are heard with even more precision, they’re not nebulous quiet parts but elements of the album that deserve to be heard.
Live to Die was one of the best albums of 1988, and Bride were one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen. I had the privilege of seeing their first West Coast performance, not only did they not disappoint but they tore the roof off the place. It was incredible.
This package is a six panel digi pack; Troy Thompson provides some nice reflections of the period.
If you can’t figure out which of these Bride discs to get first, this one is it. As pivotal as Snakes in the Playground would be in several years, Live to Die is one of the high points for this band metal missionaries. A pure heavy metal classic which should be heard and enjoyed.