Monday, November 25, 2013


Bride has always been one of those artists that people either love ‘em or hate ‘em.  In the beginning it was due to the music and at times abrasive vocals of lead singer Dale Thompson, now its theology.  Well I’m not focused theology here but on music. 

Retroactive Records has reissued the Bride The Lost Reels set and for many of us that is cause for rejoicing!  I missed the original issues back some 10 - 15 years ago now but have heard a lot of great things about them. Personally I’m all for digging up treasures that never appeared on officially released albums.  Sometimes the producers “produce out” the energy that made the songs great in a live setting.

With Bride that would be have a travesty because musically Bride has always been about the ENERGY that defined their sound.  If you’ve ever seen them live you’ll know exactly what I speak of, passionate, driving and mesmerizing. My first experience was in 1988 when they made their first trek to the West Coast and played the second HIS Festival.  We eagerly awaited their arrival of Dale and company and didn’t leave disappointed. They blew us away.

The Lost Reels Volume 1 is a 20 song affair that was originally part of the M8 double disc set with a disc of Matrix tracks (Bride’s original name was Matrix).  These twenty tracks are an amalgam of songs that didn’t quite fit for one reason or another on other Bride albums. There are some gems here (Pyramid comes immediately to mind) all remastered for greater clarity and frequency response.

The Lost Reels Volume 2 is a 14 song offering with demo tracks from the Star Song/Pure Metal years, Scarecrow Messiah, Snakes in the Playground and Kinetic Faith.  This disc is chock full of hits in their original form.  At times I wondered how these original tunes were crafted into the familiar melodies we all know and love.  Everybody Knows My Name is included here in its embryonic form closer to the Kinetic Faith version not the superior End of An Age version.  Hired Gun is great in any version and this rough demo shows why this is a classic piece of metal history. 

From the lyrics to the performance, Dez Dickerson had a lot to mold and help craft together, after all that is part of a producer’s job.  Scarecrow rocks here as well and for a bonus Retroactive was able to add Bride’s cover of Steve Taylor’s We Don’t Need Know Colour Code from the REX Steve Taylor compilation.

The Lost Reels Volume 3 contains demo tracks recorded for The Jesus Experience album.  Yet of the 11 songs recorded nine of them have didn’t appear on that album!! For the uninitiated it just shows how much work goes into songwriting and crafting a collection of songs for a release.  Many of the songs here definitely have a ‘modern’ edge to them but are well crafted and memorable.  The twelfth track Alive was originally included on the Heaven’s Metal Hard Music Compilation of which only 1000 copies were printed.

All three releases have been remastered by J Powell at Steinhaus and have again done a masterful job.  There is great clarity amongst all three releases and while the term ‘demo’ is used to describe many of the songs on these albums the quality is vastly superior to what one would expect from ‘demo’ tracks. No they aren’t completed but they were not recorded on a tape recorder in a garage. Many were recorded in studio with DAT (digital audio tape) directly or using a 32 channel mixing board.

Fans of Bride should be jumping for joy as these add a completed chapter to one of the long term purveyors of metal with a Christian point of view. A box set would’ve been nice but financially prohibitive.  Fans of Stryper, Bloodgood would enjoy these albums as well.  Grab your copy of these updated gems before they disappear again.

Fans of Bride this is a must buy so a 9 axe review…..

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013


While on the subject of black metal or unblack or sorrow metal or just extreme metal sometime back I received the latest from Hortor.  Entitled Dios De Dioses (God of gods) this 2013 release is full on musical extremism.  Hailing from Mexico, Hortor has been around since 2003

Decked out in corpse paint and creating enough guitar driven whimsy to ignite a firestorm this release is sure to please.  I found this more reminiscent of death metal than black metal. With a focus on melodies and the songs themselves if you’re looking for atmosphere you might want to look elsewhere. For this listener I focus on songs and melodies and production values.

The production is done well with good separation and solid upfront guitars that aren’t lost somewhere.  The drums are prominent and quality courtesy of Michael Cook. For those not in the know Cook drums for A Hill to Die Upon and contributed a blistering performance to this album.

Azmaveth offers up solid extreme vocals throughout while just rocketing on the guitar.  There aren’t any keyboards (piano yes) on this release but there are parts with classical guitars and the occasional woodwind. 

I found this to be an enjoyable release, albeit this form of metal isn’t my favorite.  Grave Declaration might reach my cd player first but none the less this album by Hortor was a bit of a surprise in good way.

Solid extreme music (in Spanish btw) which exalts the Lord Jesus Christ. Bombworks Records has delievered a sledgehammer of release.  Make no mistake this is the real deal and for fans of blackened death metal this album is a must.

7 axes
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Armath Sargon has been around quite a while releasing extreme metal (black or unblack whichever you would prefer) for quite sometime. If my information is correct since 2002 I believe, well this release from Sanctus Gladius entitled When Love is Dead is not a new album but a reissue.

Originally this was a limited issue of 300 copies via CDR when it was first released in 2011.  However those limitations are gone with this release.

This is not just a reissue, but has been completely remixed and remastered by the artist himself. I can’t attest to the differences between the releases but the sound quality of this particular release is pretty good by black metal standards.  It still seems to capture the sound and atmosphere of old Emperor and Dark Throne.

Those in the know have indicated to me that black metal is more about the ‘atmosphere’ than actual melodies to sing along (or scream which ever you prefer). In that case When Love is Dead has accomplished that as the atmosphere created here is one of a dark stormy knight amidst a blizzard in the Carpathian Mountains while traveling on a lonely trail by horseback.  While perhaps being chased by Riders in Black.

There are some solid tracks Casting the Spirits Away Pt. VI and Massive Termination of Souls come to mind. No these aren’t popcorn tracks but songs with daring melodies amidst the musical turmoil, which means you won’t be singing any choruses but perhaps humming a melody or two after these compositions reach their zenith.

As with all of Armath Sargon’s material the lyrics are bold in proclaiming the deity of Jesus Christ. One item of note which is not meant to be a footnote is upon request of the band the bands proceeds will go to the ministry work of Pastor Bob and the homeless ministry in Nashville.

Fans of Armath Sargon’s will want to grab this release and enjoy a new vision of a previously released work. Corpse paint is optional by the way…. 

7 axes
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