SWINGLE AND THOMPSON ORDAINED – The Thunder That Rocks The World (2021)
Never one to rest on his laurels, iconic Christian Rock vocalist Dale Thompson has started branching out from his signature band BRIDE into other projects. In 2020, a very bad year for live music and with Bride on hiatus, Thompson and guitarist Randy Swingle formed the new band SWINGLE AND THOMPSON ORDAINED.
“The Thunder That Rocks The World” is their debut album, delivering straightforward classic hard rock but also draws upon blues-rock, metal, funk, etc. The sound is some kind of mix between ALICE COOPER, GUNS N’ ROSES, a little HANOI ROCKS, BRIDE of course, and more.
This is a band / album of musicians from the Christian scene, and while some of the bands from there take a different approach, lyrics from “The Thunder That Rocks The World” are unabashedly Christian. Anyway, what matters in the end is the music, and we like what we hear on this CD.
Albums opening title track proves a hard rock anthem in the truest sense. Catchy, bursting of vim and stressed by exuberant bass, “The Thunder That Rocks The World” represents all that works well with the STO songwriting.
“Darkness Destroyed” is a rollicking, lively bass driven example of melodic hard rock to see non-stop hooks hold sway and Thompson shining with his trademark gritty and raspy vocal qualities. One cannot deny the commercial sensibilities.
Likewise, “Hurricane Force” with a similar (but not carbon copy) mirthful form in speaking of the joyful, jaunty and every bit non-stop hook filled. Soloing of Erik Nelson is not of a virtuoso kind but stays true to the song nonetheless.
“Stormz” is another top of the line cut, opening to air raid sirens prior to powering its span at a mid-tempo hard rock clip in touching upon the gallant if not all out victorious. I find the subtle punky lacings to guitars hard to resist.
Then “I Wanna Know” is served in a much more melodic form with slight worshipful additives but upholding straight rocking themes guitar wise. Particularly standing out is the manner in which Thompson lowers his register to lend a scratchy feel to his delivery.
You will also find three songs with a close affinity for Bride, with “Break Those Chainz” with its bluesy guitar signatures and undeniable hooks, and “The Stone Is Rolled Away” also blues influenced but bolder with an exultant if not uplifting feel and light acoustic lacings. “I Can’ Live Without You” hearkens back the Nineties with its reserved guitar tones and funk nuances, noting the blithe backing vocals for the refrain. Of note is the wonderful guitar work on the three.
“Destroyer Of Death” represents STO at its heaviest in reaching for traditional metal, with potent riffing from the start and projecting of a darker form its remaining distance as the band locks into an implacable groove. The strapping ‘destroyer of death!’ refrain bears striking resemblance to Saint’s “Destroyers” (off Time’s End) ‘Destroyers, destroyers of the world!’
But the band also shows other sides; “Let It Rain” projects of old school ’70s hard rock, while “No More A Slave” adds an upbeat melodic hard rock stance and its one of the best songs on the CD.
If Christian lyrics are ok for you, there is a lot to like about STO and its debut full length ”The Thunder That Rocks The World”. The group displays ability to compose a strong song when at its best, while Randy Swingle and Erik Nelson provide solid support musicianship wise, as does Thompson from vocally meshing with the earthly STO sound.
01 – The Thunder That Rocks the World
02 – Setting the World on Fire for God
03 – Darkness Destroyed
04 – I Wanna Know
05 – Hurricane Force
06 – Stormz
07 – Destroyer of Death
08 – Break Those Chainz
09 – The Stone Is Rolled Away
10 – I Can’t Live Without You
11 – Let It Rain
12 – Under the Blood
13 – No More a Slave
Dale Thompson – Lead Vocals
Randdy Swingle – Rhythm Guitars
Erik Nelson – Lead Guitar, Bass & Drums