BRIDE – Are You Awake (2023)

BRIDE - Are You Awake (2023) - full

BRIDE has long ranked among the standard-bearers within the blues based hard rock community, and that’s still true today. The veteran Louisville, Kentucky based act founded by brothers Dale (lead vocals) and Troy (guitars) Thompson traces its musical pedigree actually to straightforward heavy metal and its Pure Metal Records first three albums, Show No Mercy (1986), Live To Die (1988) and Silence Is Madness (1989).
Bride, however, did not discover its blues based hard rock calling until signing with Star Song Records for the iconic three to follow in Kinetic Faith (1991), Snakes In The Playground (1992) and Scarecrow Messiah (1994). Despite Bride’s religious / Christian metal background, these albums are highky respected by all the hard rock community world-wide.
Lately, the band modernized their sound still retaining the hard rock bones, and that’s what you hear on their new CD “Are You Awake“. Do you like how Skid Row sounds today? Then Bride’s new album is up your valley.

Driven by sharp multi-tracked guitar riffs (with headphones appear everywhere!) ”Are You Awake” is a very consistent album where quality doesn’t drops all way its 12-tracks. There’s a noticeable attention of refinements found in crisper guitars, transparent bass and presence-filled drums.
Opener “Ain’t No Loser” represents a quintessential Bride barnburner to see high-energy tempo and authoritative hooks combining with cowbell and closing honky-tonk piano, while following track “I Want To Live Again” takes a similar heading with the intense demeanor and ardent fervor to match but separates with a touch of pronounced low-end groove. Troy decorates each with his signatures (not to mention quite accomplished) blues based lead guitar.

The emboldened inclining maintains on the subsequent three. “We’re All Going To Die” impresses with its rumbling ‘whoa-whoa-whoa’ backing vocals, implacable tempo and some of albums most immediately catchy hooks and “Hammer Down” by aligning a blues soaked disposition and heavy hitting riffs. The two find Dale shining with his recognizable raw and earthy mid-ranged vocal abilities.
“12 O’Clock Apocalypse” is one of the highlights. It begins to heavy set bass ahead of the strident guitars to power its distance, thickset and weighty for its stringent verse sections but breaking out for full on aggression upon acquiring its starkly driven refrain. With its unadorned intensity, this one would sound at home on classic album 1992 ‘Snakes In The Playground’.

“Under My Skin” follows with a frenetic joining of furious tempos and tempestuous hooks as Dale snarls with the best of them- you will be challenged to keep the quirkily engaging ‘you’re at it again, you’re under my skin’ chorus out of your head.
In similar vein is album’s precipitous title track, with its boisterous momentum and reverberating vocal melodies- “Are You Awake” might not be the catchiest but its churlish temperament cannot help but draw in. Of particular is now Troy lends classical instrumentation to the instrumental moments of former and Greg Campbell a virtuoso bass line to latter.

Bride exhibits a melodic side to its songwriting on “On With The Show”, a smoothly flowing hard rocker to build slowly until a cacophony of engaging riffs and harmonies take over carry the remaining stately span. Likewise, “Trippin’” might be albums most commercial with its supremely engaging melody and beguiling bass line, but it does not forsake muscle as found in the muscular guitars to burst forth periodically.

Lone ballad “All I Wanted” brings needed ingredients in the form of acoustic guitar, mandolin and cello to extent classic Bride ballads “I Miss The Rain” (Snakes In The Playground) and Sweet Louise (Kinetic Faith) come to mind.
Album closes to a pair of Bride style slammers in “Human State”, an exhilarating transitioning between engaging guitar riffs and periodic excursions into slower acoustic territory, and “Pull The Trigger”, reveling in a pensive heaviness to see slug-fest guitars and chaotic rhythms collide to make a statement every bit aggressive as the songs title.

Bride joins the ranks of Eighties contemporaries Stryper and Saint by proving that like fine wine veteran bands only get better over time.
As for ”Are You Awake”, it presents with a choice selection of songs and backs it with one of the finest production efforts of the various comeback albums. Every bit notable is the emphasis on a heavier sound – Troy Thompson is a monster guitar player – and the bluesy, referencing Dale Thompson’s soulful delivery.
Bride is not just ‘making some music’ after all these years but (along with as noted Stryper and Saint) creating refreshing and relevant Hard Rock in 2023.
Highly Recommended


01 – Ain’t No Loser
02 – I Want To Live Again
03 – We’re All Going to Die
04 – Hammer Down
05 – 12 O’Clock Apocalypse
06 – Under My Skin
07 – On With the Show
08 – Are You Awake
09 – Trippin’
10 – All I Wanted
11 – Human State
12 – Pull the Trigger


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