Fans of Bride have held out for a true return to form for some years now, as “Snakes in the Playground” is often touted as this hard rock outfit’s most potent album. Released on 21 August 2018, “Snake Eyes” does not disappoint. I picked out a fragment of “Psychedelic Super Jesus” in “Intro”, which plays like fractured memories – snippets of song fading in left, then right before an almighty yawp from frontman, Dale Thompson kicks off “Fake News”. It’s a bold track that oozes attitude.
I love the energy in “Famous When I’m Dead” – it is not short of cowbell, and races by quickly. Around the middle, Troy Thompson delivers a tasty solo while Dale stretches his vocals in an elongated growl. I heard it said that the drums in this recording sound muffled, but listen to “John The Baptist” – especially how the toms ring in your ears – and I think you’ll agree that the clarity is there. “Think I’ll Build a Bomb” is a rock n roller, the riffing supplying just the right amount of sleaze. It’s a provocative title that comments on how pervasive violence is these days. That breakdown sounds downright ominous – I’m unsure of the production technique used, but the treatment on the vocals and/or the harmony leaves you feeling like a deranged individual is sharing a terrible secret with you. Shivers.
I wonder what I would discover if I had to play “The Real Jesus”, followed by “Psychedelic Super Jesus” off “Snakes in the Playground”? What differing perspectives do these two songs present regarding Jesus Christ? The reason I’m thinking along these lines is because you may have heard the recurring “Jesus Christ is knocking on the door of your heart today…” at the start of both albums. It may point to a link.
The chorus of “Lost Within A Song” has such melodic power, and I love how the guitar solo cascades over the top as the song fades out. While some commentators feel that the popularity of Guns n Roses around the time of “Use Your Illusion” influenced how some songs on “Snakes in the Playground” came out, I would argue that leaning towards that style of rock n roll didn’t do any harm. “Lost Within A Song” sounds current, and for me it’s great when a band moves with the times. Elements of the ballad are incorporated in “Laughter of It All” – “I dismiss my demons, my devils and the evil one” cueing a triumphant hard rock jam. It’s my favourite. Things turn contemplative in “The Painter” – “I embrace the empty hollow of my soul… Is God still there for me?” The song comments on the joy and torment of the creative process, and while it seems
the painter is stuck in a negative space, prayer remains a valuable lifeline.
“Call Out His Name” struts assuredly. “The prison is empty…” makes me think of Paul and Silas in prison (Acts 16:16-40), praying and singing hymns to God. A mighty earthquake shook the prison doors open, and shackles fell to the floor. What a mighty God we serve!
The band lost Steve Osborne (guitarist, 1986-88, 2009) to suicide in 2011. Often there are so many questions that remain, and “Other Side Of Suicide” tells me something about the low spirits that those who remain behind experience. We believe in Him who conquered death, and because of our faith we are saved. The album closes with “There’s Always Tomorrow”. The song starts with a soulful guitar solo and the words encourage us to remain steadfast, much as the apostle Peter encourages with these words:
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (1 Peter 5:10)
“Snake Eyes” scores a strong 8/10.
Written by Karakul
2. Fake News
3. Famous When I’m Dead
4. John the Baptist
5. Think I’ll Build a Bomb
6. The Real Jesus
7. Lost In a Song
8. Laughter of It All
9. The Painter
12. There’s Always Tomorrow
Troy Thompson – guitars
Dale Thompson – vocals
Nenel Lucena – bass
Alexandre Aposan – drums
Record Label: Retroactive Records
Release Date: August 21st 2018
Show No Mercy (full-length, 1986)
Live to Die (full-length, 1988)
Silence Is Madness (full-length, 1989)
Kinetic Faith (full-length, 1991)
Snakes in the Playground (full-length, 1992)
Scarecrow Messiah (full-length, 1994)
Drop (full-length, 1995)
The Jesus Experience (full-length, 1997)
Oddities (full-length, 1998)
Fist Full of Bees (full-length, 2001)
This Is It (full-length, 2003)
Skin for Skin (full-length, 2006)
Tsar Bomba (full-length, 2009)
Incorruptible (full-length, 2013) [review]
Snake Eyes (full-length, 21 August 2018)
Video (audio) for ‘John the Baptist’
Video (audio) for ‘Famous When I’m Dead’