Could this be the last Bride album? It seems like this line has been tossed around for decades since “Tsar Bomba” if not earlier. There is a greater chance now than ever, but why should we worry? Much like the apocalypse, we know not the hour when Bride will stop rocking, but for now let’s turn our attention to the newest offering of the Early Fathers of Christian Metal.
For those that are new to Bride, they have been making music in one form or another since 1983. The constant nucleus of the band are brothers Dale and Troy Thompson who handle vocals and guitars respectively. They have adapted to the musical trends while keeping their own approach to evangelical hard rock and metal. With many long-running bands, there are questions around what to expect; what have they played now that they haven’t played yet? Is it better than their hallmark record (which would be “Snakes on the Playground” for Bride)?
“Are You Awake?” is an incredibly catchy, true-to-form Bride record from top to bottom. Twelve tracks of metal-infused hard rock that connect together to form a cohesive work that would play well next to “Snakes” but show a musical maturity from a four decade career. They thrive at the higher tempos with in-your-face lyrics, but take breaks to show their musical sensitivity with slower heavier tunes like “12 O’Clock Apocalypse” and the ballad “All I Wanted.” Although this isn’t my go-to style, the record has grown on me with each play.