I remember the early days of Christian metal band Bride, and their second album Live to Die, with some fondness. I always liked this band, and had all their albums in those early years. Bride was Eighties heavy metal, but different. Call them eccentric. While most Christian bands were playing catch up, by six months to a year, to secular trends, Bride was cutting their own path.
Above, Bride: from the Eighties, vintage photo, and vintage poodle hair.
Maybe it was Dale Thompson's vocals: a possible combination of Geddy Lee and Rob Halford. Or maybe just Geddy off the rails. Perhaps it was brother Troy's eclectic and interesting guitar work. It was always surprising. Somehow Bride didn't fit in either world, Christian or secular. They were evangelistic, persuasive rather than pushy. They were progressive against the imitation that characterized most Christian acts. (Think of all the glam bands that Christian labels tried to push upon the brethren back in the day, possibly excepting Stryper.)
But Live to Die was seminal and significant for the band. A better studio, and an actual producer, was supplied by Pure Metal for these young Kentucky upstarts. Live to Die screamed metal, as much as Dale screamed. Fans and critics found it heavier than Show No Mercy. It was sometimes technical, often accessible, and also quirky. Contrasting a metal anthem, Metal Might, against the evangelistic innuendo of Hell No and Heroes. Yes, they could somehow mimic contemporaries on the other side of the veil: Fire and Brimstone could have been a Judas Priest song. Admonitions against social tragedies are found in Whiskey Seed, typical of Christian vents of the time. Odes to the conquering Christ at the end of the age are suggested in Here Comes the Bride. Throughout, between song arrangements, vocal reelings, and the abnormally inventive (at least for Christians at the time) fret machinations, Live to Die challenged and charmed.
Bride, loaded with talent, vision, and peculiarities would continue this extravagance on Kinetic Faith (1991) and most recently on the profound Tsar Bomba (2009). Give credit where credit is due: in the Christian ghetto of contemporary music in the Eighties, Bride rose above the fray. Get this. Strongly recommended.