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Artist: Bride
Label: Retroactive Records
Time: 17 tracks/1:07:22 min.

Let me get this disclaimer out up front: I was a fan of Bride through their first decade or so of existence, but have not heard much since Fistful of Bees that really interested me.  I listened to Tsar Bomba hoping to hear a band going out with a bang ­ a bang big enough to change my opinion of the last few albums.

Well... my opinion still stands.  I can not say I found much that excites me about this album.

That being said, I also think that fans that have enjoyed Bride's recent output will also love this album.  They continue in the vein of Skin for Skin, reaching back to the first three Bride albums for a foundation while mixing in some modern influences and touches from every Bride album here and there.

That just does not work for me. Maybe it does for you ­ check them out on MySpace or any where else they might have streaming songs to see what you think. This is not necessarily a bad album ­ it just underwhelms more than it impresses. Maybe I am not getting in to this CD because of the muddy production.  I have hard time telling if I am hearing bad sonics or a band that is just dialing it in.  Or maybe it is just the overall slow nature of the album ­ there are many mid-paced heavy rockers here, but every song seems to stay at one of two default speeds (slow & medium). They don't have to have a thrash-fest, but to me it feels like the whole thing has a 55 mph speed limit. 

And can anybody explain why there is a really boring and long instrumental flamenco guitar version of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" on here? Man, that part was torture...

There are a few bright spots on the album, oddly enough those being the first and last songs.  Everything in between just seems to all meld in to the same song, which is fine once - but not 10 times over.

If you are a fan of Bride, you are going to get this no matter what I say. If you are not a fan of Bride, I can not say anything to change your mind.

By Matt Crosslin (January 22, 2010)

[] Matt Crosslin - editor of Down the Line, web designer,  occasional writer
I'm a major music fan with a great wife that cheerfully indulges my taste in "weird" music.  My wife and I love to travel to strange lands, but I can't get her to join me in watching obscure SciFi TV series from start to finish. 

It’s hard to believe Dale and Troy Thompson are still cranking out explosive hard rock/metal after 20 years. Tsar Bomba is possibly their strongest release since Snakes In the Playground. As a matter of fact, it’s heavier in all the right places. Instead of mellowing out like a Bon Jovi wannabe, they have carved their own niche and traveled the truly independent path. I’m sure stateside here, they don’t bring in the crowds they used to, but that does not make them irrelevant either. This brand of rock and roll is making a well-deserved comeback, so here’s hoping!

Tsar Bomba definitely has a heavy rock jam feel to it at points. Songs like “Love Shine” with a killer guitar solo and the heavy reggae, “We Are Together,” make you want to dance a heavenly dance, while “Never,” “Separate,” and “Last Thing I Feel” are straight on crunchers. Rediscover a band that has stood the test of time and is still on a mission to share the unchanging hope of Christ.

May 2010


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