Many of the bands who set the stage for today\’s Christian metal world are still going strong and creating good music. One of those bands, Bride, have always had a very strong message and stayed close to what they believe while including it in their lyrics.
Bride also features one of the most recognizable voices, that of singer Dale Thompson. Their latest record, Incorruptible, is Bride at their best and shows the band tapping into some of their most emotional, darkest, and heaviest records they\’ve released yet- something not many bands this far into their career can say.
Their legacy is deep, strong and influential and virtually every Christian metal band today can probably say they were influenced by Bride. Frontman Thompson recently sat down with The Front Row Report to talk about Incorruptible, the band\’s legacy, his novels and more:
TFRR: Let’s start with the new record, Incorruptible, which released on October 30. I feel like Incorruptible is strong in that it captures everything Bride is all about and features a good combination of Bride’s musical evolutions. Was this something you meant to have happen?
DT: We only wanted to write and record the best material that we could. It just so happens that I guess we hit upon a little of every Bride era on this one.
TFRR; Was there anything specific you wanted to touch on subject-wise with this record? What was the main focus when it came to writing this record?
DT: I wrote the lyrics from a long period of emotion and pain. I tried to capture the intensity of a divorce after a 26 year marriage. My divorce inspired me and helped me to identify with emotions I had never incurred before. It is a roller coaster lyrically and I think Troy\’s musical writing complimented what I had gone through.
TFRR: In your eyes, how does Incorruptible measure up to albums of Bride’s past?
DT: There is no doubt this is Bride at our best because we had great confidence going into this project. My vision was clear and the direction was certain on what we wanted to accomplish. I never guessed that my heart would be captured so true on the CD.
TFRR: If anything I think Incorruptible is right on track with the later release?
DT: Incorruptible is our most mature CD for sure.
TFRR: Bride’s metal sound evolved a lot over the years. Is there any area of metal that you wish Bride had explored?
DT: I think we covered it all, some better than others. We wrote what we felt and did not follow trends though we were accused of it. We produced what we liked.
TFRR: You recently said this would be Bride’s final record and the band would be hanging it up. Looking back, what stands out the most about the long career Bride has had? What are some of the standout albums in your eyes?
DT: Of course Snakes in the Playground is something that people keep talking about. I guess most of the 90\’s are what I remember best. It is when we sold the most CDs and toured the most countries. It was our introduction to Brazil and our love affair with the culture and people of Brazil.
TFRR: Cornerstone Festival has been done for a few years now, but I’ve always wondered- Bride played the festival a few times so are there any memories you have from Cornerstone?
DT: The problem I had with Cornerstone was the behind the scenes aggression of the people that worked the stages we played. We had good times for sure. I think 93 we played and it was great but I also was pretty much ran out of there one year as well because our time was up in the merchandise tent and we were impolitely told not asked to pack up and leave. We were literally selling t-shirts out of the van as we rolled out the gate.
TFRR: As the frontman and founder of one of the most prolific Christian metal bands, what do you think of the success many Christian rock bands are having breaking into the secular market in recent years?
DT: I think success is a great thing. I would have loved to have broken through into the secular market like POD or Switchfoot.
TFRR: Tell me a little bit about Soul Sabbath, your novel. Where did the idea come from and now that Bride is nearing the end, would novels be something you might do to continue writing?
DT: Glad you ask. Soul Sabbath was my first of four novels in “The Eternal Mortal Series.” I was first inspired to write when I saw a program on the Codex Gigas. From Wikipedia: The Codex Gigas (English: Giant Book) is the largest extant medieval manuscript in the world. It is also known as the Devil\’s Bible because of a large illustration of the devil on the inside and the legend surrounding its creation. It is thought to have been created in the early 13th century in the Benedictine monastery of Podlažice in Bohemia (modern Czech Republic). It contains the Vulgate Bible as well as many historical documents all written in Latin.
My book is about the monk that wrote the book and how he loses his soul by being absorbed by the book, then about his quest to regain his soul through time travel.
TFRR: You\’ve done some solo work as well over the years How has that allowed you to expand musically outside of Bride?
DT: The solo works really did not afford me any luxuries or accommodate me other than for me to explore a different style of creativity. I have always been a Tom Waits fan and most of my solo work was written in that same type spirit. It is experimental blues.
TFRR: Here’s a random one, which has probably been beaten into the ground- how close did you actually come to joining Stryper full time?
DT: I could have joined Stryper full-time but I really do not think it was even close because I never quit Bride while singing for Stryper. Robert Sweet and I had many discussions at his home about me joining Stryper but at the end of the day Stryper is not Stryper without Michael.
TFRR: Do you listen to any present day Christian music, rock or metal? If so, who are some of the bands you’d consider to be “the future” of Christian rock and metal? Are there any that stand out from the pack?
DT: I really do not listen to much metal. I do like Switchfoot. I am not very familiar with new bands or what is even happening in the world of Christian Rock anymore.
TFRR: What led to the Bride book and is it still a work in progress? For those who may not be familiar with it, what will fans get from the experience of reading it?
DT: I wanted to document some of our journey and write the story accurately. Unless Troy finishes it one day I have no intent to write on it anymore. Most of the details have escaped me.
TFRR: Many consider Snakes in the Playground to be one of the best Bride albums. I’ve always wondered- what is the meaning behind “Rattlesnake?”
DT: Snakes in the Playground CD is mainly about drugs, gangs and the underworld that people have to live in and around every day. “Rattlesnake” the song is about how people turn their kids lose into the world without proper direction and in doing so they might as well have dropped rattlesnakes in a playground full of kids playing. Life can be joyous or it can be venomous.
TFRR: How did Bride’s ministry evolve or change over the years?
DT: Right around the “Fist Full of Bees” release our ministry changed when I stepped away from traditional teaching of hell fire and brimstone and I stopped using scare tactics to reach the lost. That is when I began to understand the character and nature of God as was demonstrated by the life of Jesus and I embraced love more fervently.
This did not go over very well with some hardliners who thought that the message of hell and damnation was a must to detour sin. I found that Love conquers a multitude of sin and that is the message I gladly share today. We went from being your average evangelistic group to a group that promoted love and identity in Christ Jesus. We matured from the \”turn or burn\” message to the message of reconciliation.
TRR: Finally, what advice would you give to a Christian whose maybe fallen away and trying to come back to their faith or who’s having trouble with their faith?
DT: It is not easy but one must let go and trust God to catch them. This is called faith. Faith takes courage and trust. I would encourage everyone to when they have done all they can do to stand, to stand.