COMPANY OF SNAKES
Burst The Bubble
For fans of last years ‘Here They Go Again (live)’, ‘Burst The Bubble’ affirms that there is still some serous swagger left in the dynamic-duo of Mick Moody and Bernie Marsden. But the road for COS has been a rocky one. Maybe that’s what makes the music so real. Years ago Moody and Marsden set aside their solo ventures and came together to form Whitesnake with a one David Coverdale. After a seminal career, Geffen management gave them the boot while the‘pretty-boy’ version of Whitesnake sold a gazillion records based on Moody/Marsden songs. The two continued to tour as a duo often selling out venues on their own. They released a couple albums under the moniker of ‘The Snakes’ with Norwegian vocalist Johnny Lande as a dead ringer for Coverdale. Fans packed the halls showing their support.
Bassist Neil Murray joined guitarists Mick Moody and Bernie Marsden in 1999. It was a reunion of sorts as all members were part of the inaugural lineup of Whitesnake from 1978 to 1982. As Company of Snakes they toured throughout Europe with one time Bad Company (1995-97) vocalist Robert Hart. Adding drummer John Lingwood and keyboardist Don Airey gave the group that much more authenticity. They forged ahead devoting their live set to a mixture of early Whitesnake songs and new material. After extensive touring a double-live album ‘Here They Go Again’ was recorded with Swed vocalist Stefan Bergren in 2001.
The extraordinary demand for tickets for the 2001 tour surprised even insiders of the scene. The British band were pursued by a large and extremely enthusiastic following, who were more than eager to witness the return of British hard rock. Naturally, most fans turned up mainly to listen to famous Whitesnake classics like ‘Here I Go Again’, ‘Is This Love’, or ‘Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City’, yet there were loads of enquiries every night on the subject of a possible new studio album. Moody, Marsden, Murray, Don Airey (keyboards), Stefan Berggren (vocals), and John Lingwood (drums) fulfill this request with their new 15-track album ‘Burst The Bubble’.
The thirteen new tracks (plus intro and outro) were mixed at the Karo studios in Brackel near Hamburg by Herman Frank, well-known for his work with Accept, Victory and Moon ‘Doc. Moody’s exceptional blues picking kicks the album off leading straight into Marsden’s signature riff plowing through ‘Labor of Love’. Even the first two lines let us know what we’re in for, “Tired of reading papers, I’m even tired of Q / All I ever seem to do is play my Delta Blues”. ‘Ride, Ride, Ride / Run, Run, Run’, ‘Sacrificial Feelings’, ‘Little Miss Happiness’ and ‘Kinda Wish You Would’ are all souped-up history lessons on how to write classic British rock.
Ballads ‘What Love Can Do’ and ‘Day To Remember’ inspire echoes of the past where ‘Hurricane’ and ‘All Dressed Up’ bring a modern hard-rock punch to the mix sitting comfortably in with memorable hooks. However, they don’t get much better than ‘Can’t Go Back’ and ‘Back To Blues’, the later - a reckless story of blues discovery through America’s bible belt, “I walked in the footsteps of Elvis so close to his home in Memphis …only to return my homeland.” Then there’s ‘She’ a muscled-up sweaty little ditty about…well, all things female.
The record, as a whole, stands out as a modern version of something so familiar and comfortable, yet blistering with heat. It is a successful attempt to come up with an album that forges a link with the unforgettable Whitesnake signature sound merging with timeless hard rock ‘Made in Britain’. Based on blues, boogie and traditional influences, Micky Moody and Bernie Marsden prove once again that they not only continue to rank among the best rock guitarists of the scene, they are also among the most distinctive and tasteful composers of their genre.
A couple of added bits: Mick Moody has also just released a sensational blues tribute to his traditional blues roots entitled Smokestacks, Broom Dusters & Hoochie Coochie Men. Moody is joined by long-time friend and Juicy Lucy sidekick Paul Williams. The two resurrect period classics with fire and emotion. An absolute must!
Bernie Marsden also has a blues CD titled Big Boy Blue. I just found out about this one so I’m unfamiliar with it. When I get my hands on one I’ll put the review up here.
Stefan Berggren sheds one set of skin for another while handling vocal duties on the new Snakes In Paradise (also on SPV). A little less Coverdale and a little more Berggren he and the band chop up a healthy dose of duel-guitar muscle. Defiantly worth checking out. The photos below are off the bands website and taken by Markus Hagner.
Check out The Company of Snakes website here