The Company of Snakes – Burst The Bubble (2002, SPV/Steamhammer Records)
1. “Ayresome Park” … 0:59
2. “Labour of Love” … 4:06
3. “Ride, Ride, Ride / Run, Run, Run” … 4:46
4. “Burst the Bubble” … 4:23
5. “Sacrificial Feelings” … 4:28
6. “What Love Can Do” … 5:40
7. “Little Miss Happiness” … 4:09
8. “Hurricane” … 5:23
9. “Kinda Wish You Would” … 4:04
10. “Days to Remember” … 5:51
11. “Back to the Blues” … 4:26
12. “All Dressed Up” … 4:15
14. “Can’t Go Back” … 5:07
15. “She” … 3:59
16. “Ayresome Park – Reprise” … 1:00
Stefan Berggren – Vocals
Bernie Marsden – Guitar
Micky Moody – Guitar
Neil Murray – Bass
John Lingwood – Drums
Producer: Rainer Hansel
The Company of Snakes were formed in 1998 by former Whitesnake guitarists Bernie Marsden and Micky Moody. A year earlier, a previous version of the group was known as The Snakes with a then-unknown Jorn Lande on vocals. Is it just me or does that seem like a really odd combo? In both groups, former Whitesnake bassist Neil Murray was a participant and ultimately the band would once again shed its skin and become known as M3 with Marsden, Moody and Murray still at the core.
This particular version of the band once had former Bad Company singer Robert Hart in its ranks and then later Michael Schenker Group vocalist Gary Barden. Barden got as far as to record the live album Here They Go Again with the band (which was the group’s recorded debut as The Company of Snakes) but left the band before its release so the group’s THIRD singer Stefan Berggren filled in on vocals in the studio and all of Barden’s vocals were deleted. Rainbow/Whitesnake/Deep Purple keyboardist Don Airey was also briefly a member but left before the recording of this album.
As you might expect for a band that featured three of Whitesnake’s original members and played virtually nothing but early Whitesnake songs in concert, this album sounds like Whitesnake. There’s some AOR thrown in for good measure (“What Love Can Do”, “Hurricane”) but more or less Burst The Bubble displays much of the same bluesy hard rock that the early Whitesnake albums did. Heck, I can even take it a step further and say that “Kinda Wish You Would” sounds like what would pass for modern day country music. It’s a down-home rocker that would sound right at home playing in a country western bar somewhere in America’s heartland.
The obvious missing ingredient to all of this is David Coverdale and that’s very much a key ingredient in my opinion for this kind of blues-based hard rock. Berggren does a decent job on the album but he’s no Coverdale and lacks the power and charisma of David. Maybe Berggren himself thought the same because he left the band shortly after this album was recorded!
This isn’t an album I’ll be reaching for often but being a huge Whitesnake fan, I wanted to hear what some of the original members were up to and they turned in a solid effort. Similar hardcore Whitesnake fans will probably find this album of interest as well, especially if you like the early years.
I think the album art is pretty cool and it seems very much like an early Whitesnake cover. Seems like a cross between Lovehunter and Come an’ Get It.
Highlights: “Labour of Love”, “Burst The Bubble”, “Hurricane”, “Kinda Wish You Would”, “All Dressed Up”, “Can’t Go Back”