Stryper – Fallen

Stryper-Fallen-2015

Back in the day, I do not think there was a band I took more crap for liking more than Stryper. It was never necessarily about the religious connotations of their music that drew me to them, lord knows I had plenty of anti-religion albums in my collection, but there was always something I dug about the yellow and black attack. Hell, the first concert I saw in a major venue was Stryper at Red Rocks on their “To Hell with the Devil” tour. TNT and Loudness opened for them, what a bill! Anyway, after the “In God We Trust” album, things fell off for them like many other bands of their time. Since then Stryper has broken up, the members did solo projects, gotten back together, recorded other albums, broken up again, played in other bands (most notably, Michael Sweet in Boston), and gotten back together again. Since their re-reformation in 2010, Stryper have slowly been building up momentum through recording a covers album (“The Covering”), their great comeback album “No More Hell to Pay,” and a killer live record, “Live at the Whiskey.” The band’s latest album, “Fallen,” will be released on Frontiers Music, October 16, 2015.

Stryper does not mess around making a first impression with this record. ‘Yahweh’ (co-written by Sevendust’s Clint Lowery?!?) comes at you with Robert Sweet’s galloping double kick drums in a power metal fashion, harkening back to “Soldiers Under Command” territory. One thing I love about Stryper is they always seem know when to kick the tempo up, or bring it back down, without losing the backbeat. Title track “Fallen” is a great example of this. They keep the ball rolling with ‘Pride,’ settling into a sick power groove. Michael Sweet’s voice smokes, as usual, as it soars over he and Oz Fox’s twin guitar attack on songs like ‘Big Screen Lies,’ ‘Heaven,’ and ‘Love You Like I Do’ (Tim Gaines excellent harmonies included). Of course, it would not be a Stryper record without the prerequisite power ballad. ‘All Over Again’ gives us this in spades. Then comes the curveball, a fairly inspired cover of the mighty Sabbath’s ‘After Forever.’ I am surprised it is a regular track on the record. It seems like it would have been a cool bonus track for a special addition. Oh well, lucky us! The last third of the album hits us with a quick punch (‘Till I Get What I Need’), treats us to more of Sweet’s powerful voice (‘Let There Be Light’), a play on Sammy Hagar’s ‘There’s Only Way to Rock’ (‘The Calling’), and one of the best guitar solos on the album (‘King of Kings’).

“Fallen” is the best album Stryper has done since “To Hell with the Devil.” “No More Hell to Pay” is a close second, but “Fallen” is even better. Who knows what would have been if these last two albums had been released after “In God We Trust.” Unfortunately, they wanted to go in a different direction. Thankfully, they have returned to their roots, and the yellow and black are back on the attack.

Tracklist:

1. Yahweh
2. Fallen
3. Pride
4. Big Screen Lies
5. Heaven
6. Love Like I Do
7. All Over Again
8. After Forever
9. Till I Get What I Need
10. Let There Be Light
11. The Calling
12. King Of Kings
Playing Time: 52:15
Release Date: October 16, 2015
Label: Frontiers Music

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