“Sing unto Him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.”
Christian Metal does not exactly have the best reputation in the Metal scene. “Preachy” and “boring” are coming adjectives you hear in this context. However, some Christian Metal bands stand out from the musical mediocrity for which Christian music is still infamous for. Okay, maybe the term “mediocrity” is no longer adequate in this context (maybe), but this article is not about the Christian Metal scene anyway, but about one band in particular: Stryper. Yes, Stryper. The band whom you might have had to dodge when they were still throwing Bibles into the audience.
So, what is their latest album like? Actually, it is better than one would expect. Yes, the first song “Take It To The Cross” is a bit “straight in your face” with its message and the chorus is a bit too high pitched and repetitive, but Stryper are still a Metal band and sometimes subtlety just does not cut it in our beloved genre. So yeah, maybe it was a good idea to put this song at the beginning of the album? You get the obvious out of the way and then you can focus more on what the album is really about, namely surprisingly good music. Take the second song “Sorry”, for instance. It is a slow to midtempo radio friendly 80s Metal style (think Glam/Sleaze Metal) song with excellent guitar work and clean vocals and definitely not a song for which Stryper has to feel sorry for. In this the song is pretty much representative for most of the album. Midtempo range, clean vocals, nice guitar work and that certain Glam/Sleaze Metal feeling. And in a way that is also what feels strange about the album: A Christian Metal band that – musicalwise – seems to be at home in the Sleaze Metal genre. But then, Stryper seems to have felt a bit rebellious when writing the album, or how else can one explain the song title “God Damn Evil”? You can read it as a plea to God to destroy, to damn evil, or you can read it as the more commonly used “goddamn” swearword. Coincidence? Most likely not. Stryper is too experienced as a band to not have expected trouble with the likes of Walmart there.
Last but not least, the rating. How many devils (oh, the irony…) does the album deserve? The album might not be a musical epithany, but it is fun, entertaining and feels only mildly preachy at best. They are a Christian Metal band after all and they don’t hide their faith, and why should they? Anyway, 8 devils!
1. Take It To The Cross
4. God Damn Evil
5. You Don't Even Know
6. The Valley
7. Sea Of Thieves
9. Can't Live Without Your Love
10. Own Up
11. The Devil Doesn't Live Here
Playing Time: 44:49
Michael Sweet (lead vocals & lead guitar)
Robert Sweet (drums)
Perry Richardson (bass & vocals)
Oz Fox (lead guitar & vocals)