To say that the guys from the “Christian Metal” group Styrper have been busy since the release of ‘No More Hell To Pay‘ nearly two years ago is an understatement. With most of the members participating in a variety of side projects.rom – Oz Fox working on Bloodgood’s ‘Dangerously Close‘ album to lead vocalist Michael Sweet teaming up with ex Dokken/Lynch Mob guitarist George Lynch to release their album ‘Only To Rise‘ – the guys have indeed been none stop. Now, the yellow and black soldiers of Christ are back and they sounding heavier than ever with their eleventh studio album, ‘Fallen’.
The album kicks off with ‘Yahweh’, which features vocal harmonies with a heavenly effect and guitar riffs galore. Vocalist Michael Sweet spits each verse of the song that tells the story of the last days of Jesus Christ and His confrontation with Pontius Pilate. Next, from the death of Christ to the fall of Lucifer, Stryper keep the momentum going with the thunderous ‘Fallen’, which, like the previous track, is packed with riffs and screeching vocals from Michael.
Personally, the two stand out tracks of the whole album are ‘Pride’ and ‘Big Screen Lies’. The drop tuned guitars help provide a more chunkier sound which has inspiration from their 2005 release ‘Reborn’. Lyrically, ‘Big Screen Lies’ is the stronger of the two tracks, as it talks about how the media has portrayed and insulted Christianity over the years: a pretty tough subject which the guys do not hold back on sharing their opinion about.
Now if you’re an old school Stryper fan who loves albums such as ‘In God We Trust’, then tracks like ‘Love You Like I Do’ and ‘The Calling’ are the tracks for you, while their new sound shines through in songs like ‘Let There Be Light’. What these tracks have in common is that the band’s signature powerful vocal harmonies just stand out stronger than ever.
There is one thing Stryper have always enjoyed doing and that is throwing in a cover or two, something which they have done since the ‘Against The Law’ album, and they keep the tradition going with covering ‘After Forever’ by the originators of Heavy Metal, Black Sabbath. Yes, you heard it, a band of Christians covering Black Sabbath, who in the past were criticised for being “Satanic”. Yet once you listen to Sabbath bassist’s Geezer Butler’s lyrics you will hear a side of Sabbath which not many people tend to focus on. And, ofcourse, Stryper pull of a fantastic rendition of this classic song.
In closing, you can call me biased if you like, but as a huge Stryper fan I have always been impressed by anything they bring out, whether it’s an original album, a live album or an album full of covers: but this time I had to let the album grow on me. I did not enjoy it at first, especially when they brought out the first couple of songs as singles before I heard the whole album. As stated before, I feel that majority of the album is too over produced, primarily in the vocals and the guitars, the rhythm section from bassist Tim Gaines and drummer Robert Sweet just sounds flat compared to previous albums. However, after keeping this album play on repeat in my (yellow and black) car I actually grew to enjoy it more and more. Musically, the boys have done it again! If you’re into big riffs and glass shattering metal vocals then this album is the album for you.
Yahweh / Fallen / Pride / Big Screen Lies / Heaven / Love You Like I Do / All Over Again / After Forever (Black Sabbath cover) / Till I Get What I Need / Let There Be Light / The Calling / King Of Kings
‘Fallen’ is to be released via Frontier Records on 16 October.