Frontiers [Release date 04.11.13]
Stryper were never one of my favourite Christian rock bands back in the days when I would seek out the new releases by Petra, Bloodgood, White Heart, X-Sinner and White Cross. The glammed up “guys” (from the band photo on To Hell With the Devil I was not so sure though…could have been “gals”…) in yellow and black would have some great tunes such as To Hell With the Devil but then they would spoil things with candy-coated dross such as Honestly.
No More Hell to Pay is Stryper’s first album of new music featuring the original line-up since the rather non-religious Against the Law back in 1990. Michael Sweet is back from his days with Boston and the other original members are back in place – brother Robert Sweet on drums, Oz Fox on guitar and Timothy Gaines on bass.
First thing is first – this album rocks! The closest thing to a soppy ballad is The One but even this is bearable when we have hard rocking numbers such as opener Revelation. The title track and the double time drumming of Saved by Love continue the rich vein. Then we have Jesus is Just Alright which will polarise opinion like nothing else on here – lyrics such as “Jesus is my best friend” will cause many people to skip what is in fact a pretty catchy number…reminding me of a Jesus Christ Superstar number in places…it will stick in your head so just be careful where you start singing it…
The old Stryper is back – from songs titles such as Marching into Battle and Water into Wine, lyrical content and Michael Sweet’s multi-octave voice, brother Robert’s simple but effective time-keeping, Tim Gaines’ pulse and Oz Fox’s fluid and “in your face” guitar playing.
Nice cover artwork as well with an angel escaping from the fiery pits of hell. At a glance it is obviously a Stryper album.
Much better than expected…don’t remember them being this enjoyable before…a triumphant return for Stryper.
Review by Phil Berisford
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