Jesus Loves Heavy Metal: A Review Of The New Stryper
And really, how could He not with a band like Stryper waving His banner for the last 30 years?
Their latest release, No More Hell To Pay, features 12 tracks of epic headbanging, melodic salvation. Their eighth studio recording includes all of the classic, quintessential elements that make Stryper such a great band — soaring melodies, ripping guitar solos, the unmatched vocal stylings of Michael Sweet (why this guy isn’t mentioned more often in the ever-present “Top Metal Vocalist” debates that plague the many metal blog sites these days is a mystery that I’ll never understand), and of course, a healthy serving of the Gospel, offered up steaming hot and fresh in a series of scrumptious 3- to 5-minute portions.
This album features blistering guitar work from Oz Fox and Michael Sweet, particularly on “Saved By Love.” Don’t be fooled by the title: This is a thunderous, all-guns-blazing metal masterpiece of killer riffs and marathon drumming, and Michael adds to his epic vocal range with a generous seasoning of raw grittiness that makes this 3:08 track one of the best that this record has to offer.
Other standout tracks on No More Hell To Pay include “The One,” a beautifully dynamic offering that had me wanting to sing along the first time I listened to it (and by the third spin I was); “Legacy,” another heavy hitter than comes right out of the gate with Michael Sweet’s signature scream and showcases more of the awesome guitar playing by he and Oz Fox; and “Te Amo,” a solid rocking track with a multi-layered, anthemic chorus that is made for wailing along to.
Stryper isn’t for everybody, and their message seems to be enough to have prevented some people from even giving them the time of day (which begs the question of why singing about Jesus is any more cheesy than singing about wizards or rainbows or the Devil…Seriously?).
Songs like “Sticks And Stones” and their cover of the classic Doobie Brothers tune “Jesus Is Just Alright” are sure to turn some potential listeners off with their lyrical content, but the overall tone of the music on this record is aces, and it absolutely deserves a thorough listen.
Stryper have been kicking ass in the name of the Lord since 1983, and the boys in black and yellow show no signs of slowing down with this awesome record — the production is top-notch, the music is some of the best contribution to metal in 2013 that I have heard so far, and the overall religious content is actually a bit scaled back in contrast to the Stryper of yesteryear, which should give even the most adamant nay-sayer some incentive (and a bit of reprieve) to check this record out.