April 16, 2018 Stryper – God Damn Evil (Album Review)
One of Heavy Metal’s most recognized names, Stryper’s legacy dates back over three decades now. Bidding farewell in the early ’90s, Stryper has been back with a vengeance since 2003, touring and pumping out one album after another. A rebirth of the band, since reforming in 2003, they have released 6 studio albums, and on Friday, April 20, 2018, they will bring forth their seventeenth overall, God Damn Evil via Frontiers Music S.R.L.
Although, before going any further, and for those who have been in the dark over the past 15 years, let us briefly recap the story of Stryper. Of Christian faith, Stryper, monikered as The Yellow and Black Attack, has devoted their lives to spreading the good word amongst faithful Heavy Metal and Hard Rock fans for many years. For the less astute Stryper fan, the band’s name emanates out of a reference fans may recognize from Stryper’s logo, Isaiah 53:5. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Isaiah 53:5 is a significant part of Stryper and represents all which brothers, Michael Sweet (vocals/guitar) and Robert Sweet (drums), set out to embody.
Though the Sweet brothers were musically influenced by hit makers such as Van Halen, the messages of sex, drugs, and Rock-n-Roll, mainly the first two, which lets face it was the essence of most Rock music, went against Michael and Robert’s Christian beliefs. Inspired by their faith, Michael and Robert worked hard to put together the perfect group of musicians to help bring a more positive message to Heavy Metal.
Coming into fruition, the hiring of Guitarist Oz Fox and Bassist Tim Gaines gave birth to the classic lineup of Stryper. Though Stryper initially had their doubters, once Heavy Metal followers got a taste of the talent behind the band, especially Michael’s unreal vocals and Fox’s almighty, and often underrated, guitar technique, Stryper were on the road to success. Throughout the mid-1980’s, Stryper forged a iron legacy that shined thanks in part to the bands two biggest albums, 1985’s Soldiers Under Command and 1986’s platinum selling To Hell With The Devil.
Fast Forward to February of 2018, Stryper announced their new album, God Damn Evil, leading us to present day. Joining Michael, Robert, and Fox is Bassist Perry Richardson for what is notably Stryper’s heaviest collection of Metal to date. Featuring a guest spot by Matt Bachand (Shadows Fall, Act of Defiance), who offers his death growls, God Damn Evil comes out raging with “Take It To The Cross.” A maniacal opening, Michael’s searing vocals dominate possibly the heaviest tune in Stryper’s catalog. In signature form, “Sorry” needs no apology as “Lost” is a good Rock song about losing your way.
Next, opening with Michael’s classic scream, “God Damn Evil” bears a chorus just waiting to be shouted out loud. The calculating groove of “You Don’t Even Know Me” gives way for the crunchy guitar and defiance of “The Valley.” Thereafter, the racing riffs in “Sea of Thieves” precede the vintage lyrics behind “Beautiful.” Moving along, as “Can’t Live Without Your Love” carries on Stryper’s ingenuity for producing ballads, “Own Up” says face the truth and take responsibility for your actions. As heavily as it started, “The Devil Doesn’t Live Here” closes Stryper’s latest endeavor with Michael’s vocals sounding so enraptured about his faith while surrounded by melodic and furious guitar.
An explosion of Stryper’s most cunning material, God Damn Evil bears everything fans love about Stryper and more. Dominant from start to finish, God Damn Evil is evidence Stryper have not slowed down, in fact they are picking-up speed as Michael Sweet offers some of the most impressive vocals of his career while Robert Sweet, Oz Fox, and Perry Richardson give a tough as nails performance. All this said, Stryper are back and better than ever! Well worth checking out, CrypticRock gives God Damn Evil 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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