Stryper, God Damn Evil, Frontiers
Stryper’s twelfth studio album is the controversially titled ‘God Damn Evil’. While the title could be taken different ways and the band insists it is a plea for God to eradicate the evil in the world, this has not prevented outlets like Walmart refusing to sell it. Still controversy never usually hurt album sales and Stryper fans are likely to love the album itself.
‘Take it to the Cross’ is surprising in that it is clearly a much heavier approach particularly vocal wise for the band. However, catchy hook laden ‘Sorry’ made into a panoramic video and chosen as first single is likely to please even the most rigidly trenchant fan who would rather the band didn’t change. Tracks like ‘Lost’ are full of great guitar playing and the highest falsetto proving vocalist Michael Sweet can still deliver in that department and any experimental elements are entirely voluntary and not caused by physical restraints. It is essential for musicians to develop and grow to remain satisfied and the album is a great marrying of the old and the new. Bass duties were carried out by John o’Boyle (Sweet) as Perry Richardson the new official bassist was not free in time for the recordings.
‘God Damn Evil’ the title track is one of the best tracks on the album and should become an anthem for Christian rock if people should perchance to understand rather than rush to judgement. ‘You Don’t Even Know Me’ is very apt given the misunderstanding the band quite often encounter from retail outlets and on social media. However despite everything the band carry on with their heads held high as well they might. The album is undeniably Christian in outlook and execution for those who care and choose to see (see Devil Doesn’t Live Here’) and quotes from the Bible abound for example in ‘The Valley Way’. However, for those who don’t give a toss about Theology it’s still a great set of metal songs for your collection. There’s even a couple of tracks that could simply be taken as love songs (Beautiful and Can’t Live Without Your Love) something to which everyone can relate.
Stryper continue to release high quality albums, seemingly never running out of ideas and energy. It warms the heart to see bands like this refusing to rest on their laurels, unafraid to cross a few boundaries, but still delivering for their fans.