No More Hell To Pay
Stryper are back. Well, to be honest – they’ve already released Second Coming and it offered up a pretty healthy slab of Christian heavy metal. No matter what your religious (or lack of religious) beliefs are, I’m sure that after the very first listen, you too will agree that this is also a really weighty slab of heavy metal that works due to its strong leads and impressive vocal performance. The frontman belts it out with the best of them, making opener “Revelation” and its follow-up in the album’s title track ultimately memorable. But not only that, this album is chock full of high-flying guitar solos that will resonate with fans of metal who once considered these guys a bunch of weak-willed ninnies who threw Bibles out during their concerts and offered half-spirited metal romps that had already been paved over a thousand times by greater acts.
But the Bible throwing antics are surely not over, as these guys even decided to go ahead and give “Jesus Is Just Alright” a heavy metal tribute. It certainly works and comes off as catchy as you might expect. They do it with passion at least, and throw in a solo that definitely helps the song to get your church rocking harder than it ever has. There’s a lukewarm ballad on here called “The One” which didn’t do much for me, but “Legacy” manages to kick things back up again. I’m not going to say it’s the solos – but yeah, it’s the solos. “Sticks And Stones” comes back in after some other plodding tracks to give another healthy dose of choral might and guitar fury, but there’s still a touch of the ’80s locked in there. “Water Into Wine” stands up as well as any power anthem; it definitely sounds like it had also been something that was previously locked away in a vault somewhere. “Sympathy” features some incredible vocal acrobatics, with the frontman able to carry his voice all of the way up to the heavens and then some. Once again, the solos only help to pepper this awesome performance; and even if you hate these guys, it’s tough to deny this man’s vocals. They’re just unbelievable and really make the album a listenable experience for all fans of classic metal. Basically, Stryper prove that they’re not playing around anymore and have offered one of the stronger efforts in their career. While not perfect, it’s certainly not a terrible album and well worth checking out at least. I also recommend that you grab Second Coming along with this one, as it also shows the band at their best. Hey, if Jesus is going to play the guitar and sing like that, then he’s more than alright with me. (Eric May)