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The Essentials: Stryper
NRT's Ryan Adams spotlights some of the band's top modern songs in celebration of their 14th studio album, 'The Final Battle'

AN NRT EXCLUSIVE ARTICLE, The Essentials: Stryper
Posted: January 12, 2023 | By: RyanAdams_NRT
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Stryper was established in southern California in 1983 and went on to become a multi-platinum crossover Christian metal band. They continue to share their positive message and energetic stage presence throughout the world. Since the band's inception, the founding members have stayed true to their deepest convictions, turning from "the ways of the world" to following their hearts instead.

The band's most famous songs are from the '80s: "Free," "Honestly," and "To Hell With The Devil.". After a hiatus in 1990, Stryper returned in 2005 with the long-awaited album, Reborn, which featured a modern rock sound, unlike their signature hair metal days. To this day, Stryper continues to evolve its sound with each release.

Stryper is releasing its 14th studio album, The Final Battle. This is the band's ninth studio album since returning to the modern rock and metal music scene. The album is considered the epitome of the band's greatest musical abilities today. In celebration of the album's release, here are some of Stryper's best modern songs.

"Same Old Story," from The Final Battle

This newest record, The Final Battle was crafted during some of the band's most challenging times in their career. Despite these challenges, the band accepted them and channeled them into writing some of their best songs yet. One of the album's standout tracks is "Same Old Story." The song has a straightforward, in-your-face message, inviting listeners to reflect on their future and mortality, make amends, and cry out to God. The lyrics suggest that unless one follows God and makes eternal changes, one'll keep living the same old story in history.


"Blood From Above," from Even The Devil Believes

Stryper wrote the songs for their 2020 album, Even The Devil Believes, at the beginning of the pandemic. Lead singer Michael Sweet shared that "it’s a recording of hope and inspiration and a light in the darkest of times.” The album is a standout in the band's historic discography with the powerful opening track and the brash, climactic ending of the record. One of the standout tracks is "Blood From Above," which displays some of the most aggressive elements the band has ever put into a song. The song is notable for its poignant imagery of Christ's sacrifice to all and the energy the band poured into it.


"Sorry," from God Damn Evil

Stryper's goal is to create music that makes people think outside the box. This album's title, God Damn Evil, caused controversy because of its title. But Michael clarified the album's name by saying it's simply a prayer request asking God to damn or condemn the evil in the world. One example of the album's purpose is in the song "Sorry." The song has a thought-provoking message that gives a hard-learned truth, that just saying sorry for our mistakes isn't enough to make lasting change. The lyrics suggest we need to change our ways and prevent evil from rising in our hearts, so that we don't always have to say, "I'm sorry." It's an effort to present a deep message in a powerful and meaningful way.


"Yahweh," from Fallen

"Yahweh," from Stryper's 2015 record Fallen, is considered by many one the greatest song of the band's modern rock and metal era. The song remains one of their most streamed songs and is a constant in live performances. Other favorites from the record include the title track, "Fallen" and "Let There Be Light." But, "Yahweh" stands out as an iconic epic in the band's library. At just over six minutes, this song takes listeners on a journey through a gospel telling through heavy music in a unique and memorable way. The song's powerful lyrics and the band's musicianship make it a standout track that is sure to leave an impression on listeners.


"No More Hell To Pay," from No More Hell To Pay

The 2013 album No More Hell To Pay was well received by both critics and fans, and it is often considered a turning point in the band's career. The album's sound is evocative of other iconic metal bands such as Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. It establishes a distinct formula that Stryper continued to use in their future recordings. No More Hell to Pay features layered harmonies, huge guitar solos, and mid-tempo metal songs. The album's title track is a standout and worth a listen.


"Murder By Pride," from Murder By Pride

Stryper's 2009 album Murder By Pride marked a new direction for the band, with a modern sound that was distinct from their earlier work. Lead singer Michael Sweet says, "It was important to me to try to get back to that early sound of Stryper yet at the same time, to remain relevant today. It's certainly not an easy thing to do, but as I listen to Murder by Pride, I think that was accomplished." The album's songs feature a gritty, raw sound that sets it apart from the band's earlier work. The title track is a good example of this sound. Listening to Murder By Pride on the 25th anniversary of the band's debut album provides an interesting retrospective listening experience.


"I.G.W.T.", from Reborn

In 2005, Stryper made a historic comeback in the modern rock and metal music world with their sixth studio album Reborn. Initially planned as a solo album for Michael Sweet, the band eventually came together to contribute to the album. The record has a more contemporary sound, but some nu-metal elements can also be heard in the sound. The album concludes with a rerecording of one of the band's biggest hits, "In God We Trust." This rerecording showcases the band's musical ability to put a fresh spin on older songs, which they continued to do in their future albums as well.

Ryan Adams lives with his family in Montana. He has been NRT's Rock Reporter since 2019.

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