BACK AT IT AGAIN
Posted March 07, 2014
Classic metal will never die and Stryper is both destined and determined to prove that point. Stryper is having a busy year in the studio. March of 2013 saw the release of Second Coming, a collection of re-recorded Stryper classics and a pair of new tracks. On November 5th the band releases their latest album through Frontier Records.
No More Hell to Pay will be Stryper’s 11th studio album. Produced by frontman and guitarist Michael Sweet, the set features some of Stryper’s strongest and heaviest material ever. Sweet commented on the upcoming album:
The new Stryper album, No More Hell To Pay, is the record we needed to make as a follow up to ‘To Hell With The Devil’. Every song has a hooky guitar riff. Everything is in minor keys, so it’s a little darker sounding and a little tougher. It’s definitely our heaviest record and I think people will be pleasantly surprised. To reference, there is less songs like ‘Calling On You’ and more songs like ‘To Hell With The Devil’. It’s more in that vein than the poppier vein.
It’s been an astounding 30 years since Stryper’s first release, The Yellow and Black Attack , the album that introduced these lycra clad spiritual brothers to the masses. Musically, little has changed since that time. Fortunately, for all concerned, Stryper has steered clear of trying to bring the band’s sound and style into the current day by staying true to the past. And rightly so. Die-hard Stryper fans and new-comers alike are going to be abundantly satisfied with No More Hell To Pay.
Current day Stryper carries the original 1983 line-up, with Michael Sweet’s brother Robert on drums, the legendary Oz Fox on guitar, and Tim Gaines on bass. It seems amazing that over those years Michael Sweet’s voice shows no sign of aging. He still hits the high notes with the clarity, energy, and piercing wails found decades ago. Incredibly catchy hooks and lyrics drivesNo More Hell to Pay.
The album roars to life with the attention grabbing intro on “Revelation” and never lets up. Lyrically “Revelation” may also sum up the intention of this new release.
There’s a revelation
It’s coming down for you
It’s gonna bring the truth
The title track “No More Hell To Pay” carries what could be considered a lyrical anthem to Stryper:
I am taking it a day at a time
and I don’t care what the doubting voices say
I am lifting up the Name that will shine
and the light of heaven’s brighter everyday
The blazing guitar rifts and the extreme vocals on “Saved By Love” leads into a surprise on No More Hell to Pay, Stryper’s recording of the The Art Reynolds Singers “Jesus Is Just Alright”. This song has been covered by the likes of The Byrds, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, The Doobie Brothers, and dcTalk. Stryper’s styling stays true to past recordings of the song, but also introduces a wonderful blues inspired drift to this classic tune.
While Stryper has stated No More Hell To Pay is one of their hardest album’s they also included the solid ballad, “The One”. Stryper brings in a song that harkens back to the theme of Soldier’s Under Command on the new tune “Marching Into Battle”. The balance of the new songs carry on with a solidness that is superb, finishing with the amazing, “Renewed”.
Anyone could rightfully say that Stryper has done all that they have needed to do. Serving up incredible songs over the years and that now it is time for the band to take a rest. Wrong! Stryper continues to bring their distinctive sound and talents to our hearts. For Sweet to compare No More Hell To Play to the outstanding To Hell With The Devil may seem extreme, but the album does achieve this level. No More Hell To Play has the boldness and musical brilliance that has been seen over and over again from Stryper, a band that is rightly considered, and ever will be, iconic.
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