Following Stryper’s career is similar to the highs and lows of following a sports team. There are times when you wonder whether the team has lost direction, times when you feel the team could do better and there are the highs when they pull off a spectacular winning streak.
It started back in 2013 with ‘Second Coming’, which contained 14 re-recorded classics (two from ‘The Yellow And Black Attack’, six from ‘Soldiers Under Command’, six from ‘To Hell With The Devil’) as well as two new tracks. They followed this up with ‘No More Hell To Pay’ and proved that they were not a bunch of old-timers living on past glories, more like a hungry new band out for blood! So now its time to cut through the hype and get down and dirty with their latest offering, ‘Fallen’.
Regarding the musical direction of the new Stryper material, Michael Sweet said: ‘It’s gonna be… I don’t wanna scare any fans away or anything, but it’s gonna be the heaviest album we’ve done. Not in the sense that it’s gonna be thrash metal or anything like that. It’s definitely got a little bit of a darker vibe to it lyrically and musically. Some of the songs are tuned down — not like the modern dropped B stuff; I’m talking like the E dropped to D, ‘Unchained’ Van Halen kind of stuff. And it’s just got a heavy sound to it. And I think when people hear it, in a good way, they’re gonna go, ‘That’s Stryper? What?’ I think they’re gonna be shocked.’
‘Yahweh’ starts with a brief choral refrain that gets swiftly rent asunder by cataclysmic drumming, rollicking guitar riffs and Michael Sweet’s soaring vocals. These blokes have the biggest cojones around as they thunder through the story leading to Jesus crucifixion. This is the longest track on here and allows them to speed it up, slow down and have a scorching guitar solo. Michael said “Chris Jericho [Fozzy singer and WWE wrestling superstar] texted me and said that ‘Yahweh’ may be the best song since reuniting”.
Then there is the mid-tempo menace of ‘Fallen’ with the salutary tale of Lucifer being cast out of heaven (as depicted in the cover art). Michael states: “‘Fallen’ is about Lucifer before he became Satan. It’s the story of how he got kicked out of Heaven. He tried to overthrow God and take over. The song talks about how beautiful he was. When he walked, there was music. He was the angel of worship and this incredibly powerful and beautiful being.”
Another darker sounding and much heavier track is ‘Pride’ as they stomp along. “Two friends who shared the past, no one could have guessed that it wouldn’t last / I know it can be restored, if forgiveness is something that’s never ignored / We can’t let fear and jealousy take everything that we should be /
We can’t let life just pass us by – We’ve got to let it ride”
Then ‘Big Screen Lies’ looks at how the film industry often portrays Christians as stupid or foolish characters and contains some scorching shreddage. “It’s the way it’s always been, persecuting rules / As the wolves lie in their den, sharpening their tools / Feasting on the faith of those, who dare to make it known / As a warning to the foes, you’ll reap what you’ve sown”
There is a nod back towards hard rock with the anthems in ‘Heaven’ and the gritty power ballad of ‘Love You Like I Do’. “No one will love you like I do, if only you’d just believe that / No one will ever look at you, the way that I do / Love You Like I do”. This leads onto the mellow rocker ‘All Over Again’ as they shamelessly croon along.
But then along comes the spine-tingling ‘After Forever’ with its intellectually challenging lyrics written by Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath. “Have you ever thought about your soul – can it be saved? / Or perhaps you think that when you’re dead you just stay in your grave / Is God just a thought within your head or is he a part of you? / Is Christ just a name that you read in a book when you were in school?”
There are the restless feelings of youth in ‘Till I Get What I Need’ as they invigorate proceedings. Then it’s back to Genesis for the story of God creating the heavens and the earth in the swarthy ‘Let There Be Light’. Another declaration of striving in faith is found in ‘The Calling’. Finally, they come full circle with the proclamation of ‘King Of Kings’.
Usually most parents are annoyed by the volume of music coming from their offspring’s bedroom. But I have to confess that my son came downstairs to complain that I was playing this album too loud and he couldn’t get off to sleep! So turn it up to 11 as Stryper are back at the peak of awesomeness.
Reviewed by Peter John Willoughby
04. Big Screen Lies
06. Love You Like I Do
07. All over Again
08. After Forever
09. Till I Get What I Need
10. Let There Be Light
11. The Calling
12. King of Kings
Michael Sweet – vocals, guitar
Robert Sweet – drums, percussion
Oz Fox – guitar, vocals
Tim Gaines – bass, vocals
“The Yellow and Black Attack” 
“Soldiers Under Command” 
“To Hell with the Devil” 
“In God We Trust” 
“Against the Law” 
“Can’t Stop the Rock” [Compilation – 1991]
“7 Seven the Best of Stryper” [Compilation – 2003]
“7 Weeks : Live in America 2003” [Live – 2004]
“Extended Versions” [Live – 2006]
“Greatest Hits – Live in Puerto Rico” [Live – 2007]
“The Roxx Regime Demos” [Compilation – 2007]”
“Murder by Pride” 
“The Covering” 
“Second Coming” [Compilation – 2013] (review)
“No More Hell to Pay”  (review)
Record Label: Frontiers Records, Oct. 2015
“Fallen” Limited Vinyl Edition (PreOrder)
Audio below: ‘Fallen’
Audio below: ‘Big Screen Lies’
Audio below: ‘Let There Be Light’
Audio below: ‘After Forever’