Stryper – “God Damn Evil”


Reader, you’re going to laugh out loud. This is the first time I’m listening to anything Stryper. You might be wondering what island I’ve been living on and all I can say sometimes it takes long for a ship to arrive on the horizon.

“God Damn Evil” has proved to be a contentious album title, but Michael Sweet says that it comes as an earnest request to God when the band reflects on what is happening in the world. “Take It To The Cross” roars, and I get the feeling that it was fun to record. The enthusiasm is palpable, and Michael’s high register is from another world! As I continue to listen to “God Damn Evil” I get a “new wave of British heavy metal” (NWOBHM) vibe, as personified by Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and Saxon. There’s the lyrics that are sung, as opposed to growled, the melodic guitar solos and the choir of voices on the choruses. Sure, that’s not all that makes it sound traditional. Take the title track, “God Damn Evil”, for instance. The guitar riff, cowbell and kick take me back to ‘79. The lyrics are open to interpretation, like with “We open locks / And break the chains / To let the devil in / We’re losing all of what remains / In a war we’ll never win”. I consider what is meant in a couple of ways. Society is spiralling downward into chaos, and as individuals we are powerless to do anything about it. People take issue with organized religion. Fletcher Douglas Srygley is quoted as saying that “the church is a spiritual body, and not a denominational organization”. The relevance of the Bible is called into question in these times. We are admonished to “Be alert and sober of mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8). Stryper’s prayer is “God save The People / But God Damn The Walls”. I also think of John’s vision in Revelations 5:2, where he recounts, “And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?”” In this moment John despairs, as no one has been found who could open the scroll, but in Revelations 5:5 we read, “Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”” To our detriment, we try to engineer our own salvation when it can only be attained through faith. I truly enjoyed “The Valley”, a modern take on David’s well-known Psalm 23: “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

“God Damn Evil” is Stryper’s twelfth studio album in a career spanning 34 years. I would encourage fans to comment below how they’ve heard the band’s sound evolve with time. To me, they sound like craftsmen who have honed their skills and paid their dues through many years of recording and performance. I’m curious. What do the opening bars of “Own Up” remind you of? I’m thinking of a certain German industrial metal group…

My favourite track? “The Devil Doesn’t Live Here”, the testimony of a band of believers, “sold out to Jesus”. “God Damn Evil” scores an explosive 8/10.

Written by Karakul

Track list:
1. Take It To The Cross
2. Sorry
3. Lost
4. God Damn Evil
5. You Don’t Even Know Me
6. The Valley
7. Sea Of Thieves
8. Beautiful
9. Can’t Live Without Your Love
10. Own Up
11. The Devil Doesn’t Live Here

Band members:
Robert Sweet (drums)
Oz Fox (guitars, vocals)
Michael Sweet (lead vocals, guitars)
Perry Richardson (bass, vocals)

Record Label: Frontiers Records

Release Date: April 2018

The Yellow and Black Attack” [1984]
“Soldiers Under Command” [1985]
“To Hell with the Devil” [1986]
“In God We Trust” [1988]
“Against the Law” [1990]
“Can’t Stop the Rock” [Compilation – 1991]
“7 Seven the Best of Stryper” [Compilation – 2003]
“7 Weeks : Live in America 2003” [Live – 2004]
“Reborn” [2005]
“Extended Versions” [Live – 2006]
“Greatest Hits – Live in Puerto Rico” [Live – 2007]
“The Roxx Regime Demos” [Compilation – 2007]”
“Murder by Pride” [2009]
“The Covering” [2011]
“Second Coming” [Compilation – 2013] (review)
“No More Hell to Pay” [2013] (review)
“Fallen” [2015] (review)
“God Damn Evil” [2018]

Weblinks: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Buy the album here:
First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission

Lyric video for ‘Lost’

Video for ‘The Valley’

Video for ‘Sorry’

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