Stryper – “The Final Battle”


Stryper return with their 14th album, one that will not disappoint longtime fans and should win them some new ones if there is anyone who hasn’t heard of them yet. Don’t expect anything new, just great riffs and guitar solos, soaring strong vocals, a pounding rhythm section, and perhaps some nostalgia for the older crowd…

It’s been almost 40 years since Stryper debuted with The Yellow and Black Attack in 1984. Since then the band has sold over 10 million albums, had Top 40 hits, were nominated for a Grammy and were the first artist to have two songs in MTV’s Top 10 simultaneously back when MTV actually showed videos. For The Final Battle, the band had some things to overcome including Michael Sweet having to write lyrics while lying face down for a couple weeks after surgery. Given the band’s history and beliefs, subject matter on the album does in fact give a nod to themes of Armageddon with other topics including celebrating God’s love and mercy and finding relief in God during difficult times.

The album opens up with “Transgressor” and serves as the perfect introduction of what is to come. In fact the video will tell you everything you need to know about Stryper and the album. Fast guitar riff and some muted drums open up the track, building until Michael Sweet lets one of his signature screams go and then the song is off and running. Instantly, I was transported back to the late 80’s metal in terms of song structure, performances, and high quality production. Interestingly, Sweet must have been still recovering from retina surgery as he’s wearing a patch in the video is anyone is wondering about that visual element. Robert Sweet pounds on the drums and as you might expect there is a harmony guitar solo part and trading solos between Michael Sweet and Oz Fox, both of which are still at the top of their game.

Throughout the album one can hear elements in the songs that could be thought of as paying homage to the metal bands of the late 80’s and one could even make a game of trying to identify all of the potential bands you can hear in the songs on this album. That being said, the performances are amazing as one would expect from a band of this caliber and anything that is familiar simply provides a bit of nostalgia for the older fans without being cheesy. There is not new ground being broken here and looking at my notes on the album, I wrote down “80s metal” as comments for most of the songs as they would not have been out of place in that era, but to their credit, Stryper have avoided making them sound dated now. Michael Sweet’s vocals are still in top form and there are plenty of his trademark screams, Sweet and Oz Fox continue to generate great riffs and show how guitar solos can be worked into songs, and at the same time Perry Richardson (ex-Firehouse) and Robert Sweet provide a pounding, heavy rhythm section that serves as a backbone for the songs.

I grew up in the 80s and still have a spot in my heart for bands like LA Guns, Ratt, Van Halen, Dokken, and so many others and if I would have been paying attention at the time, Stryper would have been in that list. To their credit, Stryper keep releasing quality metal albums and have avoided becoming a cliché along the way. The Final Battle is a great addition to their catalog and is sure to win some new fans as well as keeping the longtime ones happy.

Rating: 8/10

Written by John Jackson

Track Listing

  1. Transgressor
  2. See No Evil, Hear No Evil
  3. Same Old Story
  4. Heart & Soul
  5. Near
  6. Out, Up & In
  7. Rise To The Call
  8. The Way, The Truth, The Life
  9. No Rest For The Wicked
  10. Till Death Do Us Part
  11. Ashes To Ashes

Band Members
Michael Sweet: Lead vocals, guitar
Robert Sweet: Drums
Oz Fox: Guitar, vocals
Perry Richardson: Bass, vocals

Release Date: 21 October 2022

Record Label: Frontiers Records

1984:The Yellow and Black Attack”
1985: “Soldiers Under Command”
1986: “To Hell with the Devil”
1988: “In God We Trust”
1990: “Against the Law”
1991: “Can’t Stop the Rock” [Compilation]
2003: “7 Seven the Best of Stryper” [Compilation]
2004: “7 Weeks : Live in America 2003” [Live]
2005: “Reborn”
2006: “Extended Versions” [Live]
2007: “Greatest Hits – Live in Puerto Rico” [Live]
2007: “The Roxx Regime Demos” [Compilation]”
2009: “Murder by Pride”
2011: “The Covering”
2013: “Second Coming” [Compilation] (review)
2013: “No More Hell to Pay”  (review)
2015: “Fallen” (review)
2018: “God Damn Evil” (review)
2020: “Even The Devil Believes” (review)
2022: “The Final Battle”

Weblinks: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify

Video for ‘Transgressor’

Lyric video for ‘Rise to the Call’

Lyric video for ‘Ashes to Ashes’

Video for ‘Same Old Story’

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