Reviews Brief: The Black, Stryper

ExplorerExplorer England
edited September 2020 in year-2020

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The Black - Hero To Zero

Self Released
This is the 4th album from this LA based 3 piece, and carries on very much in a similar vein as their previous releases. Not that their sound is getting old, far from it in fact. This is a vibrant, energetic release, with equal emphasis being put upon power as well as melody. This is no better heard than on the opener 'Scream At The Girls', with gang like 'Heys', and a brooding underlying tone.

Songs such as 'Apes Blood' power along like Cheap Trick meeting Motorhead in a back alley, and 'Closed Casket' and closer 'Helium Heart' both being very satisfying nuggets of hard rock, but with one eye still firmly fixed on the melody too. There's also the customary cover version from the guys, and it's usually a KISS cover but this time they've gone for Van Halen's 'Atomic Punk' and boy do they do a great job of it.

The production on this album is better than their previous releases, making for a most gratifying listening experience. This is unabashed American Hard Rock, but also with some serious thought given over to the melodic side of their material.

It's plainly obvious the guys in the band, Joel Burns on guitar, George Wright, lead vocals and bass, and Garrett Smith, drums had a real ball recording this as that enthusiasm comes across in every track. This comes highly recommended.

RATING: Score=80%


Stryper - Even The Devil Believes

This album sees the continued renaissance of Stryper. Their last 4 albums have heralded a return to form starting with 2013's 'No More Hell To Pay', and continuing unabated. It features everything I love about the band, Michael Sweet's stratospheric vocals, the twin guitar assaults and powerhouse drumming, and the perfect marriage of both muscle and melody.

Opening track 'Blood From Above', really does sound like something that could have been on any one of their first 3 releases back in the 80's, and 'Divider' positively roars along a la Judas Priest.

Of course it wouldn't be a Stryper album without the obligatory ballad, and here it's 'This I Pray' with the band going all Bon Jovi on us, and yes it works. 'Make Love Great Again' is seemingly a call to everyone to unite in these troubled times, but doesn't come over too 'Preachy'.

The band have always had a penchant for provocative song titles and here again they don't disappoint. 'Middle Finger Messiah' is just classic Stryper. The band has now been going for nearly 40 years, and show no sign of giving up just yet.

This is a fine release from God's favourite band....allegedly. Not quite up there with their 'Soldiers Under Command' opus but still giving that classic album a real run for its money.

RATING: Score=80%

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