How cool is it to be a 'metal head' from the 80's and in the span of a few weeks get new releases from WASP (GOLGOTHA), Queensryche (CONDITION HUMAN) and this week, the latest from Stryper, FALLEN!
FALLEN is the 11th (that can't be right, can it?) and quite possibly the heaviest release from Stryper. The album features all the Stryper trademarks but seems a little more aggressive, even in the lyrical content. Sure the message that Stryper is known for is there, but with a little more 'sense of urgency' and passion.
Kicking off with the epic 'Yahweh', Michael Sweet (vocals/guitar), Oz Fox (guitar), Robert Sweet (drums) and Tim Gaines (bass) give us an amazing 12 songs that are guaranteed to not only entertain but also make you think. Despite their Christianity, Stryper has never been a band that has forced the message down your throat. They would chose to deliver a song with relatable subject matter that was meant to inspire and sometimes help.
The title track, 'Fallen' and first single 'Pride' have the band in headbanger mode with heavy drums, dual guitar attack, spiraling guitar solos and Michael's voice not being so sweet (pun intended). When bands get older it is usually the vocalist that begins to show signs of age first... but not here. Michael Sweet is still one of the best singers on the planet!
But before I paint FALLEN as just a heavy album, it isn't! 'Love You Like I Do' is a song that will bring you back to the days of big hair and bumble bee outfits and 'Big Screen Lies' has the sing along chorus that became another trademark of the Stryper sound.
My favorites on the cd are 'King Of Kings' and the Black Sabbath cover, 'After Forever'. The first because of the George Lynch sounding licks and incredible message (he died at Calvary/so we could live forever) and song number two is because only Stryper could take a Black Sabbath song and make it their own. Hard to believe Ozzy sang the words "Could it be you're afraid of what your friends might say/If they knew you believe in God above?" but in 1971.. he did!
Stryper have come a long way from the 'yellow and black attack', but they still remain one of the most powerful bands out there for so many reasons. This Friday run to your nearest record store (or just click on to your favorite downloadable music site) and get ready for the FALLEN!
Matman Rating - 4.5 out of 5 'Holy Cows'!
FALLEN will be released on Friday, October 16th on Frontiers Music. For news and information go to the bands official site, www.stryper.com.