Stryper – No More Hell To Pay

nomorehelltopay

Released: November 5, 2013 by Frontiers Records

 

Back in the 80’s Stryper was often a punchline; a band so frequently ridiculed that even *I* wouldn’t listen to them. I picked up a few of their albums on cassette in the days when I was no longer listening to cassettes, resulting in a complete and utter lack of appreciation for the band. The rare times I did dust them off, I was turned off by the thin production and what I perceived to be weak vocals of Michael Sweet (he reminded me too much of Styx’s Dennis DeYoung, another guy I was not fond of). So when the band quietly crept back into consciousness in the mid-2000’s, I paid little notice. It’s for all those reasons that I’m staggered to find just how much I enjoy their 2013 release No More Hell To Pay. Proudly boasting a fully retro 80’s sound, they’ve punched up their perceived (by me) weakness with more crunch and a better, thicker bass presence, and this time around Sweet’s vocals seem to roar with a passion more than show-off and prance. I’ve played the album a handful of times now and with each spin I keep expecting to be dissappointed, as if I’ve somehow tricked myself into liking it. But that’s not the case. This is a really fantasic melodic rock album with a retro sound but plenty of energy and guts. Yeah, they’re a Christian band, and yeah, sometimes the lyrics get a bit trite and embarrassing (I mean, “sticks and stones may break my bones”… in 2013?!), but overall the message is muted enough that I don’t feel like I’m being preached at. Plus, Oz Fox shreds mighty guitar all over this record, dropping some of the best solos I’ve heard in years. It’s worth a listen just for his lead work. All of which has me wondering if maybe I was misguided all those years ago in dismissing the “religious band with the goofy clothing” and should revisit their catalogue with a clear ear. Time will tell, but for now No More Hell To Pay will stay in rotation for me well into 2014.

ALBUM RATING: 8.

 

TRACKS

1. Revelation

2. No More Hell To Pay

3. Saved By Love

4. Jesus Is Just Alright

5. The One

6. Legacy

7. Marching Into Battle

8. Te Amo

9. Stickes & Stones

10. Water Into Wine

11. Sympathy

12. Renewed

 

BAND

Michael Sweet (V,G), Oz Fox (G), Timothy Gaines (B), Robert Sweet (D)

 

Produced by Michael Sweet

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s