Stryper – No More Hell to Pay
Highlights: The entire album
I’ve been a Stryper fan since 1985 and I will be the first to defend this band no matter what the cost. Call them cheesy, corny, Jesus freaks, whatever. You can call them anything but what can’t say is that this band can’t kick as much fucking ass as any other metal band out there. Yeah, I just cursed during a Stryper review. What are you gonna do? Tell Michael Sweet on me? Just like any metal band in the 80’s of their genre Stryper put out their share of cheesy ballads but what some fail to remember is the amount of face melting material like “To Hell With The Devil”, “In God We Trust”, “The Writing’s On The Wall”, and “Soldiers Under Command” just to name a few. After disbanding in 1990, Stryper returned to the scene in 2005 with “Reborn” and while this had fans ecstatic, this long time fan felt like they hadn’t quite hit the mark. That is until this year’s latest release No More Hell to Pay.
No More Hell To Pay is not just the album that I wanted to hear as a Stryper fan but it’s an album that I as a metal fan am ecstatic about. Stryper has managed to create a face melting, jaw dropping collection of songs that not only maintains the signature Stryper sound but it also sounds modernly relevant and fresh. This isn’t your average nostalgic metal band that is out of ideas and just going through the motions trying to be relevant. This is a band that has found that spark and turned into a passionate, youthful, and intense fire that burns from song to song. Sorry to talk about so much “fire” while talking about Stryper but in all seriousness, it’s epic behind all of my expectations.
Stryper digs deep into their influential roots and managed to pull three songs back to back opening the album that sound like power metal at its finest. A face melting cover of The Doobie Brothers’ classic “Jesus is Just Alright” kicks so much ass and makes you wonder what took them so long to do this one. The dueling solos in this song solidify the fact that Michael Sweet and Oz Fox are two metals most unsung and unrecognized guitar gods. These guys just shred it up while Michael Sweet’s voice is as pristine as it’s always been unleashing banshee screams that could shatter stained glass. Why Michael Sweet hasn’t always been considered when talking about great metal vocalists I will never understand but after hearing this album, it’s safe to say that he is without a doubt worthy of sitting in top tier alongside the greatest of the greats. “The One” is a ballad but not like anything they’ve ever done before. This song totally reminds me of something I would hear on an Avantasia album while “Te Amo” is straight up NWOBHM. “Renewed” closes out the album with a bang but I almost felt like I was left hanging somewhat which is a great thing. Anytime I listen to an album and when it’s over feel like I could hear more of it, I know that I’ve just listened to an awesome album.
No More Hell to Pay is a dynamic and exciting metal album no matter how you slice it. In all honesty, even the “God” message seems to be a bit more subtle which should allow even the most Athiest of fans to grasp on to. With No More Hell to Pay, Stryper demonstrates their ability to write and deliver some of the best metal songs I’ve heard this year. Sonically it’s an amazingly produced album and it sounds as bombastic and clear as any great metal album should. Do yourself a favor and at least give this album a try as it just may be the best album you won’t be hearing all year. Stryper has proven to me once and for all to be an strong and defiant force in metal standing tall no matter what gets thrown their way. Trust me, the only thing the Brainfart will be throwing Stryper’s way is two sets of high flying horns!