Saturday, November 9, 2013

No More Hell To Pay

1986 was a milestone year in Christian Music. At least if you were a headbanger. It was the year that a bunch of long haired freaks dethroned one of Pop Music's favorite singers, at least for a moment. The most sung youth ballad in history was, for a while, replaced by some Sweet Music.

Robert Sweet, Michael Sweet, Timothy Gaines, Oz Fox. We know them as Stryper. The name hails from the Bible. Isaiah 53:5 to be exact (by His Stripes we are healed). The album was called To Hell With The Devil , and the original cover featuring four long haired angels casting the devil into Hell caused quite a stir among the CCM Industry at large and was replaced by a black triangle logo with the name underneath. Most notable, at least for me, was that the ballad Honestly actually supplanted Friends by Michael W. Smith. Plus the album went platinum. Rare for a Christian Album at any time. In the 80's, and to a heavy metal band.

Fast Forward 27 years. Stryper is still among us, a feat in itself. Of course they did take somewhat of a sabbatical from 1991 to 1999. Still, when they reunited they did it with all the original members.

No More Hell to Pay , the third original album from the reunited band, is the sequel to THWTD in more ways than one. First, counting The Yellow and Black Attack EP, it is the
third album in sequence, not counting best of's and covers. Then there is another angel themed album cover. And finally, there is a Hell themed title.

That's pretty much where the similarities between the two end. This is by far the loudest and strongest Stryper album to date. The One, which is the only ballad on the album, is not what you would expect, honestly. It is still good. The anthems are where the band has always shone, and it is no different here. The Guitar Work by The Wizard of OZ is to be envied by any guitarist short of Phil Keaggy and Robert Sweet can still hit the high notes. Last Year I gave their students, Canadians Blessed By A Broken Heart, a Five Emerald Rating. I can do no less for the teachers here. The title cut alone is worth the albums, with typical tight three part harmonies. But then there is Revelation.

I'm, I'm, I'm, Coming like a thief at night. And You, you, you, you're out of time so make it right. There, There, There, will be no more apologies. Cause, my, my, my, my wrath will spread like a disease.
There's a Revelation, it's coming after you. Without hesitation, it's gonna bring the truth.
5 Emeralds. I can really do no less for No More Hell to Pay . The only Hell to pay will be if you don't get this album. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.