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Stryper: The Final Battle
Stryper - The Final Battle Album Art

Stryper: The Final Battle

Melodic Heavy Metal Rock
3.5/5.0

The history of Stryper, the Christian rock band, is one that swerves between legend and mythology. Of all the so-called Christian acts that appeared in the Eighties, only Stryper was able have a foot (and success) in both worlds, the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. Folks in both worlds were not happy with either position. Some conservative Christian groups thought they were compromising traitors to the faith (Christians shouldn't play secular rock, let alone glam metal). The secular metal world thought they were something between posers and just plain goofy (yellow and black spandex and tossing out New Testaments).

Stryper Click For Larger Image

Stryper

Nevertheless, Stryper were pioneers and, after rebooting in 2005 with Reborn, the quartet has been releasing new studio albums nearly every two to three years. Yet this has not been without difficulties. Guitarist Oz Fox has ongoing health and medical issues. Lead singer and guitarist Michael Sweet is still dealing with the effects of retinal detachment and surgery. Also, not without some confusion and controversy, the band has parted ways with original bass player Tim Gaines (to be replaced by ex-Firehouse Perry Richardson).



Among these changes, Stryper's musical style had evolved as well. Gone is the Eighties, near bubble gum, pop metal rock sound with large vocal harmony, catchy refrains, and lyrics that were loosely veiled in a Gospel message. More recently, Stryper has become somewhat harder, heavier and sometimes faster, yet still bringing melody, harmony, and groove. Much of their sound reminds me of Michael Sweet's work with Sunbomb (Tracii Guns), Sweet & (George) Lynch, and perhaps, recently, Iconic. Ergo, more guitar forward with a deeper thumping rhythm section, yet also wrapped in a brooding character. In one sense, Stryper may have transformed into the classic hard rock/metal band that some may have expected of them in the Eighties, at least as compared to their secular peers. But I'm just spit balling now.

Nevertheless, you'll hear this more direct and heavier approach with Same Old Story, No Rest For The Wicked. or See No Evil Hear No Evil. Alternatively, Stryper stays heavy but gets faster with Rise To The Call and Transgressor. As for ballads, perhaps they come with Heart & Soul or better, Near. But don't expect something akin to the quintessential Eighties rock/metal ballads like Honestly or I Believe In You.

All said, Stryper's The Final Battle finds the band still in their new groove of hard and heavy, deep and brooding, melodic metal rock. This is not your father's Stryper from the glorious glam and hair metal days of the Eighties. Yet similarities remain. Same but different. Recommended.



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The Take Away

Stryper's The Final Battle finds the band still in their new groove of hard and heavy, deep and brooding, melodic metal rock. This is not your father's Stryper from the glorious glam hair metal days of the Eighties. Yet similarities remain. Same but different. Recommended.

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