For 30 years now, Stryper has been mixing solos and scripture, volume and veneration, headbanging and hallelujahs, and the Christian rockers are at it again on an album that preserves their classic ‘80s-metal sound while spreading the word to a new generation. You don’t have to be a Christian to love the wall-smashing power chords, rapid-fire guitar solos, and ground-pounding drums on “No More Hell to Pay.” Nor do you have to be a heavy metal fan to connect with the band’s message.
Most of this album is pure, distilled Stryper, circa 1986, as a number of tracks would have been as at home on “To Hell with the Devil” as they are here. That’s not to say Stryper’s music hasn’t evolved; it most certainly has. “Sympathy” is more complex than anything the band has attempted in a while. But Stryper remains true to a sound and substance that made it the darling of MTV during the hair metal days.
Where other bands would be content to play a power chord, Michael Sweet and lead guitarist Oz Fox play dueling harmonic riffs to create an instantly recognizable sound that has become their trademark. “Saved by Love” is a full-speed-ahead rocker fueled by tasty solos from Fox, truly one of the most underrated metal guitarists of all time, and the obligatory power ballad “The One” has the same spirit as their ‘80s hit “Honestly.”
Stryper ‘No More Hell to Pay’ Rating: W W W W