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Born in the late 60's, Chesy hails from a Welsh mining village with a long name and was pretty glad when he got the Hell out of there. He got into Rock/Metal in about 1980, thanks to a TISWAS related incident (Rainbow video for All Night Long) and thankfully has never looked back. Chesy often sang solo in the school choir, but thanks to a puberty related incident his voice is now completely bolloxed, although in his own head Paul thinks he sounds like a blend of Coverdale and Dio (R.I.P). He was brought up on the classics - Deep Purple, Rainbow, Thin Lizzy, Rush, Whitesnake and loved melodic rock and the Hair Bands of the 80's. (Nowadays, he has progressed a little and prefers a more technical and/or progressive metal - Dream Theater, Rush, Symphony X, Porcupine Tree, Pain Of Salvation, Spock's Beard. He hates Black and Death Metal (can't stand the grunting) but for some unknown reason loves the magnificent Opeth! He wont stop this blog until his beloved FM finally play the likes of the NEC as a headlining act!!!

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Stryper - Second Coming Album Review





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Yay! Or should that be Hallelujah! My favourite God botherer's are back with a new album. Now if there's one Christian rock band you have to have in your collection, its Stryper. Yes they are seen as a gimmick, but if they are, then it’s a bloody good one! They have written some tripe, I don’t particularly care for the sugar coated ballads, but when they let rip, Michael Sweet has one of the finest rock voices I've ever heard, EVER!

Without a doubt, Stryper is one of the top Christian rock bands of all-time, and certainly the most celebrated Christian metal band of all time. Comprised of Michael Sweet (vocals/guitar), Oz Fox (guitar), Tim Gaines (bass), and Robert Sweet (drums), Stryper has been rocking since 1983, and is responsible for such '80s metal classic albums as 'Soldiers Under Command,' 'To Hell with the Devil,' In God We Trust,' and such MTV hit singles/videos as "Calling on You," "Free," and "Honestly." After a sabbatical for much of the 1990's, Stryper returned strong in the early 21st century (Lazarus effect). But it was not until their 2011 covers set, 'The Covering,' that the aforementioned definitive Stryper was reinstated, as the band welcomed Gaines back into the fold.

The sixteen track new album includes brand new recordings of fourteen Stryper classics plus two brand new songs recorded for this celebrative (and it’s a truly) ‘Best Of’ release.

Covering songs from the first EP of the band “The Yellow and Black Attack”, the follow up “Soldiers Under Command” and the following “To Hell With the Devil” along with two brand new tracks, “Second Coming” allows the youngest generation of fans of the band to become acquainted with the early band’s repertoire offering some over the top classic performances only this time with 21st C production techniques and a bit of welly and thunder thrown in. As the originals sounded as if they had been recorded in 4AD. 

Stryper (2013)
The re-recordings are fabulous, they’ve been recorded today as they were intended to, and probably for a fraction of the cost. In Michael Sweet, Stryper have a vocalist with the voice of a God, a Rock God! 


The heavier numbers are the ones that really stand out – ‘Loud And Clear, Soldiers Under Command; Makes Me Wanna Sing; The Rock That Makes Me Roll and To Hell With The Devil’ all have a much added depth and quality than before. Stryper haven’t messed around with the songs to suit an older Michael Sweet, as he still hits all the notes without any fuss whatsoever and that in itself is quite remarkable. The two new songs have more of a classic rock feel to them, as the opening riff to ‘Bleeding From The Inside Out’ reminds me of Rainbow’s 16th Century Greensleeves, and ‘Blackened’ is an up-tempo little affair.


Michael Sweet has high hopes for what lays in store for Stryper. "We're really excited this record. The re-recorded songs are sounding awesome! Better than the originals in many ways!! One word to describe the record? Heavier. We're hooked up with some great people - we've got new management, a great album, a great label. We just feel like everything is coming together, and hopefully some big things are to follow."

So…don’t take my word for it, check out what these guys thought of the Second Coming....

‘I could never part with it’, Moses
‘My wives loved it!’, Solomon
‘Great music for the Ark’s ipod’, Noah
‘It slayed me!’, Goliath
‘I couldn’t stop dancing’, Salome

I must add that I feel that the project has been at the behest of the head of Frontiers. Don't get me wrong, the reworked songs are decent, but I think Stryper would have been best coming to market with either a brand new set of songs (especially as the last album was a covers cd) or got the originals remastered with a handful of rare and unreleased tracks....Winter Wonderland anyone???

80/100

Tracklisting:
Loud N’ Clear;
Loving You;
Soldiers Under Command;

Makes Me Wanna Sing;
First Love;
The Rock That Makes Me Roll;
Reach Out;
Surrender;
To Hell With The Devil;
Calling On You; 
Free; 
The Way;
Sing Along Song;
More Than A Man;
Bleeding From Inside Out (New);
Blackened (New).


STRYPER

Michael Sweet – Lead Vocals / Lead Guitar
Robert Sweet – Drums and Visual Timekeeping
Timothy Gaines – Bass / Vocals
Oz Fox – Lead Guitar / Vocals

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