Originally known as Roxx
Regime, Stryper the band put together by brothers Michael and Robert
Sweet and Oz Fox back in 1981, when they set about creating a new genre
in rock, a genre that was to be tagged "Christian Rock".
Since their insurgence on the rock scene the band have split and reformed like many of the time, but now with the band coming up to its thirty year anniversary, they have come out in 2009 with what is without a doubt the bands most accessible album to date. Yes there is the underlying Christian reference in parts of the album, but it’s isn’t pushed full in to the face and the music does the talking on this album for sure.
Yes all the Stryper traits are there, but this time bigger guitar solo’s huge drum and bass and those unmistakable Michael Sweet vocals towering and screaming above it all. The album opens up with ‘Eclipse Of The Son’ an all out rocker that gets things fired up from the off. I had reservations about this track as an opener but in the context of the album then yes it fits in.
The album for me gets going with ‘4 Leaf Clover’, a hard hitting rocker with Fox getting things underway this is old school Stryper for sure, only with a modern edginess that the old albums were missing. Less pomp and more maturity of sound. This is without a doubt the best album the band have done since 'Soldiers Under Command’.
One of the highlights of the album has to be the up tempo rocker ‘Piece Of Mind’, which is a great sing-a-long track with a great chorus. It has that old school KISS meets Van Halen thing going on with Tom Scholz guesting on guitar, while M Sweet’s pure melodic vocals pushing things into the now. Things slow down a touch with the ballad ‘Alive’ before picking up once more with ‘The Plan’. Again another edgy rocker before the title track ‘Murder By Pride’, which just happens to be another of my favourite tracks off the album with a more meatier almost Metal vibe guitar from Fox, while Robert Sweet pounding out the back beat like the devils on his back.
The thunder from above keeps on coming with the excellent ‘Mercy Over Blame’, before the gentle melodic soundings of ‘I Believe’, ‘Run In You’ and ‘Love Is Why’. Three great Melodic Rock songs that any band in the genre would be proud of.
The pace is picked up a little with another of my favourites ‘Everything’, a real modern rocker that shows the band have moved forward since the 80’s and have the songs to keep edgy and up to date.
This is felt with ‘My
Love (I’ll Always Show)’, the best track on the album by miles, big
guitars wrapped around Sweets great vocals. The album closer is a
great ballad ‘My Love My Life My Flame’, a great way to end and
album that will no doubt have its critics, but if you ignore the usual
criticism that goes with the band and just go to your local record
store, pick up the album and listen to it at a listening post, believe
me you’ll be digging your pennies out to purchase this album.
1. Eclipse Of
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