Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Twenty five years ago Stryper released the now classic six song EP entitled the ‘Yellow and Black Attack’. A rather startled and astonished music community was taken aback by this foursome from Southern California. Large contingents of fans developed and have hung on through a lot of ups and downs.

Record label issues, Christian Pastor issues, Personal issues, Image issues, Christian Church issues, Air play issues ( I never heard them played in the San Francisco Bay Area EVER!), yet these guys have seemingly overcome the many obstacles placed in front of them. I can’t think of another artist other than Amy Grant to receive such ridicule and criticism from looks to sound of the music. Currently, their biggest obstacle, without a doubt; being the passing of Michael Sweet’s wife Kyle earlier this year from cancer. Time will tell how that will play itself out. My condolences go out to Mike and his family.

That brings us to Stryper’s current release ‘Murder by Pride’. After what many viewed as a disappointing comeback disc in 2005’s ‘Reborn’ left many wondering would Stryper ever put out an album as good as say ‘To Hell With The Devil’ or ‘Against The Law’? Well I’m not sure if this current disc will negate the nay sayers because even though there are many elements of what might be called the ‘classic’ Stryper sound, there are also many things that are not.

Being a life long Stryper fan (bought that EP in 84, but avoided the remix in 86 because that just didn’t cut it at all… thanks Cliffy for that re-master!) I really hoped for something that was just gonna flat out ROCK from beginning to end. Having said that there are many moments on ‘Murder by Pride’ where the Band shines.

The cover of Boston’s “Peace of Mind” simply cranks with ALL the Stryper elements, high energy music, guitar melodies, vocal harmonies and LOUD GUITARS! ‘4 Leaf Clover’ gets the job done as a nice hard rock number with a great chorus and it does sound like Stryper. It has a cool groove and the song feels like Stryper 2009.

Disc opener ‘Eclipse for the Son’ has a very modern rock vibe. The song itself is probably the fastest tune on the disc with a screaming guitar solo. However title track ‘Murder by Pride’ is a mid tempo rocker that initially reminded me of ‘Calling on You’ with a familiar sounding guitar harmony and tempo. Yet this song is a bit heavier than the aforementioned single from Stryper’s “To Hell With The Devil.” There are several other tunes that are pretty catchy and rock pretty well ‘Mercy over Blame’, “Alive” and “Everything” show that the band can still belt it out.

The re-recording of ‘My Love (I’ll Always Show)’ does seem a bit out of place, this song was written 25 years ago and appeared on the ‘Roxx Regime’ CD. There are several ballads/acoustic rock songs that don’t seem to really fit. It would seem they would’ve been more appropriate on a Michael Sweet solo album. It would’ve been nice to see some of the other guys contributing musically to the songs, but from what I can see Michael wrote all the material. I’m sure Oz has a few ditties he could’ve contributed. Oh well.

This album isn’t the home run I’d hoped for but enjoyable none the less. I can’t help wondering tho why does the Boston tune simply RIP and the other songs almost seem pedestrian by comparison. Just my opinion. Stryper fans should enjoy this album without reservation.

8 AXES PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

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