RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Stryper – No More Hell to Pay
Frontiers Records
www.stryper.com

Rating: B+

Quit laughing all you know it all Metal heads out there.  Get that smirk off your face and read my words.  Sure, they wore the yellow and black and had big hair…really big hair.  Yes, they played the Christian thing to the hilt and eventually kind of became a parody of themselves and, of course, it all kind of crashed and burned when Grunge hit the scene.  But, and hear this loud and clear, Stryper are back with all original members and they have released the heaviest and best album of their career.

Lyrically, there is still a lot of Book of Revelations type stuff but this is Stryper and they will never get away from that.  It is not the words that matter on No More Hell to Pay, however, it is the music and the harmonies, the solos and sonic vocal wails.  This is the most pure Heavy Metal album the band has ever released.  It is, musically, a huge slab of guitar solos and riffs, mixed with a powerful rhythm section and awesome vocals that will make one forget that the bee outfits ever existed. 

“Marching Into Battle” was written when vocalist and lead guitarist Michael Sweet was 16 years old and it is  a powerful rocker.  “No More Hell to Pay” is another strong song that brings Stryper into the league of Metal band on their own efforts without the need for any marketing shtick.  “Te Amo” is another one that is strong.  The remake of “Jesus is Just Alright” brings a Metal edge to a classic song that is sure to be a live favorite.  “Sticks & Stones” slips back into goody two shoes land a bit but the rest of the album is a powerhouse of hard rock.  “Water Into Wine” tips the hat to Iron Maiden in places while “Sympathy” begins with a riff that would be welcome on any album by Judas Priest.

Michael Sweet is the leader of this band and he is the star of this show.  The songs he wrote and the guitar solos on them will have this cranked up to 11 all night long.  He sings his ass off on this one as well. 

No More Hell to Pay sees the band taking themselves seriously and making the album they always had in them.  This is a great collection of ‘80s hard rock that is sure to impress anyone who gives it a chance.

By Jeb Wright                                          

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