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

Stryper – Live at the Whisky
Frontiers Records

www.frontiers.it

Rating: B

Stryper is that band that just won’t go away.  You want to hate them and their Christian values, as that is so NOT rock ‘n’ roll.  Well, I forgive you for wanting to hate.  You want to write them off as a joke.  You want to make fun of the bee outfits—okay, you DO make fun of the bee outfits—but when push comes to shove and you listen to these guys play, you just can’t bitch too loudly.  Sure, the whole idea of a Christian hair metal band is kinda silly, unless you’re into that sort of thing.  And maybe they laid it on thick back in the day, but when anyone who is an honest to God (heh-heh, like how I threw that in) fan of hard rock music must admit that these guys are damn good at what they do.

Michael Sweet knows the anti-cool Stryper stigma better than anyone.  He’s lived with smart ass reviewers starting their reviews harping about their faith and making fun of their MTV outfits for his entire career.  Yet, he still keeps rocking.  He pushes ahead and, truth be told, Sweet and Stryper are making harder rocking tunes that are the best of their career.  The band’s fans seem to agree with me as well.  Their latest studio effort, from which the tour was recorded to make this CD/DVD from, is their highest charting album since No More Hell to Pay.  Stryper features the original lineup of Michael Sweet (vocals/guitars), Robert Sweet (drums), Oz Fox (guitars) and Tim Gaines (bass) which is cool; at least they have not brought along any new disciples into the mix---oh, stop me, there I go again.  The DVD shows the band having fun and not slowing down a bit.  They don’t even act like a Christian band so much, which is cool.  They are who they are, and they are comfortable with that and so are their fans.  They play the music the way they want to, and even throw in a cool version of the classic rock song “Jesus is Just Alright.”

Bottom line: So what if they get teased and so what if they believe in a Christian God.  We, meaning I, should be sort of, at least a tad, embarrassed to take the easy path of pointing fingers and laughing—well the bee suits are funny, but other than that…They are a good band and they should be judged on their musical abilities. Wait, only the Lord can judge (not Jon Lord). These guys are good, and if this is your kinda music then skip the sarcasm and open your ears and rock out with your cock out…well, maybe I just crossed the line again.  Let’s just say rock out.  Yeah, that’s enough.  You get the idea.  By the way, Sweet can play a sweet-ass guitar solo. 

Michael Sweet sums it up best when he states, We've always wanted to record a live album that captures the rawness of the band and this is it! We couldn't be more thrilled than to have captured this at the infamous Whisky, where it all began for us. After 30 years, we're still proud to do what we do, and hopefully it shows. This is an intimate performance, the way it should be."

Tracklisting:
CD:
Legacy
Marching Into Battle
You Know What To Do
Loud N' Clear
Reach Out
Calling On You
Free
More Than A Man
The Rock That Makes Me Roll
No More Hell To Pay
Jesus Is Just Alright
Always There For You
All For One; The Way
To Hell With The Devil
Soldiers Under Command.

DVD:
Legacy
Marching Into Battle
You Know What To Do
Loud N' Clear
Reach Out
Calling On You
Free
More Than A Man
The Rock That Makes Me Roll
No More Hell To Pay
Jesus Is Just Alright
Always There For You
All For One; The Way
To Hell With The Devil
Soldiers Under Command
No More Hell To Pay (Videoclip)
Sympathy (Videoclip)
Nashville All Access (Interview)

By Jeb Wright

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