Written By Jason Voorhees
There never has been; nor will there ever be another band like Faith No More.
To put it quite simply...this is a band that was way ahead of it's time. They were KORN before there was KORN. They were Limp Bizkit and Kid Rock before there was Limp Bizkit or Kid Rock. And they were Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, and Linkin Park before those bands arrived.
Faith No More is widely considered one of the most important metal bands of the late eighties. This is due in large part to their diverse musical style that later paved the way for multiple metal genres to form. The band dabbled in synth, punk, industrial, funk, and experimental rock among many others. These forays later produced genres such as nu-metal, industrial goth and alternative.
No matter what style metal you prefer, Faith No More has undoubtedly produced a track that peaks your fancy. While the earlier incarnation was plagued by dysfunction and multiple lineup changes; the traditional lineup had one of the more successful stretches in metal history despite being short lived.
After a lengthy breakup, the band finally returned in 2015 with a brand new studio album. As we celebrate the greatness of Faith No More, let's take a deep dive into their discography catalog from worst to first. You say you want it all but you cant have it. However; you better buckle up your seatbelts as it's gonna be an Epic ride!
7. 'We Care A lot' (1985)
This was a record that left so many things to be desired. That's not to say that the debut album was a complete bust. Only that it was lacking in quality production, consistent songwriting and creativity. The album features Chuck Mosley on vocals for starters. His unconventional vocal style provided glimpses of what was yet to come and certainly peaked the interest of the underground musical community. However; the band wasn't quite ready to conquer mainstream royalty and the album sales suffered. The album did invoke several key Faith No More ingredients such as the thrash style guitar riffs, sonic synthesized melodies, blistering rhythms and bombastic drums. Standout tracks include the title track, "The Jungle", "As the Worm Turns" and the instrumental "Pills For Breakfast." Certainly not a terrible record but definitely the low point for Faith No More...this was just the beginning.
6. 'Introduce Yourself' (1987)
A sophomore jinx was not what the Dr. ordered. This was a step up from the albums predecessor. Musically and lyrically it was advanced. You could tell that the band was maturing before our eyes and the music showed. The band's creativity shined brightly on this album as the songwriting improved. The result was a more clean sound with plenty of consistent direction. The multidimensional blueprint had been choreographed and now the world was ready for Faith No More. However; the band was internally searching for the missing piece of the puzzle, as the current front man was in the cross hairs and the rest is history. Tracks like "Faster Disco", "Introduce Yourself", "R N' R" and "The Crab Song" provided an archetype for the band's next great leap. Marked improvement as Faith No More is now on the fast track.
5. 'Sol Invictus' (2015)
"Sol Invictus" marks a return to roots moment for Faith No More. The only difference is Mike Patton on the microphone, and the results were astounding. This is a multiple award winning record. Likewise it's a record that received critically high marks and reviews all across the board. Faith No More does a marvelous job capturing the raw edgy style of their beginnings. However; they were able to maintain a mixture of modern day elements all the while focusing on their long term proven formula. Standout tracks include "Sol Invictus", "Sunny Side Up", and "Rise of the Fall." However, the true gem is "Superhero" which ranks among the bands true stalwart tracks. A solid record that provides a reminder just how great this band is. Back in form as metal enthusiasts celebrate all over the world! Stellar album for a stellar band.
4. 'King For A Day...Fool For A Lifetime' (1995)
If hard hitting rock is what you crave then this is probably your favorite FNM record. A new man on the axe in toe (Jim Martin) is now out; the album takes on a heavier mixture of punk and jazz infused shock rock. Mike Patton's vocal excellence is prominent on this album as well. When everyone is expecting the band to zig, Faith No More instead decides to zag; and that's what makes this band so fun to follow. They are never afraid to push the envelop of creativity as they constantly change directions. This marks yet another evolution as the group channels their inner butterfly in flight. The album is littered with stone cold killers like "Digging the Grave" and "The Gentle Art of Making Enemies." While others like "Take This Bottle" and "The Last To Know" remain more hidden. We are now getting closer to elite level here.
3. 'Album Of The Year' (1997)
This is definitely the most underrated album in the discography; in spite of it's ironic title 'Album of the Year.' The album is a punishing display of bludgeoning harmonies and melodies. It's like a cross between 'Angel Dust' and 'The Real Thing.' If you take the best parts of each of those albums and fuse them into one the results lie in this bed. It features terrific songwriting, impressive lyrics, top of the line composition and elite production. The combination of raw power metal and swirling synthesized melodies have this album screaming epic. From the opening in your face "Collision" to the hard rocker "Mouth to Mouth". Followed by the beast of an anthem "Last Cup of Sorrow." There are also the twin techno infused powerhouse studs "Stripsearch" and "Ashes to Ashes". This may not be album of their career material but certainly top of the line worthy!
2. 'The Real Thing' (1989)
Most people rank this record at the top of FNM's catalog and they certainly can't be faulted. However; these lists are not quantified by popularity or how well the album performed. Because if we were using that formula, the fact remains that this is the crème de le crème. This was the record before it's time, a crossover beacon of creative juices. The rap laden monster hit "Epic" is what paces the record. While the other star power anthems "From Out of Nowhere" and "Falling to Pieces" drive the bus. However; the hidden gems define the album...songs like "Surprise You're Dead", "Underwater Love", "Woodpecker From Mars" and "Edge of The World" are timeless classics; as well as the enigmatic cover of "War Pigs." But one would be remiss if they didn't call out the title track "The Real Thing" which outranks them all on the greatness scale. This was the true epic of the record. Mount Rushmore 1-A here folks.
1. 'Angel Dust' (1992)
This masterpiece leaves the rest of the albums in a cloud of dust; and after that dust settles you can emphatically see why. While it's predecessor laid the groundwork, this record perfects that formula. Lyrically and stylistically 'Angel Dust' is far advanced. The production of this record also stands out. Once again, an album with zero filler. While most people recognize the stellar standout tracks like "Midlife Crisis", "A Small Victory" and even the cover of "Easy"; it's once again those deep cuts that make this record the gold standard. "Land of Sunshine" simply kicks ass. "Caffeine" and "Smaller and Smaller" bring down the house. However; my personal favorite "Kindergarten" has that classic FNM flavor with an added element of eerie creepiness. This record is always slept on and that's why most put 'The Real Thing' ahead of it. However; true music enthusiasts and critics realize this records place in the musical landscape. In fact, this is not only the top of the food chain for Faith No More; but this album also belongs among the top albums of that entire decade.
Written By Jason Voorhees
Welcome to another edition of Top Album Lists here at Philly Rock Radio.
Since we already have covered 3/4 of the Big 4 of Thrash, it's only fitting that we complete the puzzle with Slayer. There have always been differing opinions on where Slayer ranks among the Thrash Metal greats. However; one thing that remains unquestioned is that this band is the heaviest and loudest of the bunch.
During their 40 years of existence, Slayer has carved out a pretty impressive catalog that stands the test of time. In that time, Slayer provided a benchmark for all future subsequent extreme metal bands. They are the archetypal thrash metal purists and their intensity, fearsome approach, and deadly precision remains unmatched.
With that being said, there are wide ranging opinions on which of their albums and how many approach greatness. We are here to settle the debate once and for all which ones remain at the top as well as which ones miss the mark. So without further ado, here is the best of Slayer's catalog from worst to first...
12. 'Diabolus in Musica' (1998)
Instead of staying true to their unrivaled formula, the band caved to external peer pressure while taking a dive into the nu-metal foray. While the album is certainly not terrible, it unfortunately doesn't quite meet the criteria that Slayer fans expect. Down tuned guitars and experimental vocals were what the Dr. ordered but the people were not buying. High points include "Bitter Peace", "Stain of Mind", and "Death's Head." Fortunately, this is the low point of Slayer's catalog.
11. 'Repentless' (2015)
After the untimely passing of lead guitarist Jeff Hanneman, the prospect of getting a solid record again were grim. However; one must admit, the band did their very best to replicate the classic style fans have grown to love. The album actually turned out pretty decent which was a pleasant surprise, and also a testament to the talent of Gary Holt who did his best Hanneman imitation. Unfortunately, the band could not duplicate the songwriting...good but not great.
10. 'Divine Intervention' (1994)
Drummer Dave Lombardo was out of the band. Enter Paul Bostaph. Honestly, Slayer did not miss a beat on the percussion side of things. However; they seemed to be lacking direction on this record. There are a few stellar tracks which show that this album has star potential. Songs like "Killing Fields", and "Sex, Murder, Art." followed the tried and true formula. Meanwhile, the title track lent creedence to the albums overall success. Unfortunately, there is too much filler present which hinders the albums flow. Decent but not a classic.
9. 'Undisputed Attitude' (1996)
Although most people would argue that a cover album has no business being included on a list such as this, the fact remains that this is not just an ordinary cover album. In fact, the band went totally out of their comfort zone in the process and for that they get high marks. It's a raw edgy punk rocking thriller that knocks the listener on their ass. Not to mention the fact that there are two tracks included from Jeff Hanneman's early solo projects as well as one original. Extremely underrated record and definitely worthy of it's place on the map.
8. 'Christ Illusion' (2006)
This marked the return of Dave Lombardo as the band was firing on all cylinders. It was also a return to the band's roots as they tried to recreate the magic of yesteryears. Although the album doesn't quite match classic era Slayer, it does match that intensity. The result is a fantastic mixture of in your face banter as well as solid musicianship. The record is littered with top end talent like "Flesh Storm", "Eyes of the Insane" and "Catatonic". However; it's hidden gems like "Jihad" and "Supremist" that clearly define the albums ear test. Solid effort not quite top tier yet though.
7. 'God Hates Us All' (2001)
Having been released on September 11, 2001, the album remains a haunting and chilling reminder of just how terrible that day was. Just read the album cover. However; the album was clearly an attempt from Slayer to recapture their magic of old. Although the album doesn't quite match classic era Slayer as far as greatness, it does indeed reach that same intensity. The album is littered with standout tracks including "Disciple", "God Send Death" and "Bloodline". Slayer had clearly embraced their roots as they pressed reset. Solid and inching closer to next level.
6. 'World Painted Blood' (2009)
Some of Slayer's best songwriting finds it's home on this record. The fearsome foursome was at the top of their game and the results paid instant dividends. The record opens with the title track which beckons "A" list material on any playlist as the hits keep coming. Tracks like "Unit 731" and "Snuff" hit harder than a wrecking ball. Then there's the haunting and ethereal "Beauty Through Order" and "Human Strain". However; the true gem for me is "Playing With Dolls" which would even scare the shit out of satan himself. We have now reached classic level and are ready to enter elite.
5. 'Show No Mercy' (1983)
The birthplace of Slayer took place on this thrilling debut. The band channeled traditional rock and roll roots and mixed it with a punky flavor which resulted in this stone cold classic. Much like Metallica's 'Kill Em All' it's an album that was clearly ahead of it's time. Raw and edgy with bombastic flavor that hits you at the core. And it foreshadowed the greatness of Jeff Hanneman's songwriting which clearly was approaching elite at this point. The record is full of timeless classics like "Black Magic", "Die By The Sword", and "Evil Has No Boundaries". Even the title track sizzles.
4. 'Hell Awaits' (1985)
Slayer shocked the world with the album cover and title. Nonetheless, it marked a huge leap forward both musically and stylistically for the band. Slayer was not about to wash their hands in a sophomore slump; instead staking their claim of the thrash metal musical landscape. This is a tremendous record that is often overlooked in the band's discography. Groundbreaking tracks like "Hell Awaits" and "At Dawn They Sleep" pace the album while songs like "Necrophiliac" foreshadowed that signature Slayer smash and bash energy. We have now reached elite.
3. 'South of Heaven' (1988)
It would be almost impossible to follow up a benchmark iconic record like 'Reign In Blood'. However; Slayer nearly pulled off just that feat here. In fact a coupe de ta was clearly in reach as they dialed it back in a 360 degree manner as far as intensity. While it's predecessor fed off of the fast and furious stab you in the heart type riffs, 'South of Heaven' featured extremely slow dialed back mid tempo killers. Littered with star power..."Spill The Blood", "Silent Scream", "Behind the Crooked Cross", "Mandatory Suicide" and the infamous title track hit harder than a Mark McGwire homerun. Meanwhile, their cover of the Judas Priest classic "Dissident Aggressor' absolutely nails the coffin.
2. 'Seasons In The Abyss' (1990)
This has always been my personal favorite Slayer record. It's like a cross between 'Reign In Blood' and 'South of Heaven.' The band took the best from both of these albums and created a dual threat combination. The results were a magnificent masterpiece of grandeur. The album flow is damn near perfect. The musical production and sound is pristine. Rick Rubin did his best Leonardo De Vinci impersonation here. Hits are endless as tracks like "Dead Skin Mask", "Spirit in Black", "Skeletons of Society" and more dominate the façade spontaneously. However, it's the bookend stalwarts that define the albums greatness. Top notch here and definitely elite material.
1. 'Reign In Blood' (1986)
The quintessential album of Slayer's catalog and quite possibly the greatest in thrash metal history. A 30 minute tour of hell's gates take place on this iconic roller coaster of fantastic musicianship. Stellar songwriting and composition the likes we may never see again happen. It's an all out assault of every musical adjective you can objectify. A bombastic and riveting masterpiece of art. Fast and furious, lightning full speed ahead dominance that strikes you at the core. Zero filler is present as the hits just keep on coming. Plug in sit back and it will all be over soon!! Hands down the best for Slayer and right at the top of the thrash metal Mount Rushmore!
Written By Jason Voorhees
It's not a stretch to say that Anthrax is often the forgotten band when it comes to the Big4.
While they are sometimes overlooked, they undoubtedly hold a special place in thrash metal hearts worldwide. Wallowing out of the slums of New York, big-time producer Johnny Zazula helped Anthrax rise to the top during the thrash metal insurgence of the mid-eighties.
While fellow counterparts Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer closely followed their same signature formula sound and style during most of their careers, Anthrax ran the gamut in both style and diversity. Most metal fans and critics define the eras by which the lead singer is behind the microphone.
Whether your love finds favor with Joey Belladonna or if John Bush peaks your fancy, one part of the band has always stayed true to form. And that's the triplets: Charlie Benante (drums), Scott Ian (rhythm guitar), and Frank Bello (bass). That group has employed Anthrax's core songwriting duties for the majority of its existence.
Over the years, Anthrax has established the most diverse discography catalog of the entire Big4. While there have been a few low points, most of their records have performed very well, enjoying much success. So instead of wasting any more time with boring introductions...let's jump head-on into the fire as we rank the best of Anthrax from worst to first. I forgot to mention...this is strictly studio albums (not including other fine works such as 'Attack of the Killer B's' or 'Anthems').
11. 'Stomp 442' (1995)
Most definitely the low point in their discography. Indeed not a terrible record, but not very memorable either. This was the sophomore album with John Bush in the driver's seat, and the results were inconsistent at best. The songwriting was uninspiring, lacking a clear vision. The standout tracks include "Fueled," "Riding Shotgun," and "I'm In A Zone," which had a very nu-metal style tone. Dan Spitz was out of the band, and so was the energy. Too much filler and little, very little thriller.
10. 'We've Come For You All' (2003)
This was a comeback of sorts during the John Bush era. While many fans had grown tired of the bands' lack of direction, the album was a semi-return to basics. The old inspiration that had been missing the previous few years was back. With Rob Caggiano on the ax, there was more energy, and the groove was back in the band's step. Tracks like "Safe Home," "Black Dhalia," and "Taking the Music Back" offered a more classic style of thrash. It was not the time to "Think About An End" just yet. Anthrax was back in the game.
9. 'Fistful of Metal' (1984)
It was a stellar debut for the New York thrashers. A raw and edgy mixture of in-your-face metal provided the fledgling archetype for the band's future endeavors. Johnny Z hit another home run signing these guys as the results speak for themselves. A classic thrash onslaught featuring "Deathrider," "Panic," mosh pit favorite "Metal Thrashing Mad." There's also a badass cover of Alice Cooper's megahit "Eighteen." A truly substantially solid debut; and, more importantly, an extremely fun listen.
8. 'State of Euphoria' (1988)
This was the epitome of going back to the well one too many times. Instead of building off the momentum from its Mount Rushmore- Esque predecessor, the album sadly became a repetitive beacon of familiarity. Anthrax could have taken their act to new heights, but unfortunately, the creativity stalled. That's not to say that it lacks some beautiful moments. Songs like "Be All, End All," "Make Me Laugh," and "Finale" are standout stalwarts. However, the cover of "Antisocial" became a huge hit appearing regularly on MTV's Headbanger's Ball. Solid but not great.
7. 'Persistence of Time' (1990)
This may be Anthrax's best record both stylistically and lyrically. It's more advanced and closer to what should have come after 'Among the Living.' The songwriting is both intricate and intense. I always say that this is where Anthrax albums go from decent to absolute knockouts. The record is littered with star power beginning to end, including the opener "Time" as well as "Keep it in the Family," "Belly of the Beast," "In My World," "Got the Time," and "Discharge." A masterpiece of violent energy. Anthrax was not messing around anymore.
6. 'For All Kings' (2016)
They say we learn from our mistakes, and Anthrax truly learned after the 'State of Euphoria' aftermath. Coming off of their huge hit 'Worship Music,' the band was faced with a similar situation to that experiment. This time instead of zigging, Anthrax decided to zag. While the album still shared similarities to its predecessor, 'For All Kings' provided fresh and new ideas and various style changes. The album is filled with greatness lead by "You Gotta Believe," "Monster At the End," "For All Kings," "Breathing Lightning," and "Defend Avenge." "Blood Eagle Wings" is an epic masterpiece.
5. 'Volume 8' (1998)
This is hands down their most underrated album ever written. I'm going to catch major flack for placing it so high. But while many fans and critics hold the record in low regards, do not mistake popularity with true greatness. And this is a top album list, not a popularity contest. It features very intense songwriting and too dark lyrics during a very dark time in the band's emotional state. Standouts are plentiful: "Crush," "Catharsis," "Inside Out," and "P&V" is as fearsome of a foursome as you will find in thrash metal anthology. The extraordinary record, fight me if you disagree.
4. 'Spreading The Disease' (1985)
No sophomore slump here, folks. Another stone-cold classic for the empire-state thrash metal rockers. A genre-defining release that's often a prototype metal record for guitarists to learn from. Plenty of high-level material leaves the listener feeling pretty hype and stoked. It's either well-known classics or hidden gem glory in the toe...zero filler resides on this album. Tracks like "Madhouse," "Medusa," and "A.I.R." pace the record while "Gung-Ho," "Aftershock," and "Stand or Fall" define it! Now this was the album that sent them flying to the top.
3. 'Sound of White Noise' (1993)
The birthplace of the John Bush-era could have been a colossal disappointment. Instead, the band buckled down and produced arguably their most artistic record up until that point. The album performed exceptionally well on the charts and was received by fans and critics alike. A provocative induced coma on the senses, this is an eardrum popping barnburner of reckless abandon. The Megahit "Only" is the highpoint, but it's only the tip of the iceberg in this album's greatness. Other standouts include "Black Lodge," "Room For One More," and "Hy Pro Glo." John Bush brought a newfound passion, and his presence was band-altering.
2. 'Worship Music' (2011)
One of the most anticipated reunion comeback releases in metal history was a slam dunk home run. This record is so good, and it could very well be their greatest when truly admiring its contents. Anthrax brought their A-game from opening to close, and it's a classic style Anthrax that you could ever get. This album brings back memories of the classic era thrashers. The fans loved it, and the critics were enamored as well. Probably the best overall produced album as far as sound goes. It runs the entire gamut of Anthrax's career both stylistically and lyrically. It boasts hit after hit with no bad tracks insight. Plug and play at its most delicate push play.
1. 'Among The Living' (1987)
As tough as the competition is, 'Among the Living' undoubtedly takes the cake as the Anthrax discography's quintessential album. Far and away, their most mature songwriting effort overall and one that only fed the rabid moshing persona of its loyal die-hard thrashers. "Caught in A Mosh," "I am the Law," "Efilnikufesin," "Indians," "Imitation of Life," the list keeps going and going. A masterpiece of thrash metal art has stood the test of time and ranks right up there at the top of all metal albums all-time. A definitive cornerstone for the band and one that even the most novel fans must bow to. Say hello to greatness here, folks!
Written By Jason Voorhees
Stryper is hoping to pull off one heck of a feat in 2020.
They are trying to release not one but two studio albums. Yes that's right you heard it correctly. According to the band's leader Michael Sweet, the band is working on an all acoustic album as we speak, which would be the first of it's kind for them. Stryper is also putting the finishing touches on it's 13th studio album which will be released sometime this summer.
When the best of heavy metal is talked about, Stryper rarely finds itself in that discussion. However; as the saying goes...the truth will set you free. True fans and metal critics realize just how much of a travesty it is to not put the Christian metal pioneers in the top rungs when discussing metal band greatness.
What's not to love about this band as their talents are endless. After coming on strong during the early eighties hair metal scene, Stryper became a mainstay during the rise of glam metal in the mid to late eighties. After struggling and suffering a lengthy hiatus, the band came back to form in the late 2000's.
The last decade has saw Stryper release some of it's best work. The band has carved out quite an impressive discography catalog over the years. With a highly anticipated double album release this summer, we figured now would be a great time to rank the best of the best.
So without further ado...here is the best of Stryper ranked worst to first...come along on this journey!
12. 'Reborn' (2005)
After originally being slated as a Michael Sweet solo album, the rest of the band heard the material and wanted in. In some ways, this was kind of a rebirth as it featured the bands first original material in over 15 years. Stryper tried to find a more contemporary sound as the record took on a much heavier tone. In fact, some have compared it to the nu-metal genre. Although it's not a terrible album, it most definitely lacks the classic Stryper elements that we have grown to love. High points include "Passion" and "Open Your Eyes." A familiar favorite also appears on the record as "I.G.W.T." is a modern day remake of the smash hit "In God We Trust." Welcome back boys.
11. 'The Yellow And Black Attack' (1984)
The birthplace of Stryper takes place on this iconic stalwart. Some would say its sacreligious to have this one so low on the list. Just because its so low does not make it a bad record. In fact, this is an awesome album as it has stood the test of time. The epic opener "Loud and Clear" emphatically highlights Michael Sweet's stellar vocal range as well as the one-two punch of guitar greatness of both Oz Fox and Sweet. "Loving You", "Co'Mon Rock" and "From Wrong To Right" all feature soaring vocals, foundation rocking guitars, sing along choruses and blistering solos. A stellar debut for the killer bees. There are always growing pains for up and coming bands but this was certainly a tone setter.
10. 'Murder By Pride' (2009)
A throwback in so many words. Many people consider this to be the most underrated album in their catalog. Despite an underwhelming sound production and sometimes inconsistent song flow, the album features a darker side for the band both musically and stylistically. Although drummer Robert Sweet is not featured on the album due to a mishap in the recording process, he did appear on the subsequent tour. The standout tracks are "Run In You", "Alive", as well as the solid title track. However; the cover of Boston's "Peace of Mind" was the track that drove the album's success. Meanwhile, deeper cuts like "4Leaf Clover" and "Everything" are the ones that truly define the record's significance!
9. 'In God We Trust' (1988)
The follow up to the smash hit 'To Hell With The Devil' was a defining moment for the band. Stryper had achieved commercial success and now they looked to refine their formula and sound. Where the previous three albums seemed to build off each other musically and lyrically, this was a more open effort to go mainstream. The record has an extremely poppy vibe as it adds keyboards and more of an opera approach on vocals. The songwriting, guitar riffs, power vocals, catchy choruses and production is unrivaled at that point in Stryper's career. The title track "In God We Trust" was a massive hit. Other standout tracks include "Always There For You", "The Writings on the Wall", and "Come to Everlife."
8. 'Against The Law' (1990)
This was the unmasking of Stryper figuratively. The band shed their yellow and black spandex as well as the original bold band logo with Isaiah 53:5. These iconic elements were replaced by leather outfits and lyrics that were more focused on rock n' roll and relationships. While many hardcore fans screamed blasphemy, truth be told it was a bold move and one that ultimately paid off. The record is paced by top notch songwriting and thought provoking lyrics. The album has very little filler and is very close to plug n play. Solid tracks abound on this one including "Against the Law", "Two Time Woman", "Rock the People", "Ordinary Man" and "All For One". Definitely one of my all time favorites.
7. 'Second Coming' (2013)
Your probably wondering how an album that is mostly filled with re-recordings finds a place so high on the list. Well, the answer is simple. Michael Sweet is not only the lead vocalist of the band, but he has become a world class producer. His excellence is firmly implanted all over this masterpiece. It's basically every one of the band's classic tracks on steroids. The guitar work is masterful. The Fox/Sweet duo is extremely impressive. Drummer Robert Sweet's talents also explode all over the map. And bassist Tim Gaines gives an epic performance as well. When I'm searching for a go to record, this is certainly high on my list. Stryper is definitely back with a vengeance here!
6. 'The Covering' (2011)
This album most definitely could be much higher on the list if not for the fact that Stryper has reinvented themselves on the mountain artistically. Despite the fact that there is only one original track ("God") on the record, their approach in covering these mainstay classics simply sizzles. The band's amazing musical talents are full on display here. In fact, many of their versions are actually more impressive than the originals. All of the bands that they try to emulate here had huge influences on them growing up. Sweet, The Scorpions, Black Sabbath, UFO, Kansas, Deep Purple, KISS, Ozzy Osbourne, Van Halen, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Led Zeppelin all find homes here. Solid from A-Z!!!
5. 'No More Hell To Pay' (2013)
The band truly seems to have aged like an infinitely ever improving fine wine. While Jesus has turned water into wine...Stryper has turned each such successive album into an even better masterpiece. When this album was released in 2013, no one expected Stryper to sound so impressive. Indeed how wrong we were. This is an absolute stellar album that features some of the best material the band has ever released up until this point. Michael Sweet not only looks younger but his voice rings out in pristine greatness. There are too many great tracks to mention them all. This is the album that should have been released after "In God We Trust." And yet here we are 30 years later!
4. 'To Hell With The Devil' (1986)
This was Stryper's biggest selling album of their career and it's easy to see why. Blazing guitar riffs, ear piercing vocals, powerful and catchy choruses, blistering solos and fantastic musicianship. This was a much heavier album than previous records while keeping just the right balance of Christian message tones and popular appeal. "To Hell With The Devil" to this day remains one of the bands greatest works. However; this album is littered with hidden gem material like "Rockin' The World", "Calling On You", "Free", and "More Than A Man." "The Way" may be the bands most underrated track of all-time. This is classic Stryper to the core and set the bar for all future records to come.
3. 'Fallen' (2015)
Just when you thought Stryper could not get any better, they flipped the script. After releasing the highly touted 'No More Hell To Pay', the band was back to kicking ass and taking names. In fact, with one epic opening track "Yahweh", they topped the previous album in one fellow swoop. It's definitely the heaviest track ever recorded by Stryper while maintaining the powerful Christian message of Christ's death on the cross. Another amazing masterpiece here, with zero bad songs. Another Sabbath cover, "After and Forever" appears here as Styper absolutely nails it to the wood. It's hard to believe that a band can continue to get better this far a long in their career but these legends have done just that.
2. 'Soldiers Under Command' (1985)
The sophomore jinx was totally debunked here. The band had matured leaps and bounds both musically and stylistically. There is a war going on and Stryper was here to claim it's band of soldiers. A masterful blend of power metal and hard rock that fully engages the listener. There is supreme songwriting and you can tell that the band was honing in their craft. The band maintains their raw and edgy style while producing a much leaner record. The title track may be their most iconic anthem, but the album is filled with solid classics. "Makes Me Wanna Sing", "The Rock that Makes Me Roll", "Reach Out", and "Battle Hymn of the Republic" all scream. Also, the tremendous piano ballad "First Love" finds it's place here. This is the cream of the crop for Stryper...that is until modern day.
1. 'God Damn Evil' (2018)
Not only is this Stryper's top album of all-time, I had it rated the 16th top album in all of metal over the past decade. It is undoubtedly their heaviest album of all-time. 'God Damn Evil' also marked the debut of Perry Richardson, formerly of Firehouse. As mentioned...Stryper continues to excel with age as they balance the hour glass. Michael Sweet continues to be one of the best overall front men in metal as his voice absolutely transcends greatness. The guitar work on this record is brilliant. Once again, not a bad song on the album. I highly recommend this album even if you are not a fan of Stryper. It's the definitive record of their catalog that spans the entire gamut of their catalog in style.
Stories, news and reviews presented by the staff of Philly Rock Radio.