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.
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