Veteran metal band Stryper may be best remembered from the ’80s as the group dressed in black and yellow spandex outfits during the peak of the hair metal age. Their five albums in those days sold well, and the band was considered one of the most successful Christian metal acts.
Fast forward to the 21st century, and the group is back at it, having released albums steadily since 2005. Even the Devil Believes is their thirteenth release.
The core of the band has remained the same for over 35 years: Michael Sweet on vocals and guitar, his brother Robert on drums, and Oz Fox on guitar. Even The Devil Believes is the first album with veteran Perry Richardson (Firehouse) on bass, rounding out the lineup.
Showing absolutely no sign of aging, Stryper kick things off with “Blood From Above,” an absolute rager of a track complete with a classic Michael Sweet opening scream. If there was any doubt pertaining to the band’s vitality, it is immediately put to bed. The album closes at a similar pace with “Middle Finger Messiah.”
Throughout the rest of the album we are treated to mid-paced metal anthems. “Do Unto Others,” “Even the Devil Believes,” and “How to Fly” all come loaded with classic-style riffing and top-notch solos from Fox. Heck, even the requisite power ballad, “This I Pray,” brings memorable hooks to the gathering.
What’s remarkable on every song is how well Sweet’s voice has withstood the rigors of time. Sweet sounds as powerful and energized now as he did in 1986, which is amazing. And musically the band is in lockstep. Richardson is a great addition on bass, as he and Robert provide a solid foundation for all the cuts.
Musically, there are no weak tracks amongst the album’s eleven. The song titles can be cheesy (“Make Love Great Again”), and it’s of course the band’s nature to be a bit preachy, but the core message applies regardless of one’s opinion on faith: be the best person you can be.
Don’t let the age of Stryper or their message throw you off. What the band has put together here is a remarkably strong platter of ’80s-style metal anthems, well written, produced, and executed. Even The Devil Believes would be right at home in 1989, and even today is an invigorating, uplifting listen.
(released September 4, 2020 on Frontiers Music)
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Listen To Stryper – “Make Love Great Again”
Just so you know, most of the lead guitar solos are Michael, not Oz. Oz usually keeps the rhythm guitar bed churning and often harmonizes with MS on solos.