stryper fallenpick of the monthStryper marches on with Fallen – exactly what you want to hear from the iconic pop-metal band with a few surprises on the side...

Frontiers Records
12 tracks / 52:22

2013's No More Hell To Pay was Stryper's original line-up in a strong return to form, delivering muscular studio performances of mostly-new material. Fallen continues the trend, with Michael Sweet (vocals, guitar), Oz Fox (guitars), Tim Gaines (bass), and Robert Sweet (drums) sounding bolder and more aggressive than ever, both musically and lyrically. You like Stryper? Well, this is classic Stryper – look no further.

The properly thunderous opening track, “Yahweh,” starts with a darkly-gothic sounding choral riff with the repetition of “Yahweh” leading into a galloping metal guitar, drums and bass attack with Michael Sweet's signature scream - and you know immediately that this is Stryper. All of the expected elements follow, including a surprise or two along the way.

The album is all new material with the exception of “After Forever,” a Black Sabbath cover. What? Yes. But before you pick up those stones check out the lyrics – for example:

Have you ever thought about your soul - can it be saved?
Or perhaps you think that when you're dead you just stay in your grave
Is God just a thought within your head or is he a part of you?
Is Christ just a name that you read in a book when you were in school?...”

The multi-part song has distinctively Beatle-esque overtones and brings a new color into the musical palette of this project.

Sweet's vocals are as distinctive as ever but occasionally offer a raspier edge, especially on the title track, “Fallen,” where he screams, “the end is callin'”. “Big Screen Lies” also has Michael half singing/half speaking in the middle section of the song. “Love You Like I Do,” features those trademark, building Stryper harmonies and some interesting back-up singing in different parts of the song.

Biblical themes are back in a big way on Fallen, which is certainly the band's most out-spoken, deliberately Christian project since the band's seminal releases. “Let There Be Light,” is a re-telling of God's creation story – a big, anthemic piece with middle-eastern sounding guitar phrases introducing the impressive solo break – no doubt this will be a monster song in the live set.

The Sweet-produced album closes with “King of Kings,” a bold statement with lyrics that are emphasized by the inspiring break in tempo on the bridge: “He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords / He died on Calvary so we could live forever more...”

Never known for their subtlety, Stryper marches on – soldiers under command, sounding ready to rumble more than 30 years into their career.


Bert Saraco