Stryper - Second Coming (Frontiers Records)

This could have been a pointless waste of time. It isn't.
Release Date: 
21 Mar 2013 - 11:30pm

If you’ll pardon the expression, Jesus Christ. Stryper, for reasons best known to themselves, have decided to record a dozen or so of their eighties classics (hence the title of this ‘best of’ – geddit?!) and, despite my own misgivings about the point of such a project when I heard that Michael Sweet and company were planning such an undertaking, I have to say that the result is an utterly splendid listen.

Stripped of all the bells and whistles that accompanied most eighties heavy metal records – especially American ones – what you have here is the absolute essence of Stryper – melodic HEAVY METAL delivered with fantastic skill and elan from a band that, free bible distribution and bumblebee stagewear aside, proves here that they were one of the best of the lot at what they did - and of course still do.

A sparse production (the more un-Christian amongst you might term it ‘budget’) forces you to concentrate on the unalloyed joy that is the voice of Michael Sweet in the first instance, before you then sit back and soak up the marvellous, Grade A riffage served up by Sweet and the criminally underrated Oz Fox. Song after song here features guitar work (and, if I’m honest, drum work too courtesy of Robert Sweet) that’ll have you reaching for your air instrument of choice, but the standouts are absolutely definitive versions of Soldiers Under Command, To Hell With the Devil, The Way and, surprisingly, a sparkling Singalong Song that smashes it’s old self into a million pieces.

Of course a couple of new tracks make their way onto the record too, to justify some cash outlay from the fence sitters, and pretty good they are too – especially the majestic Bleeding From the Inside Out, though they scarcely seem worthy of mentioning in the same breath as the rest of the material on here, but the heaviness of both fits in the overall feel of the re-recorded stuff well nevertheless.

A great record then, and certainly a must have for long term fans of the band. And if you’ve always avoided Stryper, fearing conversion if you expose your ears to them (don’t worry, I’ve been listening for twenty odd years and they haven’t got me in a church yet), or you just thought that the band were a bit wimpy for workaday HM sensibilities, then you owe it to yourself to give Second Coming a go – you won’t regret it.