CD review STRYPER ‘Even the Devil Believes’

Summertime is bubble bee time and yellow/black is the color of the season. Thinking about yellow/black brings of course also Metal to metalheads’ minds. California-based Stryper brought these colors to Heavy Metal in the second half on the ’80s when the quartet started their quite special mission.

The first records have been discussed controversially and still have been pretty successful. ‘Soldiers Under Command’ and ‘To Hell With the Devil’ was sold pretty well at the time, a success the band couldn’t score anymore after having returned with ‘Reborn’ in 2005. This doesn’t mean the music got weaker though, in contrary.

Since Stryper’s productivity in the current century increased to a two-years cycle new album could be expected for 2020 and even COVID-19 couldn’t stop Michael Sweet, Robert Sweet, Oz Fox and Perry Richardson from putting out a next longplayer.

Early September Stryper will tell us that ‘Even the Devil Believes’. The title shows no deviation from the typical Stryper narrative and therefor let’s put more focus on the music. Stryper’s newest addition to their scorebook is a strong one. The eleven new songs stand for traditional Heavy Metal. Although there are tracks like ‘How to Fly’, leaning towards the mainstream, the album in its totality has enough ‘God-given’ firepower.

A song you shouldn’t miss is ‘Do Unto Others’. Dio-inspired the track rocks really well, combining heavy riffs with catchy melodies, all without being cheesy or sticky. It’s a pounding Metal track, done the way Heavy Metal should sound like.

Furthermore I can recommend to give the uptempo opener ‘Blood From Above’ and hard-hitting ‘Make Love Great Again’ a chance. I personally could go without the half-ballad ‘This I Pray’ but there is enough rough and heavy riffpower on the album to compensate for the few weaker spots on the tracklist. The song that finishes off the album is the brisk ‘Middle Finger Messiah’, which is another moment of well-forged Metal with an oldschool vibe.

To sum up: Stryper in the 21st century is focussing more on music and less on image and all the frills. The lyrical concept might be liked by some and leads to eye-rolling by some others. However, what units both sides is the well-crafted oldschool Heavy Metal this album represents.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. Blood From Above
  2. Make Love Great Again
  3. Let Him In
  4. Do Unto Others
  5. Even The Devil Believes
  6. How To Fly
  7. Divider
  8. This I Pray
  9. Invitation Only
  10. For God & Rock ‘N’ Roll
  11. Middle Finger Messiah

Label: Frontiers Music

Genre: Heavy Metal

Release Date EU: September4th, 2020

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