Stryper – Murder By Pride (Frontiers/Riot)

Grab your hairspray and your spandex pants as Christian Rockers Stryper put down their bibles and pick up their instruments to serve up one hell (oops) heck of an album. The 80s are back and they never sounded so heavenly.
Release Date: 
28 Aug 2009 (All day)

The first thing you have to do when listening to Stryper is admit that you’re prejudiced. I’ll admit it.  Being a Christian band meant I never gave them the attention they deserved at all in the 80s, preferring to laugh at the whole idea of the God botherers being able to play guitar as I cranked up House Of Lords or Bon Jovi or Whitesnake when I wanted a taste of hairspray metal.  Well, I’m a big enough man now to admit I was wrong.  I still have trouble with the message but hell (oops) heaven, these guys are as good as any of the great big-haired bouffant bands of the 80s and 90s, and this new album is a huge slab of hairspray and spandex, wild riffs and soaring voices.

From the get go with Eclipse For The Son kicking off with a real touch of Warrant groove (think So Damn Pretty) before the chunkier and heavier 4 Leaf Clover hits you this is a real trip back to the days of verse, chorus, verse, solo and high pitched squeals. Peace Of Mind featuring Boston’s Tom Scholz on guitar adds that little touch of 70s to the mix as well.

Songs like The Plan and Love Is Why have a real Bon Jovi vibe about them.  In fact the predominant feeling is of Bon Jovi on this album - the melody, the classic riffs, the guitar work and especially Michael Sweet's vocals.  Now I know it’s not cool to like Jon Bon, being he’s a heartthrob and all that, but come on, the bastard could write a damn good song when he wasn’t doing his hair and make up.

And the lyrics? Well, sure it is kind of odd to find myself singing about going to heaven (Mercy Over Blame) but then again I’ve never wanted to be a cannibal or murder my ex-girlfriend on Brighton Beach, or go ahead and jump or rock tonite, rock this week, you rock, they rock, we rocked… and I still have no idea what a leper messiah really is… you get the drift… I’m not going to be converted but I do find it funny when I start singing along. 

What the hell (oops) – you can have a black metal album that name-drops Old Nick on every song and no one blinks an eye, but do it for the guy upstairs and it’s apparently a big deal.  If you are a fan of the band you won’t be disappointed; if you like the hairspray days of Cinderella, Poison, LA Guns, Bon Jovi or even Kiss during their 80's pop stage you will dig this album.  Great production, great songs, Oz Fox has one hell (oops) heck of a voice and the band is tight.

I wish I could bag it but I really can’t. There are the two piano ballads My Love, My Life, My Flame and Alive (which steals straight from Eric Carmen’s All By Myself!) which are absolute shockers but that’s what the “next” button is for. Mind you, if I did believe in god it would be interesting to be a fly on the wall while the band tries to explain those two songs to the big fella. They might find it hard to get into heaven after he hears them.  They are definitely the work of the devil!

Stryper's Murder By Pride is out on 28 August on Frontiers/Riot.