Review Summary: FAST RIFFS GON THRASH 777
1986 was a big year. By big year I mean it was a big ***ing year. Of course all you seasoned metallers out there know that already. Reign In Blood, Master of Puppets, Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, Peace Sells...But Who's Buying and Pleasure To Kill were all released. In addition Bolt Thrower, Pestilence and Immolation were all born in this sacred year of metalness. You could say that Satan was gathering his forces and initiating a Third Reich-esque sequence to lay waste to the earth. In his attempt to convert the inhabitants and enshroud the world in death and darkness a bible spun out of nowhere and hit Satan hard in the face, forcing the mighty beast to buckle at the knees. Who and where did this bible come from said the one armed pizza boy from Delaware? Soon enough he was greeted by a yellow and black cloud where the members of Stryper emerged. Michael Sweet, Robert Sweet, Oz Fox and Tim Gaines emerged onto the battlefield with bibles and guitars cocked pack ready to pummel Satan and his minions with sweet vocal harmonies, heavy riffs and empowering messages. To slay this devious foe the formidable foursome set their sights on conquering darkness by unleashing "To Hell With The Devil" upon their enemies. Soon the battle had ended. Evil lost , good prevailed.........
"To Hell With The Devil" is one of the finest glam metal offerings of the eighties scene and i'll tell you why. It rocks. It rocks hard. It ranks up there with Skid Row's self-titled in terms of quality and consistency. The album begins with an intro entitled Abyss which utilizes synth to build a orchestral horror movie type of vibe before erupting into what can only be described as a trio of excellence. The first three songs To Hell With The Devil, Calling On You and Free are pure glam metal greatness. Characterized by driving riffs, killer harmonies, booming choruses and blazing solos these three tracks really set the tone for the album making for one awesome air guitaring session on the drive home.
Stryper is notable for throwing bibles into their audience and wearing yellow and black spandex but once you get past that gimmicky bull*** and just listen to the music you find that it's quite a rewarding listen even if you're not religious. Stryper excel at creating energetic tunes tailor-made for selling out football stadiums. The format is simplistic enough with Stryper using catchy hooks, arena styled choruses and guitar solos to sell the listener. The approach is unpretentious as can be and commercially successful at that. It can be quite edgy yet accessible where at times pop and NWOBHM elements come into play. The band do all the right things to make a good glam record but don't really add anything else to distinguish themselves from their peers. Well, everything except butchering the ballads. They suck. Skid Row had the magnificent 18 and Life, Poison had Every Rose Has It's Thorn, but Stryper kind of fudged the pooch on this one. "Honestly" with it's horribly fruity synth line and melodramatic vocals sounded something that could be found off the soundtrack of a a bad white trash teenage movie.
It's probably both ironic and suspicious to the trained eye that I'm taking such joy out of rocking out to Christian glam metal. It's understandable really but all things considered To Hell With The Devil kicks a whole lot of butt. Alot of my enjoyment comes from Michael Sweet's incredible falsetto. His voice really elevates the generic verse to chorus formatting that Stryper uses . His charismatic delivery and ability to shift into higher ranges is quite impressive. Impressive to such an extent that a nefarious Archgoat fapping fanboy like myself is raving over this guy. The Lyrics on the album revolve around kicking Satan's ass, finding Jesus, and choosing your destiny but they never get too preachy. Probably because Michael Sweet himself is the human reincarnation of Jesus. It's hard to take such an offense to such bible bumping with Michael Sweet's angelic vocals inspiring you to go out and open the door for a senior citizen. I'm going to be honest, I might not listen to black metal or jerk off to interracial porn for a week due to the impact that Stryper has had upon me.
The album's only flaws are the ballads. "Honestly" and "All of Me" pretty much suck balls but are instantly redeemed by "The Way' and opening three tracks. Stryper are great at mid tempo rockers, ballads not so much. Production is pretty solid. The vocals are dressed up nice, especially when they are harmonized. Guitars churn like a warm knife cutting through butter. YEAH!!!!!!THAT FEELS NICE. The rhythm section provides a steady beat the whole way through. Drumming is simplistic yet effective in it's simple delivery. The bass tone is audible and potent in it's delivery. The synthesizers weren't really needed so that could have been taken out with no significant impact made to the music. Otherwise this is as perfect as a record as you can find in this department. Nothing more needs to be said. Check this out or miss out on some sweet riffage and pelvic thrusting choruses.