Stryper
Fallen


4.0
excellent

Review

by Friday13th USER (14 Reviews)
October 16th, 2015 | 28 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: After the resurrection which was No More Hell to Pay, Stryper unleash a follow-up that reaches heaven by riffing like hell.

No More Hell To Pay was more than a return to form for Stryper. The 2013 album was considered by many long-time fans and newcomers alike as the band's strongest album to date. More consistent than even their platinum-selling landmark To Hell with the Devil, No More Hell To Pay was a consistently heavy affair that often brought to mind legends Judas Priest more than Stryper's perceived peers such as Cinderella and Poison.

Following up such a high mark is no small feat for a band that has been rocking the world for Jesus for over 30 years, but put your doubts to rest. Have faith my son, because Stryper has conceived yet another metal miracle.

The aesthetics of Fallen come as little surprise to anyone vaguely familiar with the band's work. Remember the controversial album cover of To Hell with the Devil that featured angels robbing satan of his guitar and throwing him into the abyss? Yeah, we get yet another nod to that scene with God doing the honors this time. The yellow and black trademark is still there, and a track list including "Yahweh", "Let There Be Light" and "King of Kings" makes it clear that Stryper has not given up on delivering the message that made them as famous as they are infamous. Okay, maybe they were more infamous for throwing Bibles at the crowd, or maybe for the terribly dated 80's MTV videos for power ballads "Honestly" and "Calling On You." But what sets Fallen apart from their past work is that Stryper doesn't just focus on all the things that made Stryper great back in the day...Stryper has cranked it up to 11 and then some.

Right away, opener "Yahweh" is unlike any other song in the band's long career. The traditional harmonies between Michael Sweet and Oz Fox have now been amplified tenfold to choir-like effect, sounding like a holy mob of metal monks levitating to heaven. The opening riff is as fast and razor sharp as anything in power metal, and the verses slam to a down-tuned "Children of the Grave" groove. Stryper's two lead guitarists were what elevated them to the level of any other hair metal band, but the harmonized trade-off solos in this album are just insane. It comes as no surprise that the lyrics tell of the trial and death of Jesus, but I don’t think the staunchest atheist could resist giving a shot at Michael’s piercing screams and singing along to the epic choir of "YA-AH-WEEEEEH!" Easily the best Stryper song since "To Hell with the Devil," this is how you open a hair metal album.

While the first track hints at epic power metal bands such as Theocracy or Gamma Ray, the most evident influence of the album is Master of Reality-era Black Sabbath. No, not just because the album includes a fitting cover of "After Forever." The riffs on this album are as heavy as hell and would make proud the master of riffs himself. The title track most clearly references Black Sabbath with a riff like "Into the Void" and vocal melody reminiscent of "Neon Knights." Next song "Pride" is a glorious track lead by a groove-laden yet doomy riff and lyrics about how pride is the cause of all the sin and hate around us.

Thankfully, most of the songs on this album hit a variety of themes and issues aside from Christianity, such as "Big Screen Lies" which criticizes the blatant misinformation given by the media. The heavy riffs take a short break in the middle with the catchy hair metal rocker "Love You Like I Do" and the lone ballad "All Over Again" but come back full force with the aforementioned Sabbath cover. Clearly, this is the heaviest album in the band's discography, showing that age and dedication can bring a deeper commitment for one's first love.

While I wouldn't say Stryper has gone so far out of their comfort zone to render them unidentifiable (or truly experimental for that matter), Stryper has let loose and have given fans what they really want. No more feeling embarrassed, Stryper fans. This hair metal band has come back stronger than any other with the headstrong purpose to rock the hell out of you.

So to hell with any stubborn critics. Stryper have outdone any of their albums from the 80's for a second time.



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user ratings (34)
3.6
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
MrSirLordGentleman
October 16th 2015


14811 Comments


jesus m/

Friday13th
October 16th 2015


7507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

:D m/

Titan
October 16th 2015


23197 Comments


nice review dude.....will have to check this....the first couple of songs on no hell to pay were stellar

MrSirLordGentleman
October 16th 2015


14811 Comments


Titan check Lucifer's Friend, ugh!!!!!!!!

Jethro42
October 16th 2015


16853 Comments


This is not my thing. Not my kind of metal. I have hard times to get into say Judas Priest, so yes. I'm more fond of prog metal, who would have guessed it.


Titan
October 16th 2015


23197 Comments


yeah jethro, i couldn't really see you enjoying this lol

MrSirLordGentleman
October 16th 2015


14811 Comments


Stryper aren't as heavy as Judas though, they're a pretty fun band for me. I wouldn't say they're as hair metal as Bon Jovi or something like that but I tend to listen to both on the same cirtumstances: when I want some fun and catchy music

Jethro42
October 16th 2015


16853 Comments


kneedz moar opeth

MrSirLordGentleman
October 16th 2015


14811 Comments


U dig Opeth? I can see you enjoying DT or stuff like that but I didn't thought you jammed extreme metal, at least I can't

Friday13th
October 16th 2015


7507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Titan thanks man, yeah check it.

@Jethro yeah, if you can't get into Priest I don't expect you to like this. It's not progressive except for maybe some hints in the first song.

Jethro42
October 16th 2015


16853 Comments


No, not anymore, Gentleman. Probably not anymore in fact. It's not that I dislike it, it's just that I got over it. I dig some cuts from Deliverance, I also dig Ghost Reveries and Watershed, but I've never got around their whole discog. I like Mike's growls when it fits well in the context of the song, but not that much actually.

MrSirLordGentleman
October 16th 2015


14811 Comments


I just can't see the appeal with genres like Death metal, I find it repetitive and too dense plus I honestly hate growls.


Agalloch is the only band with growls that I like but their instrumentation is way softer so that helps a lot

Jethro42
October 16th 2015


16853 Comments


@Friday, I've listened to the first song, and it's not my best sonic experiment tbh. ;)

Friday13th
October 16th 2015


7507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

haha you tried at least

Jethro42
October 16th 2015


16853 Comments


I dig Agalloch but I kinda gave up with them too. I can hear you with the density of DM versus the sloppy side of Agalloch which are way more accessible despite their growls.

Have you ever got around to bands such as Psychotic Waltz, Symphony X or Fates Warning?

Edit; I dig DT too, but into Mike Portnoy era.

MrSirLordGentleman
October 17th 2015


14811 Comments


I've checked a little bit of Symphony and Fates Warning but that was a long time ago so I don't remember that well


My biggest problem with prog metal is that I feel most bands sound the same, for example I don't see the difference between Dream Theater and Queensryche. Most of the time I feel like they all sound like tons of wankery trying to be as epic as 70's rock, and I also think most of the vocalists in the genre sound the same.

There are exceptions though, I dig most of DT's classic stuff but I'm not a big fan of all the wankery. The last song in Metropolist pt.2 is perfect for example, because it goes into an epic style in a better way than DT's typical sound

Friday13th
October 17th 2015


7507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Jethro great bands. I got into prog with prog metal so I've been jamming those for a while. I'm a little critical with say Fates Warning's melodies which imo try too hard to be different and unpredictable. Very influential style though; I consider Perfect Symmetry the first proper prog metal album.



The reason prog metal has grown off me a bit is the prog and the metal can get in eachother's way. It's hard trying to be both convincingly heavy AND proggy with a variety of textures and harmonies etc. Now I prefer my prog and metal separate, but at the same time heavy prog bands like King Crimson and Rush are some of my favorites so idk it depends haha

Jethro42
October 17th 2015


16853 Comments


@Gentleman; Yes I love that DT song too, ''Finally Free''. Portnoy is at his best there.

Try Fates Warning - A Pleasant Shade of Grey for an easy listening for their standards. No wankery, but you might not dig the vocals. There are couple of filler tracks but their best cuts worth it.

As for Symphony X, I think ''The Divine Wings of Tragedy'' is a good way to start.

Finally, I could see you digging Psychotic Waltz. Their 4 albums are all a must have. They are very melodic with a dirty, fuzzy guitar tone and a fantastic vocalist.

Annnd I pretty much agree with your statements above. I personally cant do the difference between Shadow Gallery and Kamelot.

Friday13th
October 17th 2015


7507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

definitely Psychotic Waltz is pure class

Jethro42
October 17th 2015


16853 Comments


@Friday, I'd need to re-listen to ''Perfect Symmetry''.

I pretty much agree with both of you, Gentleman and Friday. To say the truth, I'm not a prog metal specialist, but I've heard enough of it to find too much similarities between most of the band, to the point that if I listen to random prog metal songs, I can't really distinguish which song is from which band, most of the time.

I pretty much like Ayreon for instance, even if they repeat themselves at some point, I think they are able to mix what defines classic prog rock, and they combine it with a metal flavour. But you're right, Friday, prog and metal cannot always co-habit easily.



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