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Stryper
No More Hell To Pay
December 2013
Released: 2013, Frontiers Records
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Waspman

It’s been about a decade since Stryper reunited and the band has certainly kept themselves busy. We’ve had 2 live albums/DVDs, two studio albums, a covers album, and one of those re-recorded classics albums. Despite all the activity, it’s actually been four years since the Sweets and co. released a new full-length record, so it’s about time that NO MORE HELL TO PAY appeared.



Sporting what is perhaps the band’s best cover art ever, along with the return of original bassist Timothy Gaines, one’s first impression is that Stryper a fully re-energized group, and after listening to this album many times, that is definitely the case. Including just one cringe-inducing ballad in the twelve offered songs, NO MORE HELL TO PAY is potentially Stryper’s heaviest album ever. Speedy rockers like “Saved by Love” and “Te Amo” are all over the record, as are slower, grinding songs like the title track and “Marching Into Battle”.



You can tell Frontiers gave them a decent budget as well, because this album is the best sounding release from the band since they got back together with a bright, punchy production that equally highlights all four guys. Needless to say then, the band sounds great.



Song for song, this is easily the strongest album Stryper has released since TO HELL WITH THE DEVIL, and maybe even better than that. If the band’s recent output hasn’t quite done it for you, I guarantee that this is the album that will get you back on board.
Track Listing

1. Revelation
2. No More Hell to Pay
3. Saved by Love
4. Jesus Is Just Alright
5. The One
6. Legacy
7. Marching Into Battle
8. Te Amo
9. Sticks & Stones
10. Water Into Wine
11. Sympathy
12. Renewed

Lineup

Michael Sweet: Vocals
Oz Fox: Guitar
Timothy Gaines: Bass
Robert Sweet: Drums

Contact

N/A


Next review: » Stryper - No More Hell To Pay
Previous review: » Stryper - Murder By Pride

Stryper
No More Hell To Pay
December 2013
Released: 2013, Frontiers Records
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Erich

It has been a busy year for Stryper, following their re-recording of classic songs on SECOND COMING, and now with the new release NO MORE HELL TO PAY. Back in the day, Stryper was at the forefront of the so called “white metal” bands, followed by others like Barren Cross and Petra in the 80s until the genre expanded in the 90s and beyond with bands like Narnia and my personal favorite white metal band, Saviour Machine. NO MORE HELL TO PAY is the band’s 8th studio album, produced by front man Michael Sweet and featuring the best album art of their career to help round out the package.



The new album adheres closely to the core Stryper sound, but as Sweet promised, “Everything is in minor keys, so it's a little darker sounding and a little tougher. It's definitely our heaviest record and I think people will be pleasantly surprised. To reference, there is less songs like 'Calling On You' and more songs like 'To Hell With The Devil'. It's more in that vein than the poppier vein.” The album is designed as a follow-up to the band’s most popular and commercially successful album TO HELL WITH THE DEVIL, and against all odds, delivers on Sweet’s statement. Album opener “Revelation” establishes the riff-centric qualities of the album while also revealing an enhanced improvement in song-writing. Let’s face it, Stryper always had the chops to pull this off, but strong and consistent songs often eluded them.



The original lineup sounds inspired, particularly Michael Sweet who has lost almost none of his extensive vocal range while. The guitars include harmonized riffs, pinched harmonics, and tough soloing rounded out by a booming rhythm section. The first two tracks are quality mid-paced tunes, while “Saved By Love” ups the speed on track three. The albums loses some momentum with the cover of “Jesus Is Just Alright” followed by the moody ballad “The One”, neither tune really fitting the overall lean and tough sound of the album overall. “Sticks and Stones” is a highlight, a catchy tune that mixes Stryper’s earlier penchant for a poppier sound with their now more modern heaviness.





At the end of the day, NO MORE HELL TO PAY is the best album that the band has released since TO HELL WITH THE DEVIL, but with none of the cheesy sing along choruses that sometimes plagued that album. The production is admirable, and the songs for the most part are consistent in quality. Fans of the band should be pleased, but so should those that enjoy mid-paced melodic metal with catchy riffs and powerful vocals.
Track Listing

1. Revelation

2. No More Hell to Pay

3. Saved By Love

4. Jesus Is Just Alright

5. The One

6. Legacy

7. Marching Into Battle

8. Te Amo

9. Sticks and Stones

10. Water Into Wine

11. Sympathy

12. Renewed

Lineup

Michael Sweet - Lead Vocals / Guitar
Robert Sweet - Drums
Oz Fox - Guitar / Vocals
Timothy Gaines - Bass/ Vocals


Next review: » Stryper - Reborn
Previous review: » Stryper - Murder By Pride





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