Released: 2013, Frontiers Records
You can’t accuse Stryper of being lazy. Since reforming a decade ago, the band have been touring hard, along with releasing a covers album, three live DVDs, and two new studio albums. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, that’s solid work ethic. Perhaps due to the dirtier, grungy production value of the band’s newer albums, Michael Sweet and co. decided that it was a good time to go back and revisit their classic ‘80s albums and re-record 14 songs. A lot of bands do this nowadays, and I’ve never liked it. Fans love the old stuff, sure, but that doesn’t mean we want to re-buy the music!
Anyway, for SECOND COMING, the band has ditched the low-fi production of their last couple of releases and returned to the gleaming ‘80s hard rock sound they are known for. Dubious motives and economics aside, fans are definitely going to enjoy this compilation as the band’s classic albums all had varying production values. SECOND COMING is clean, clear, and powerful, offering arguably the best versions of these songs.
So, how is the music? Well, it’s obvious that Michael Sweet has lost nothing to the ageing process. The man’s voice is as strong as ever. The rest of the band is as solid as ever, and it’s nice to have the original bassist Timothy Gaines back in the fold as well. As for the songs, the band offers up all of their hits that you loved or hated back in the ‘80s. To some, Stryper has always been a laughing stock, and this album will do nothing to change that opinion. For me, the band has some great songs, and some songs that I just can’t stand (“Calling On You”...ick). Either way, the band has objectively offered up their most well-known tracks here. The two new songs are much more in line with Stryper’s classic sound as well, but are nothing much to write home about.
As solid as this is, and as much as fans will enjoy it, SECOND COMING feels like a stop-gap release. It’s well crafted, fans will enjoy it, but it’s hardly essential listening.