By Dr Aaron Tkaczynski, Stryper Image by Alex Solca
The Yellow and Black attack are back with another fantastic album in ‘Even the Devil Believes’.
As a long term fan, I was apprehensive for a band that has given many fans so much joy for nearly 40 years releasing their fourth album of new material in under seven years.
Surely the creative juices must be running dry after such classic albums such as to Hell With The Devil, Soldiers Under Command, No More Hell to Pay, Fallen, and In God We Trust under their belt? Definitely not- glad I was proved wrong!
As the album title suggests, Even The Devil Believes is deliberately provocative in a good way, with the lyrics throughout the album focusing on Christ as the centre and the controller.
Stryper has always been known for their bold, uncompromising lyrics and musical dexterity. However, what I appreciate more so is that in a band (Michael Sweet, Robert Sweet, Oz Fox, Perry Richardson) with an average age of 59 that has each experienced their own personal tragedies over the past few decades, is that they stay true to their beliefs.
The album commences with the hard rocker Blood From Above which showcases that Jesus’ is the strength we need to rely on. Make Love Great Again, next, takes the foot off the pedal. This song is a melodic upbeat approach which, as the title suggests, requires us to focus on love in the current crises. The two tracks, Let Him in (lyrics inspired by John 3v16) and Divider (aka Christ the Divider) are great metal tracks with strong lyrics that remind you how fun it is to play guitar, bass and drums.
The album highlights in my opinion most people will appreciate are Do Unto Others with lyrics inspired by Matthew 7v12 with a cracking Michael Sweet guitar solo and This I Pray which is an upbeat acoustic country rock song with great vocal harmonies that inspire the listener about safety in the future and hope in the afterlife.
With the title track containing lyrics such as “all the answers are contained within the golden book, every scar and red blood stain ignored and overloaded. Even the devil believes, piety can leave you to bleed”, Even the Devil Believes offers a very contemplative lyrical approach and suggests the need to focus on Christ as the victor.
You will love this album if you love bold, explicit Christian lyrics combined with great vocals, guitars, bass and drumming.
Whilst it cannot be doubted that Stryper were extremely influential in the 1980s; being the first band of Christians to go platinum, be signed to a major label, and sell over 10 million copies- they are in my opinion, more relevant to the world today than in the days when glam and hair metal ruled.
Age is just a number. Class is eternal. The world needs highly skilled Christian musicians that have been around for decades through the thick and thin as an inspiration.
The only problem I have is that I have to wait a while to hear these songs live; Stryper are ten times better live and I wish everyone to see them when live shows are again able to commence.
God bless you Michael, Robert, Oz and Perry.
Dr Aaron Tkaczynski is a Senior Lecturer in Tourism at the University of Queensland’s Business School.