Stryper - No More Hell To Pay review
|Album:||No More Hell To Pay|
|Release date:||November 2013|
02. No More Hell To Pay
03. Saved By Love
04. Jesus Is Just Alright [The Art Reynolds Singers cover]
05. The One
07. Marching Into Battle
08. Te Amo
09. Sticks & Stones
10. Water Into Wine
I have to admit that I've never been into Christian metal, maybe because I thought its two components - Christianity and metal - incompatible or at least incongruous.
Oh, how much was I wrong?
There would be few more effective ways of describing the latest Stryper release than starting from the cover artwork. That, in fact, represents at best No More Hell To Pay, being colorful, refined, and aiming at the sky.
Stryper play that renowned mixture of glam and heavy metal that gained importance in the 80's, also under the often-flouted moniker of "hair metal". So, what would you expect from a Christian hair metal album? A lighter Bon Jovi, that was my first thought - my first fear. Again, and luckily, I was in error.
No More Hell To Pay is nowhere near to those kind of easy poppy melodies that served as aphrodisiac back in the days. Classic-esque riffing draws the attention instantly into every song, strengthened by the tempo of unfailing drumming and accompanied by the bass that, even if it could have been more valorized in the production process, donates to the music a reassuring depth. All this prepares for the explosion of the vocals, masterfully provided by Mr. Michael Sweet - and sweet he can be, indeed, but also wild, warm or extremely acute, winking to the happier side of power metal.
The album is apt both for a whole run of twelve songs, and for a fast listen of personal favorites; every track here being a hit in its own way. Don't waste this release due to the (comprehensible) preconception of a full-cargo of melancholic ballads, since you'll find only one in here, the gentle "The One", that won't surely rest in the overcrowded catacomb of its forgotten fellows. Terrific sing-along choruses and inspired classy solos wrap the rest of No More Hell To Pay in an undeniably attractive suit.
Now, the lyrics issue. I won't deny that such explicit Christian themes could annoy somebody, but that isn't likely to happen, since message and messenger are put on the same level, and rarely one overhangs the other. Sure, some weird feelings could emerge, such as the one of imagining a gospel choir of black women dressed in purple shaking their hands and singing "…Jesus is my best friend…", the bridge of the well interpreted Art Reynolds Singers cover "Jesus Is Just Alright" (this mainly because The Art Reynolds Singers actually was a gospel combo), but in their entirety the lyrics can easily be neglected by anyone who prefers to, while it can result in interest for others, such as me.
The general feeling of this album is that of a release that, in days when mankind seems no more worth of any trust, conveys much-needed hope, potted in top-notch melodic metal. No More Hell To Pay was announced by the band itself as the best Stryper work to date. Well, if it's not, in their 50s these American youngsters have come really close to it.
Written on 28.12.2013 by
Hopefully you won't agree with me, diversity of opinions is what makes metal so beautiful and varied.
So... critics and advices absolutely welcome.
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| Troy Killjoy
| The Shape 1973
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