The latter part of 2015 is shaping up to make it a big year for new music. October 16th, saw Stryper release their new album, ‘Fallen.’
Alongside Guardian, listening to any new content of theirs is like sitting down in earnest to hear new stories from old friends.
Both bands top the list of hard-rock musicians who aren’t concerned about the potential negative impacts that sharing their Christian faith and thought, through their music, might have on their popularity. While numbers are important to the business, these guys rock for the love of it, they also just happen to infuse their art with the Christian faith and thought that empowers it.
Stryper hold a special place in my twenty-year old, CD & Vinyl music collection. In the late 1990’s, just trying to get a Stryper CD, let alone an LP, was difficult because they were rare and expensive. Due perhaps to Stryper’s decade long hiatus.
The band has it’s flaws and they know it. These only serve to show that Stryper is no studio produced C.C.M, American evangelical “boy-band.” They are in the wilderness, doing what they can with the grace afforded to them. What every new Stryper album in the past decade has proven time and time again is that Robert, Michael, Oz, and Tim know how to communicate their talent with humility.
The guitars and vocals are edgier, but it would be a mistake to consider this Stryper v.2.0. Dropping some of the hyper-staged theatrics from the 80’s glam-rock era, as a brand Stryper has matured, not aged. Though, the yellow and black “spandex” is gone, the yellow and black guitars are not. Risky move, but the decision appears to have paid off. Their fan base is still loyal and long. Showing that the band has earnt the respect that serious musicians who don’t take themselves too seriously, deserve.
In this new album, Stryper lift the bar on most of their previous albums, ‘To Hell With The Devil’ is even outshone by the lyrical depth and harmonies of ‘Yahweh’. Highlights include ‘Big Screen Lies’, ‘Yahweh’, ‘Let There Be Light’, and the brilliant riff that coincides with Sweet’s vocals on, ‘Pride‘.
Like their success and the flawed journey through it, Stryper still stand as examples of how Christians can be ‘in the world, but not of it.’ They walk the fine line between fitting in and standing out. As Christians they remain ambassadors for contextual mission to the younger generation; a balanced movement that reaches out in a real way, with the zeal of a sinner-saved-by-grace, over-against the self-righteous and self-important fanaticism of the Pharisee.
In the end, what ‘Fallen’ does as an album is prove that Stryper can still rock.
Image: featuring guitarists and lead vocalist Oz Fox & Michael Sweet
Stryper, 2015 ‘Yahweh’ from the album, ‘Fallen’