Stryper have been making the most of 2013: just earlier this year, the band revisited a number of their greatest hits and fan favorites on ‘Second Coming’, Stryper’s first studio album in two years.
Arguably what made this release so standout was the addition of two brand new songs, both of which were drenched in signature Stryper influence. Perhaps that was the real purpose behind going back to a selection of their most well known hits, to help get the members of Stryper back into that same songwriting mindset.
Whatever the case, the renowned metal group are back again with their second album of the year, and this time it’s with a strong collection of all new material. ‘No More Hell to Pay’ boasts all of the same qualities which made the band’s earlier efforts so awe inspiring and made Stryper so standout right from the beginning.
The album impressively kicks off with “Revelation”, and right out of the gate proudly boasts the unassailable dueling guitar section of Michael Sweet and Oz Fox. A memorable chorus showcases all of the best features which longtime fans have come to anticipate: melodic group backup vocals, crunching rhythm guitar, and a captivating lead performance from Michael. This is a song which could “make” the entire album, but instead only sets the tone for the rest of the twelve tracks.
“Marching Into Battle” is just as the title sounds, a vicious war anthem with Michael Sweet narrating the story of a clash between two armies. Fox once again shines on this one, his formidable guitar work acting as the sonic equivalent of a crashing war hammer. The band decides to mix things up with a solid cover of the gospel piece “Jesus Is Just Alright”, which allows the definitive Stryper vocal harmonies to take charge alongside some applaudable synthesizer playing.
“The One” slows down the pace, but the band fails to lose any momentum as we move into a power ballad which will leave many a listener reaching for the replay button. The knockout combination of drummer Robert Sweet and bassist Tim Gaines provides a dominating backbone throughout the entire album, but especially on the glam metal anthem “Water Into Wine”.
From start to finish, ‘No More Hell to Pay’ is a exceptional album which harks back to one of the most memorable periods in Stryper’s three decade long history. There’s not a clunker in the bunch, and in fact most of the songs which make an appearance on this album would feel right at home on any ‘Greatest Hits’ release. For any fan of ‘To Hell with the Devil’ and ‘Soldiers Under Command’, this is an album you cannot afford to miss out on.