Wednesday, June 22, 2011

92 – Murder By Pride- Stryper

First appearance by Stryper on this list. It won’t be the last.

Stryper may have just been one of a number of hair bands of the 80’s, except for two things- the yellow and black stripes, and the fact that they flung Bibles into the audience. They signed to a mainstream label in 1984, released five albums between 1984 and 1990, and then went on hiatus when Michael Sweet went solo.

2005 saw rumors of a Stryper reunion, which became fact with the release of the album Reborn. Reborn was not just a spiritual metaphor for this band, they really did seem to find a new groove on this album, rocking as hard as they ever had. Reborn came, Reborn went.

In 2006 news came of a new Stryper album in the works. Days before recording was to begin, Michael Sweet’s wife was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and the album was put on hold for more important concerns. When Kyle Sweet’s cancer went into remission, the band proceeded.

Sad news for rock and roll fans came in 2007 with the news of the suicide of Brad Delp, Boston’s lead singer. A tribute concert was planned, and Michael Sweet was asked to sing with Boston for this show. He later joined the band as co-lead vocalist.

Kyle Sweet’s cancer returned in 2008, and in March of 2009 she passed away.

With the tumultuous events of the past three years behind them, Stryper released the album Murder By Pride in 2009, with the highlight being their cover of Boston’s song “Peace of Mind”, featuring Tom Scholz on guitar. Michael Sweet makes it plain on this song why he was asked to join Boston; I don’t know of many rock vocalists who have the range Brad Delp had.

In the same way that To Hell With The Devil expanded upon the strengths of Stryper’s first full-length album Soldiers Under Command, Murder By Pride improves on Reborn by leaps and bounds. One thing Stryper has always done well is match up hard rock with hooks and grooves. Michael Sweet’s vocals have matured; he still manages a powerful range, but without the screaming and shrieking from years gone by.


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