Review: Stryper – Fallen

StryperWith feet firmly planted on metal ground, Stryper has a few tricks up their sleeve with Fallen, their latest album and third release on Frontiers Records. This is without a doubt, the hardest Stryper album ever recorded. It’s already getting top marks from industry critics, high praise from the Associated Press and landed top spots on iTunes’ Top Metal Albums and Top Rock Albums charts.

“Yahweh,” the album’s first track is all thrash and was co-written by lead singer Michael Sweet and Sevendust’s lead guitarist Clint Lowery. There is something so right about Sweet’s death scream sailing high over an ominous sounding choir, complex guitars and the thunder of Tim Gaines’ bass and Robert Sweet’s double kick. And just when you think it can’t get any better, Michael Sweet shows off his multi-octave range and the vocals go into the stratosphere.

What makes me so happy about this new record is just hearing the guys playing with such a new passion. You can tell they had fun during the recording of this album and, for all their ups and downs over their 30+ years as a band, it’s great to see them touring and recording with no signs of stopping. You’ve honestly (see what I did there?) never heard Michael’s vocals so intense. You don’t have to look any further than “Fallen” and “Pride,” the second and third tracks on the album for perfect examples of this ridiculous next-level intensity.

Is it formulaic? Of course! With a few exceptions, it’s everything a Stryper album should be! A front and center wall of guitars with bass and drums laying the foundation. That crazy fun Stryper harmony? Yea, that’s there too, along with solid, vertically focused lyrics.

One of my favorite songs on this album is “King of Kings.” While I don’t have the lyrics in front of me for a direct quote, the song serves as sort of a beliefs statement for Stryper. You don’t ever have to question what their priorities are; they mince no words with bold, uncompromising lyrics that are challenging and sincere.

On track 7, Stryper shows their country side a little with “All Over Again.” While it IS different from the rest of the record, I think it’s a smart addition to the album with serious potential to cross multiple genres (country/rock/CHR) and could easily become another stand-out hit. Actually, it reminds me a lot of another ballad, “Honestly,” the band’s fifth single (and biggest hit) which peaked at #23 on Billboard’s Hot 100.

I just can’t get enough! Fallen just cooks from beginning to end and I just can’t wait to get out and see this played live. Did I mention there’s a Black Sabbath cover on this album? The band pays tribute by putting a Stryper spin on “After Forever,” a Black Sabbath classic with interesting lyrics that suggests a closer look. I think Michael Sweet put it best in the album’s press release saying, “I want everybody to walk away with excitement, encouragement, and joy. It’s all positive. It’s not about being heavy or dark. It’s about sharing this energy. I hope they press the ‘repeat’ button and feel blown away.”

Uplifting, exciting, energetic and encouraging; isn’t that everything that you want in a Stryper record? Oh, I almost forgot! The band is also releasing Fallen on limited edition, white 180 gram vinyl. Record collectors can get this directly from the band’s website on December 4th. Just in time for Christmas! Don’t forget to pick up some Stryper breath mints while you’re there!

2 Responses to Review: Stryper – Fallen

  1. T-Ray says:

    Great review. I need to give this one a dozen or so more listenings before I reach any solid conclusions, but it’s definitely a candidate for “best Stryper album of all time.” I’m always curious about what people think of their works. Think you could rank their albums from best to worst? (Personal preference of course. I know there’s no objective way to do this.)

  2. Jeff says:

    Hmm. That’s tough!

    I think It would have to be like this

    1. Soldiers Under Command
    2. To Hell with The Devil
    3. Fallen
    4. Yellow & Black Attack
    5. Against the Law
    6. In God We Trust
    7. No More Hell To Pay
    8. Reborn
    9. Murder By Pride

    The first two are almost a tie for first place for me. Those first two albums were just so crammed full of my favorite songs. Fallen is number 3 but if you tied 1&2 for first place it could easily be second. I left out The Covering and Reborn since they are covers and re-recorded songs. 8 and 9 are a bit of a toss up for me because I wasn’t a big fan of the nu-metal sound of Reborn but I also wasn’t crazy about the fact that Robert Sweet didn’t play on Murder By Pride…So, I think Robert’s absence weighed a little heavier than the style of Reborn.

    Glad you liked the review. 🙂 let me know what you think. 🙂

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