(courtesy house of blues)
Heavy metal certainly has no shortage of rebels. It seems like everybody’s rebelling against something, and that’s part of the genre’s allure. However, the most rebellious thing anybody can do is hold steadfast to personal beliefs and never waver. Stryper indisputably do both.
They’re not shy about their Christian beliefs, but they’re also consistently as heavy as any of the genre’s pillars. Following up 2013’s seminal opus No More Hell To Pay, which debuted at #6 on Billboard’s Top Rock Albums Chart and #2 on the Christian Albums Chart, their eleventh full-length original album, Fallen [Frontiers Music SRL], is their heaviest offering to date.
“In the past 30 years, we’ve evolved into what we are now,” says vocalist and guitarist Michael Sweet. “This is what we always really wanted to be. I love the progression. The story of Stryper is that of an underdog. We go against the grain with everything we do. This album is another chance to show the world what we can do.”
In early 2015, Michael and his band mates Robert Sweet [drums], Oz Fox [guitar], and Tim Gaines [bass] retreated to Spirithouse Recording Studio in Northampton, MA. The four musicians collectively immersed themselves in the recording process for Fallen with Michael handling production yet again.
“There’s something to be said for the chemistry of a whole band in the studio together,” he continues. “We were there living and breathing this record, and I feel like the results speak for themselves.”
Stryper continue to remain metal stalwarts, leaving an indelible mark on the genre with every subsequent album. With hits in their arsenal such as “Calling On You”, “Free”, “I Believe In You” and “Always There For Your,” album sales exceed over 10 million worldwide with their discography including one of the most successful Christian rock albums ever, 1986’s multi-platinum, Grammy Award-nominate To Hell With The Devil. They also have the distinction of being the first band in history to notch two songs in MTV’s Top 10 with “Free” and “Honestly.”
Ultimately, for all the heaviness, Fallen possesses the power to uplift. What’s more rebellious than that?
Michael leaves off, “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.”
That’s exactly what all the best heavy metal does.