The yellow and black attack of Stryper is back and stronger than ever with the release of their twelfth studio album “God Damn Evil.” The new record really packs a punch and is definitely the heaviest music Stryper has done to date. Even the title seems a bit controversial sounding more like the title of a Black Sabbath album than a Stryper album. Christian fans needn’t worry though as frontman Michael Sweet explained that it’s meant to be an impassioned prayer to God against all the evil forces that exist in today’s world and not meant to be blasphemous at all.
The opening track “Take It To The Cross” starts out with some eerie effects and chants before kicking into a serious old school thrash metal song. Better hold on to your hats because guitarists Oz Fox and Michael Sweet are letting it rip and guest vocalist Matt Bachand provides an ominous touch with a chorus full of snarling death growls. Classic hard rockers “Sorry” and “Lost” follow, heating things up even more. Up next is the powerhouse title track “God Damn Evil.” The song is a phenomenal anthem with a killer riff and opening scream by Sweet leading up to a chorus that demands to be shouted out. This one has an incredible hook and I found myself singing it the rest of the day. It’s destined to become a Stryper classic and a staple of their live shows. Proving that a song doesn’t have to be at a blistering pace to be heavy, “The Valley” takes things a bit slower. Opening with a voice speaking part of Psalm 23, “yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…, ” the track is both formidable and compelling. The ballad “Can’t Live Without Your Love” provides a change of pace with hauntingly beautiful guitars and Sweet’s exquisite vocals. The record closes out with the same force and fury as it started with the crashing drums of Robert Sweet throughout “The Devil Doesn’t Live Here.”
It’s often difficult for a band to maintain the classic sounds of their earlier years without sounding dated but Stryper manages to pull this off with ease. “God Damn Evil” is a modern day Stryper classic in the making.