Christian/ Hard Rock
By C.W. Ross
Since first appearing on the Christian music scene with their 1984 debut EP, ‘The Yellow and Black Attack’ the band Stryper has gone on to carve a wide musical path both in the Christian and secular markets, including being the first, ‘Christian band’ to get airplay on MTV, along with having the first Christian album, ‘To Hell with the Devil’, to go platinum in 1986.
Since then the band has had many other releases that met with much success including their 2009 release, ‘Murder by Pride’ that included a year-long 25th Anniversary World Tour by the band that included stops in, North America, South America, Europe and Australia.
Stryper’s latest release is appropriately titled, ‘The Covering’, because on it you’ll find the band doing covers of some pretty well known songs that were made popular by band’s from the 70’s classic rock and 80’s heavy metal scene like, Van Halen, Kansas, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Led Zeppelin, to name a few.
‘The Covering’ also marks the return of original Stryper bassist Tim Gaines back into the group.
You’ll also find one original new track from the band, “God.” When asked about the song band front man Michael Sweet had this to say, “Something that I was concerned about doing a covers album was the backlash,” says Michael. “Being a Christian band, I was afraid we would get beat up pretty good. And sure enough, people in the press were saying early on, ‘What are they doing? Are they Christian still?’ All this nonsense. I just felt like, ‘We really should put a song on there that solidifies our faith.’ And that tells everyone questioning our faith, ‘No, we haven’t turned our back on God, we’re still serious about it.'”
‘The Covering’ kicks off with a cover of the song, “Set Me Free” from the 70’s rock band Sweet. This track sets the scene for what lies ahead as it roars to life with big guitar and drum sounds.
Album highlight tracks include the band’s cover of the Kansas (Kerry Livgren) 70’s hit single, “Carry on Wayward Son.” The band stays really true to the progressive rock sound found on the original.
Other favorite tracks that caught my attention are, “The Trooper” (Iron Maiden) and “Immigrant Song” (Led Zeppelin).
When a band does a cover of someone else’s music its taking a big risk, especially if it’s a classic hit from that band like several found on this album. I think though that Stryper walks that fine line of making the song their own while still keeping true to the sound found on the original.
If you’re older (like me) you’ll get a chance to be a little bit nostalgic and for the younger listener you’ll get to hear fresh takes on some classic rock songs.