Rating:
8.5
Stryper - No More Hell To Pay
1 November 2013


01. Revelation
02. No More Hell To Pay
03. Saved By Love
04. Jesus Is Just Alright [The Art Reynolds Singers cover]
05. The One
06. Legacy
07. Marching Into Battle
08. Te Amo
09. Sticks & Stones
10. Water Into Wine
11. Sympathy
12. Renewed


I have to admit that I've never been into Christian metal, maybe because I thought its two components - Christianity and metal - incompatible or at least incongruous.

Oh, how much was I wrong?

There would be few more effective ways of describing the latest Stryper release than starting from the cover artwork. That, in fact, represents at best No More Hell To Pay, being colorful, refined, and aiming at the sky.

Stryper play that renowned mixture of glam and heavy metal that gained importance in the 80's, also under the often-flouted moniker of "hair metal". So, what would you expect from a Christian hair metal album? A lighter Bon Jovi, that was my first thought - my first fear. Again, and luckily, I was in error.

No More Hell To Pay is nowhere near to those kind of easy poppy melodies that served as aphrodisiac back in the days. Classic-esque riffing draws the attention instantly into every song, strengthened by the tempo of unfailing drumming and accompanied by the bass that, even if it could have been more valorized in the production process, donates to the music a reassuring depth. All this prepares for the explosion of the vocals, masterfully provided by Mr. Michael Sweet - and sweet he can be, indeed, but also wild, warm or extremely acute, winking to the happier side of power metal.

The album is apt both for a whole run of twelve songs, and for a fast listen of personal favorites; every track here being a hit in its own way. Don't waste this release due to the (comprehensible) preconception of a full-cargo of melancholic ballads, since you'll find only one in here, the gentle "The One", that won't surely rest in the overcrowded catacomb of its forgotten fellows. Terrific sing-along choruses and inspired classy solos wrap the rest of No More Hell To Pay in an undeniably attractive suit.

Now, the lyrics issue. I won't deny that such explicit Christian themes could annoy somebody, but that isn't likely to happen, since message and messenger are put on the same level, and rarely one overhangs the other. Sure, some weird feelings could emerge, such as the one of imagining a gospel choir of black women dressed in purple shaking their hands and singing "…Jesus is my best friend…", the bridge of the well interpreted Art Reynolds Singers cover "Jesus Is Just Alright" (this mainly because The Art Reynolds Singers actually was a gospel combo), but in their entirety the lyrics can easily be neglected by anyone who prefers to, while it can result in interest for others, such as me.

The general feeling of this album is that of a release that, in days when mankind seems no more worth of any trust, conveys much-needed hope, potted in top-notch melodic metal. No More Hell To Pay was announced by the band itself as the best Stryper work to date. Well, if it's not, in their 50s these American youngsters have come really close to it.


Band profile: Stryper
Album: No More Hell To Pay


 



Written on 28.12.2013 by
R Lewis
Hopefully you won't agree with me, diversity of opinions is what makes metal so beautiful and varied.

So... critics and advices absolutely welcome.
More reviews by R Lewis ››



Comments

‹‹ Back to the Reviews
Comments: 10  
Users visited: 180  
Search this topic:  


Mattybu - 28.12.2013 at 18:53  
Christianity is actually the most metal thing ever. First of all, without it there would be no Satan. Also, Jesus is a dude with long hair and a beard. And he turned water into alcohol. that's metal.

nice review
Troy Killjoy - 28.12.2013 at 19:36  
^ That, and the Bible's pretty fucking metal. I mean, I haven't read through the entire thing because I'm more of a non-fiction fan, but some of those stories are more sinister than any black metal band could ever be.

I'm really not into this style of music but the review is well-written, so good job. The lyrics aren't too preachy but at the same time they aren't exactly brilliant either.
Joodicator - 28.12.2013 at 19:44  
Really need to get this, what I've heard so far is indeed some of the best they've ever done. And seeing people agreeing with that on the secular circuit as well pretty much affirms it for me. But every time I've seen it, it was either too expensive or surrounded by even better albums I'd rather have.
Lit. - 28.12.2013 at 20:03  
Yeah, fuck those pussy Satanist poseurs. HAIL JESUS!

But seriously though, I have got to check this out, since is the first time I've seen a glam album that both That Metal Show and Metal Storm praise.
Uldreth - 28.12.2013 at 21:23  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 28.12.2013 at 19:36

^ That, and the Bible's pretty fucking metal. I mean, I haven't read through the entire thing because I'm more of a non-fiction fan, but some of those stories are more sinister than any black metal band could ever be.

I'm really not into this style of music but the review is well-written, so good job. The lyrics aren't too preachy but at the same time they aren't exactly brilliant either.

Aye, it's like the book version of Diablo.


Anyways I'll take my christian metal as Living Sacrifice I think...
ManiacBlasphemer - 28.12.2013 at 21:58  
Probably the only christian band I ever liked. It hooked me up years ago with their classic, To Hell With The Devil and now this one sounds like a proper continuation of that masterpiece. Though an atheist, I can appreciate a christian work that is filled with quality tunes, despite the fact that the message does not represent me at all. Long live Stryper!
carltonh - 29.12.2013 at 05:19  
I wanted to like this album, as a Christian metal head, even if of the flag-burning anarchist type, but alas, it is merely good. Glam metal can only be so-so at best. They should split the difference with Ihsahn. That would be fun.
The Shape 1973 - 29.12.2013 at 13:13  
I loved their early stuff, especially THWTD, but lost interest after ATL. Apart from the covers and re-recorded album I'd not listened to their comeback material, but this is amazing stuff. I can't get the chorus' out of my head.

As mentioned in the review, they are in their 50s and have just released possibly their heaviest and best album. Screaming guitars and screaming vocals. It may even top THWTD. There are no fillers, not even the cover version, which has got some criticism on other forums.

I hope the band keep to this sound now. They have tried other styles, but the 80s sound is their trade mark and I believe, what their fans want.

I know most metal fans write off anything overtly Christian, but please don't write this one off without listening to it. You will be missing out on possibly the classic metal album of the year.

I would like to see it do well in the Metalstorm awards if it gets nominated. HINT TO STAFF.
Lit. - 30.12.2013 at 05:17  
Written by carltonh on 29.12.2013 at 05:19

I wanted to like this album, as a Christian metal head, even if of the flag-burning anarchist type, but alas, it is merely good. Glam metal can only be so-so at best. They should split the difference with Ihsahn. That would be fun.

Everything in this post makes me wanna find out where you live, knock at your door and laugh at your face when your open it.

Aside from how completely asinine it would be to compare the two (especially considering how boring Ihsahn's latest was compared to this one), you on the other hand should start listening to something other than glam's popular power ballads and start listening to albums because glam at its best is most certainly not "so-so."
Teravolt_Danny - 06.01.2014 at 07:54  
Written by Lit. on 30.12.2013 at 05:17

Written by carltonh on 29.12.2013 at 05:19

I wanted to like this album, as a Christian metal head, even if of the flag-burning anarchist type, but alas, it is merely good. Glam metal can only be so-so at best. They should split the difference with Ihsahn. That would be fun.

Everything in this post makes me wanna find out where you live, knock at your door and laugh at your face when your open it.

Aside from how completely asinine it would be to compare the two (especially considering how boring Ihsahn's latest was compared to this one), you on the other hand should start listening to something other than glam's popular power ballads and start listening to albums because glam at its best is most certainly not "so-so."


Whoooaaahohoho, easy boy!

Advertise on Metal Storm


Login or register to post here.



Similar topics

Forum Topic Similarity Started
Albums Stryper - No More Hell To Pay 7.5 19.05.2013 by mikeprado30
Reviews AC/DC - Highway To Hell 4.5 12.11.2012 by R Lewis
Reviews Hell - Curse And Chapter 4.5 22.02.2014 by Tristus Scriptor
Reviews Five Finger Death Punch - The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell - Volume 1 4.5 02.12.2013 by R Lewis
Reviews Five Finger Death Punch - The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell - Volume 2 4.5 05.12.2013 by Boxcar Willy



Hits total: 5078 | This month: 88