Stryper - Even The Devil Believes review


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Band: Stryper
Album: Even The Devil Believes
Release date: September 2020

01. Blood From Above
02. Make Love Great Again
03. Let Him In
04. Do Unto Others
05. Even The Devil Believes
06. How To Fly
07. Divider
08. This I Pray
09. Invitation Only
10. For God & Rock 'n' Roll
11. Middle Finger Messiah

Lord have mercy.

The yellow and black attack are back with their 13th release Even The Devil Believes; the one band you could probably name if you were asked to name a Christian metal band in a quiz, Stryper return not with the trumpets of Jericho but with a record that is good though unremarkable. Featuring a harder and more metallic sound than their heydays in the 80's glam scene, don't be fooled into thinking this is just a lame retread of past glories: it is a sincere attempt at moving forward, though to nowhere special fast.

Stryper's modus operandi has not changed in the intervening years, with each track steeped in the religious tones and lyrics that people with a passing knowledge of the band will expect. If you are someone who cannot stand Christian-based music, then Even The Devil Believes will be a no-go for you; if you are someone who appreciates it or doesn't care either way, then you will be left with an album with average musicianship to back up some of the cheesiest lyrics you'll hear in 2020.

Even The Devil Believes is a collection of songs in styles the band have performed before, mid-paced rockers to upbeat metallic-infused numbers and slower ballad-esque tracks. Stryper offer up a varied musical offering that is tied together by the theme of worship that each track is centred around. This diverse selection of songs sees "Middle Finger Messiah" as a good example of the dichotomy that religious-based music falls into; it is the highlight of the record musically, but at the same time it features some of the worst lyrics on the album, leaving you with a song that ends up in the middle as a result. There are moments, however, where the band are able to balance both and produce some strong tracks that can be listened to without caveat, with "Blood From Above", "Let Him In" and "Divider" being other highlights of the record.

Stryper benefit massively from their latter-day switch up to a more straightforward metal approach to their music rather than clinging on to their glam roots; with the musicianship unrestrained by the need to fit a style, the band are able to focus on just crafting some good tracks. Michael Sweet and Fox are a good though unremarkable guitar duo, producing some fun solos and parts here and there interspersed between some generic parts that act as the conduits that connect the interesting moments. "For God & Rock 'n' Roll" is a good example of this, as the solo is a fun listen though the verse riffing is bland, whereas a track like "Middle Finger Messiah" features enjoyable upbeat riffing alongside some generic chord strikes.

Sweet balances his duties on guitar with his position behind the microphone and produces a mixed performance there too, with some of the tracks seeing Sweet lean too heavily on effects for his vocals; on tracks like "How To Fly", it sounds like an unnatural warping that doesn't benefit his delivery at all and serves to make what would have been an average passage awkward listening. For the most part, however, his vocals are good, with tracks like "Invitation Only" being elevated by his performance. Elsewhere, he veers too close to cringey on some tracks, such as "This I Pray", with Sweet overemoting to a flaw. The inability to find a settled median between all three leads to each track being a crap shoot as to what performance he produces.

Even The Devil Believes is unlikely to convert anyone who isn't already a fan of the band; though one of their better efforts in recent years, it is a mixed bag of blessings and one that while enjoyable at times, is unlikely to remain in your record player for long.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 6
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 6
Production: 6


Written on 26.11.2020 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.


Comments: 6   Visited by: 56 users
26.11.2020 - 16:09
Should've been a 6.6 just to piss them off.
Jusqu'ici, tout va bien...

2021 goodies
27.11.2020 - 05:49
Lord Slothrop
I went to a Stryper concert many many moons ago and the only thing I remember about the show was that they threw abridged bibles into the audience.
27.11.2020 - 12:07
Rufus Valentine
Wow. That's what I call taking one for the team: listening to a Stryper album from start to finish. Kudos.
27.11.2020 - 16:25
It's a real shame, No More Hell to Pay was awesome and Fallen was OK. I couldn't make it towards the end with this one though.
27.11.2020 - 17:33
The Shape 1973
Written by Andreas on 27.11.2020 at 16:25

It's a real shame, No More Hell to Pay was awesome and Fallen was OK. I couldn't make it towards the end with this one though.

I feel the same. The albums you mentioned were great. I think the standard has dropped because Michael is doing so many projects he has run out of good ideas. I will check out his new one with Traci Guns though sounds bit heavier than his usual style.
So many chips on the world's shoulder. Low on ketchup.
28.11.2020 - 17:22
JoHn DoE
Written by RaduP on 26.11.2020 at 16:09

Should've been a 6.6 just to piss them off.

I don't think the band are idiots to get upset at such a thing though.
Decent album, but yeah they did much better albums, even in recent years.
I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.

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