STYLE: Hard Music RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 152554-22275 LABEL: Frontiers FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 2 EXTRAS: DVD
Reviewed by Paul S Ganney
Stryper? Where to start? 30 years ago. or a just a couple when they reformed? I tried to just sit back and take this CD/DVD package as it is - a live set recorded in 2013 at the legendary Whisky A Go Go, but I couldn't help but keep comparing with their past glories. It's very live and leaps snarling from the speakers. The musicianship is as good as you'd hope from seasoned pros. The harmonies aren't quite as sharp as their studio output, especially as the gig progresses (but whose are - unless you go back and re-record them?) but Michael Sweet is unmistakable as he hits his high vibrato and the way the voices combine is Stryper through and through (eg, "Calling On You"): if anything it was this that set them apart when they first burst on the scene and it's good to hear they've still got it. The intro and solo to "Loud And Clear" shows they've not slowed down on the fretwork, either (and the traded solos on "Jesus Is Just Alright" are a delight). It's good, also, to hear the clarity of conviction that amazed people at the time: as they sing "I will follow you because you died for me" ("More Than A Man") it's the kind of simple Christian message critics said couldn't be delivered in mainstream rock. How wrong they were. If there's a criticism of the CD, it's that it is so full-on. There's no real light and shade in the first half: at a gig you don't really care, but listening at home it matters. Maybe this is an "in the car" CD, therefore, where subtlety doesn't get heard. They do slow down for a run of tracks in the second half, giving them a chance to show a more melodic side to the guitar riffs (and the audience a chance to belt out the choruses). After the recent 'Second Coming' which saw their greatest tracks re-recorded, a live set may seem superfluous. But this has tons more energy than that release and gives you a pretty good idea of what you're in for should you be blessed enough to see them live. The gig itself was skilfully filmed with four or five cameras so the DVD of this package will probably end up getting watched as often as the CD is listened to.
The opinions expressed in this article are
not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed
views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may
not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a
Interested in reviewing music? Find out