Stryper - The Covering

Published Tuesday 8th March 2011
Stryper - The Covering
Stryper - The Covering

RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 107472-17813

Reviewed by Mike Rimmer

It seems like the reformed Stryper just keep going from strength to strength and it seems ironic that these days they're sounding stronger and better than ever they did in their '80s glam metal heyday. They certainly deserved to reach the dizzy commercial heights they enjoyed when they had an army of fans and wore their leather and lycra outfits and this album takes us back to the days before all the fuss when as a struggling opening act they were beginning to get noticed on the LA club scene. Then, they were mixing original material with covers of some of their favourite bands and this album gives Stryper an opportunity to pay homage to those early influences with covers of classics by Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Ozzy and others. I am guessing the genesis of this idea probably goes back to the cover version of Boston's "Peace Of Mind" on their last album and Sweet's stint as Boston's frontman. Here, they have been pretty faithful to the originals, both in arrangements and performances and it's clear the band's musicianship is up to scratch to let them keep pace with the best that rock music has to offer. One particular standout is their cover of Deep Purple's "Highway Star" where Michael Sweet's vocals and Oz Fox's guitar work really stand out. Elsewhere they tackle Kansas classic "Carry On My Wayward Son", UFO's "Lights Out" and Van Halen's "On Fire" with great confidence. The only letdown is their attempt at Led Zep'd "Immigrant's Song" which doesn't really cut it. Aside from the one slip, sonically the band have never sounded better and I can imagine a blast of Kiss or Sweet in their current live set only adds a huge dollop of rock'n'roll fun. Taking into account the way the band have been burned in the past with accusations of spiritual backsliding, the inclusion of one original song, the uncompromising "God" only serves to remind everyone that this band still has a serious intent to stand strong for God. The fact that this closing original is an absolute killer track only points us forward to the band's continued resurgence; Stryper still means rock!

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 later date.

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