NO MORE HELL TO PAY
Released November 5, 2013 (Frontiers Records)
02. No More Hell To Pay
03. Saved By Love
04. Jesus Is Just Alright
05. The One
07. Marching Into Battle
08. Te Amo
09. Sticks & Stones
10. Water Into Wine
DVD Track List:
01. 21 Minutues All Access Documentary
02. Sympathy (video)
03. No More Hell To Pay (video)
Michael Sweet – vocals and guitar
Oz Fox – guitar and vocals
Timothy Gaines – bass and vocals
Robert Sweet – drums
Produced by Michael Sweet.
I can’t recall the last time a band has been talked about and created as much hype about their upcoming album as Stryper has done for No More Hell To Pay via their FaceBook site. If you follow the band, you no doubt have known in the last few months that they were poised to release their eighth studio album and that it was being hailed as a return to the vintage — but a heavier — Stryper sound. Has No More Hell To Pay lived up to Stryper‘s hype? The short answer is a resounding… ‘Yes’!
I was a tad skeptical that Stryper could deliver the great CD that they were advertising — even after getting a preview of the powerful and heavy riff based “Marching Into Battle” at the Christian pioneer group’s Toronto show back in July — but that is exactly what the band has done. Heavy riff based songs… you got ’em! Awesome vocal melodies… you got ’em! Scorching guitar solos… you got ’em! Michael Sweet‘s signature vocals… you got ’em! Proudly praising God’s word and message… you got it! A great sounding CD… you got it! Vintage Stryper sound… the band is back better than ever!
I could go song by song and tell you how just about every one sounds simply amazing, but there is no need to do so. Just do yourself a favor and pick up this album. It is actually tough to pick what I consider the best songs on No More Hell To Pay as I find myself wrestling over which ones are the best because there are so many. It is actually easier to choose which tracks I don’t like as much because there are only two — the ballad “The One”, as I have never been a big fan of ballads, and the opener “Revelation”, which is a little slower than the rest of the tracks — that being said, these latter two songs are not bad ones but simply my two least favorites out of twelve mostly standout tracks. Song highlights for me include the fast paced “Legacy”, the catchy and upbeat cover of “Jesus Is Just Alright” (perhaps it should be called “Jesus Is More Than Alright”), the heavy “Marching Into Battle” and “Water Into Wine”, with its awesome background vocals and catchy chorus.
There is no need to say that Stryper‘s No More Hell To Pay is a sure bet to crack my top 5 of 2013, as it is even a contender for #1 — challenging Shock‘s Once Denied and Airbourne‘s Black Dog Barking for that top spot. I can’t wait to go see Stryper play some of these new songs live when they come back to Toronto in April.
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, November 2013