STRYPER – “Take It To The Cross”

The thing I love the most is when an established band pushes the envelope, while still maintaining the essence, message, and integrity that they have built with their previous music.  Stryper has definitely accomplished that with their latest effort, “Take it to the Cross.”  Michael Sweet, sounding better than ever, has kicked it up a few notches with this one.  Adding the growls and death metal voice of Matt Blanchard (Shadows Fall, Act of Defiance) in the chorus, takes the Stryper sound (and brand) to a different level.

The title of their upcoming release – God Damn Evil – sent the social media masses into a frenzy with jaws dropping and minds exploding over what many Stryper faithful (and religious minded folks) believe to be scary, blasphemous, and against all that is sacred and wholesome.  Not this guy.  I love it!  And I applaud Stryper for it. This is what rock n’ roll is all about.  Even a Christian Rock band can still be edgy, and deliver the message within the confines of that edginess.

With “Take it to the Cross,” Stryper has built on the energy and momentum of their last two albums, and put out some of their best work to date.  Also, a new member in the fold, bassist Perry Richardson (Firehouse), has given a shot in the arm to the band and re-invigorated their passion for the music that they hold near and dear to them.  Richardson brings years of experience, great bass playing, and harmony/backing vocals that Stryper is known for.  It’s a perfect fit that has elevated the other members’ playing and performances.  Sweet sounds better than ever, hitting all the high notes that he is known for with ease and precision. He’s no slouch at guitar either.

If this is just the tip of the iceberg for the new and improved Stryper, I think it’s safe to say we’re all in for a real treat.  It’s great to see a band with such a storied history continue to create music at a high level.  You don’t need to be a Christian to appreciate the music or the message of Stryper.  Although many are, this is for EVERYONE.  Music is an INCLUSIVE art form, not EXCLUSIVE.  If it touches you, and you can relate to the words or music in some small way, mission accomplished!

— KURT ARFT – HRD Music Scout