Thursday, July 26, 2012

STRYPER: Retro Rewind Record Review

Me and Jason getting ready to rock!

At this moment I am en route with my BFF Jason and a crew from East Coast Christian Center in Merritt Island, Florida to cover tonight's Stryper concert at the House of Blues in Orlando. And as I'm amping up, preparing to see one of my all-time favorite bands, I recalled a nearly-forgotten review of the band's Murder By Pride record that I wrote for the popular online arts and culture magazine, back in the fall of 2009. I did a little Google searching and there it was, my long lost gem. For those of you who may have missed it the first time around, here's an instant replay, submitted for your approval and enjoyment. FYI, my official review of tonight's show will post on Ink 19 in the next few days.


Murder by Pride
Big 3 Records

Stylistically falling somewhere between 1988's over-produced, titanic In God We Trust and 2005's awkwardly grunge-y Reborn lies Stryper's latest, Murder by Pride. Produced by frontman/guitarist Michael Sweet and Danny Bernini, this chunk of solid rock combines the band's longtime Christian message with loads of signature ear-splitting riffs and offers another dozen bold, hard-hitting, soon-to-be classics.

In-your-face skull crushers such as "4 Leaf Clover" and "The Plan" perfectly exemplify a band that's musically in tune with today's ever-changing rock scene while remaining true to its old school roots. However, despite a penchant for creating high-octane nut busters, Stryper has never been a musical one trick pony. In fact, the two real Cracker Jack prizes found inside of Murder by Pride, "Alive" and "Run in You," are true-blue, bonafide power ballads -- only this time without a saccharine after-taste.

Another record highlight is the remake of Boston's 1976 hit "Peace of Mind." Featuring a cameo performance by the song's creator, guitar legend Tom Scholz, Stryper takes this rock staple and uniquely makes it their own.

From their platinum-selling glory days of the late 1980s to their heartbreaking meltdown in the early 1990s, these reunited soldiers have experienced their fair share of career highs and lows over the last twenty-five years. However, in 2009, Murder by Pride proves Stryper to be as relevant and important as ever.

-Christopher Long
(October 2009)

Author Christopher Long's latest book,
is available NOW on Amazon.

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