Review by Rob Broom for MPM
Metal maestros Stryper return with another titanic addition to their holy crusade.
Formed in the 1980s and finding great success with albums such as ‘Soldiers Under Command’ (I remember buying this one after reading a review back in the day!) and ‘To Hell With the Devil’, Stryper declined in the early nineties, but by 2010 they were back and kicking.
Recent albums, ‘Fallen’, ‘God Damn Evil’ and ‘Even The Devil Believes’ have all been seriously good metal albums, capturing that 80s heavy rock sound with a modern update, each album building on the last.
‘The Final Battle’ continues that upward trend and if you haven’t come across the band before, it is a great place to start.
Opening track ‘Transgressor’ is just the sort of opening track any metal album should have, twin guitars at full riff accompanied by thunderous drums and bass that just don’t let up.
All with a vocal delivery to match. Think a slightly slower ‘Exciter’ from Judas Priest and you are somewhere in the ball park of what to expect musically and vocally. It is brilliant.
If you survive the opening onslaught then it is on to ‘See No Evil, Hear No Evil’ a slow brooding pounder, heads should shake to this one. It also really shows off a Stryper hallmark, superb vocal harmonies and guitar interplay.
‘Same Old Story’ picks up the pace again with more of those excellent vocals and some ferocious drumming. This is quality metal music with some great hooks to sing along with and searing harmony guitar work. Really, I am running out of superlatives already!
After the opening three songs you could really do with some respite, but no, fourth track ‘Heart and Soul’ and sixth track ‘Out, Up and In’ keep up the quality, both remind me a little of Y & T if you need a comparison. More great vocals and tremendous tuneful pounding music.
These two tracks do sandwich fifth track ‘Near’, which is the sort of song I can imagine couples driving along will sing to one another or play at wedding anniversaries.
It is not quite a ballad but is full of romance and is a well constructed song of this type. I suspect listeners will either love it or loath it. Make up your own mind, its grown on me as I have been listening to the album for review and does give you a chance to breath!
Track seven, ‘Rise To The Call’ is a different proposition altogether, attacking riffs and drums leave you in little doubt as to Strypers metal intentions. This is a chest beating, fist pumping anthem. Guitar solo reminds me of Priest meeting Maiden. Only problem with this song it is the shortest on the album (just!) but could do with being longer!
‘The Way, The Truth, The Life’ and ‘No Rest For The Wicked’ both continue the metal assault with the Stryper formula hitting the mark in a similar vein to the earlier ‘See No Evil’. ‘No Rest’ is slower and relentless with a great riff and vocal hook. This should explode in a live environment and get the heads shaking!
‘Till Death Do Us Part’ picks up where ‘Near’ left off theme wise, but with a faster pace and is a really good catchy song. I can imagine this could work really well live.
Final cut ‘Ashes To Ashes’ leaves us how ‘Transgressor’ started, a furious beat and guitar riff rattles along with some more Maiden like guitar breaks and then Stryper close out with some screaming and pounding thats equal to the best of them. Play loud!
Stryper are, in my opinion, a phenomenal heavy rock band and worthy of your full attention. Great riffs, great vocals and interesting songs that challenge the conventional metal composition.
The band have Christian faith and are very open about it in some of their songs, but let us be blunt, the Devil doesn’t have to have all the best tunes and Stryper prove that, consistently!
The Final Battle’ contains some excellent metal music, with several stone cold classics on it, go buy it now.
Michael Sweet – vocals, guitars
Oz Fox – guitars
Perry Richardson – bass
Robert Sweet – drums