Does it divide opinion? Yes, but here's the thing. All songs are stories, whether based on fact, history or the writers' own imagination. You don't have to believe to enjoy and if you've heard the new WASP album then you will know of the powerful religious imagery throughout. Good enough for Blackie? Then 'Fallen' at least deserves a listen. You won't regret it!
The Gospel according to Stryper: Chapter 11...
'Yahweh' has a choral opening before blasting an all out power metal assault on the ears. Three minutes into the song the tempo increases again, Fox and Sweet exchange lead breaks before slowing down with a Sabbathesque riff. Soaring vocals with Sweet hitting the high notes seemingly without much effort and huge harmonies complete the song. Named after the ancient God of Israel and Judah and depicting the crucifixion of Christ this is an epic start to the album.
With a heavy riff and Sweet in top screaming form 'Fallen' backs up the opener brilliantly. Great guitar work and vocals are the mainstay of this tune. It's got a bit of a nasty edge to it as it's about Lucifer being expelled from Heaven before becoming that nice chap Satan.
'Pride' is a down tuned monster of a song and possibly the best on the album. Sweet has a gutteral sound in the chorus which adds great effect to it. Another song about Christianity but a total headbanger with more excellent guitar work.
11:4 Big Screen Lies
'Big Screen Lies' is a pretty vehement attack on the film industry and their depiction of, yes, you guessed it, Christians in movies. Another catchy riff runs through this with some almost tribal drumming in places. There is definitely a lot more aggression on this album both lyrically and musically. Another top tune.
'Heaven' chugs along with a slow backbeat and matching heavy riff with a more traditional Stryper sound thrown in for good measure.
11:6 Love You Like I Do
Opening with a more uptempo riff 'Love you Like I Do" is a pure rocker with great harmonies and chorus. This song would've had serious rotation back in the days when MTV played music. Catchy as all hell. Yet another strong tune. (with a strange ending!)
11:7 All Over Again.
Next up Stryper out Bon Jovi Bon Jovi with a ballad that just stays on the good side of not being nauseating. Superb harmonies and plenty of 'ooh's' in the chorus are followed by a clean solo that makes this song a potential radio hit.
11:8 After Forever.
A Black Sabbath cover is next up. Yep, Black Sabbath! Taken from the 1971 album Master of Reality this was Geezer Butlers "Christian" song and its a very good updated version with a 'faith' melting (sic) solo.
11:9 'Till I Get What I Need
This is a fast tempo number and seemingly a personal statement on Sweet's life. Great guitar work again with a great solo. Nice bit of shredding from Fox.
11:10 Let There be Light.
Possibly soon to be known as the Creationists anthem 'Let There be Light' is ripped, in part, straight out of Genesis. More fast, powerful riffs elevate this song to one of the highlights on the album.
11:11 The Calling.
'The Calling' carries on in the same vein. More powerful riffs and top notch vocals with another catchy chorus. Yet more shredding in the solo should see this song being firmly inserted into the live show. Plenty of squeals too to keep the air guitarists happy!
11:12 King of Kings.
'King of Kings' bookends the album nicely touching on the same subject matter as 'Yahweh'
And they kept the best to last as this is a monster of power riffs and harmony vocals with Sweet giving it loads and ending with a high pitched scream.
Theological Analysis: Overall this is an excellent album musically and any true metalhead should be giving it a listen.
Lyrically? That's down to individual taste and viewpoint but certainly shouldn't put anyone off giving it a go. It was, supposedly, the Greatest Story Ever Told after all.
REVIEW BY ANDY GILLEN