Stryper – Soldiers Under Command – 1985

With the strong success of the initial EP Stryper was poised to make a major impact on the music world with their first full length album, Soldiers Under command. It was also at this time that televangelist and youth speakers were voicing disapproval on the world of CCM with loud and venemous attacks against artists like Amy Grant, Petra and even Sandy Patti. The perfect storm of glam rock and God’s music critics created a furor not seen ever since. The more the TBN crowd railed against the “Devil’s Music” (Stryper) the larger the bands fan base grew. The growth of Stryper’s impact was directly related to an amazing full length debut. the album rocked from the very beginning and did not disappoint. The war-like image on the album cover was lived out in the militant, evangelistic approach lyrically on the album. The title track rocked with heavy, HEAVY DRUMS and a great dual guitar attack. It was also on this album that the world was introduced to the power ballad in a big way. Fearless radio programmers at KYMS (with some constant encouragement from a certain young wannabe deejay) added “Together As One” to the normal format of Amy Grant, Petra and Michael W. Smith. The phones lit up every time it was played with listeners asking who was performing this great new wedding song. The band did show great improvement and maturity, both in their musical skills and in their songwriting. There was still plenty of “Jesus is the rock that makes us roll” pablum the genre was noted for, but there was also a sense of a beginning community that Strpyer would be spearheading as their loyal fans would take the message behind the music to their friends. It is in this setting that a song like “Reach Out” becomes more a communal anthem rather than just an evangelistic propaganda slogan. There would also be social and personal issues dealt with on this album like personal piety (First Love) and sexual purity (A Love That’s Real). The title track deals with the reality of spiritual warfare. It was also on this album the use of keyboards were introduced. This accentuated the normal big hair, big guitar attack, and showed the heavy influence bands like Styx and REP Speedwagon actually had on the band. Critics, especially the self anointed protectors of definers of “Godly” music continued to miss the point. The Stryper phenomenon had much more to do with the sense of belonging and community fostered and promoted by the band. Kids wore Stryper paraphernalia not only because they were fans, but also because they were belonging to something bigger than themselves. It is also why even several years beyond the highest popularity and artistic zeniths their fan base remained loyal and supportive and there is a continuing respect for the band.

Contributor David Lowman –

Track Listing:
1 – Soldiers Under Command – 5:03
2 – Makes Me Wanna Sing – 2:51
3 – Together Forever – 4:03
4 – First Love – 5:43
5 – The Rock That Makes Me Roll – 4:56
6 – Reach Out – 5:21
7 – (Waiting For) A Love That’s Real – 4:36
8 – Together As One – 5:01
9 – Surrender – 4:28
10 – Battle Hymn Of The Republic – 2:36

Bass, Piano, Keyboards – Tim Gaines
Drums – Robert Sweet “The Visual Timekeeper”
Other [Make Up] – Kyle Rae Tucy
Other [Stage Clothes] – Tina Henderson
Photography – Scarpati
Producer, Engineer – Michael Wagener
Rhythm Guitar, Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals – Michael Sweet, Oz Fox
Written-By – Robert Sweet (tracks: A1, B1)
Written-By, Lead Vocals – Michael Sweet

Companies, etc.
Produced For – Double Trouble Productions, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Enigma Records
Copyright (c) – Enigma Records
Published By – Sweet Family Music

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Author: David Lowman

Owner and writer at CCM's 500 Best Albums Of All Time.

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