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 – https://ccms500bestalbums.wordpress.com/

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

Credits:
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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Stryper – The Covering – 2011

The boys of Stryper got back together in 2011 to record this album of cover tunes. The claim is that these are the songs that helped to shape the band’s sound and musical identity. The album does have one original track, “God” written by Michael Sweet. The cover versions are good and you will probably enjoy listening to them but I wish they would have actually put more of their own sound into the recordings. However it is apparent they were trying instead to keep them as close to the original as possible. This idea was done by a few CCM bands in this era but few did it as well as Stryper.

Tracklist
1 – Set Me Free – 3:45
2 – Blackout – 3:58
3 – Heaven And Hell – 6:11
4 – Lights Out – 3:45
5 – Carry On My Wayward Son – 5:16
6 – Highway Star – 5:45
7 – Shout It Out Loud – 3:15
8 – Over The Mountain – 4:21
9 – The Trooper – 3:53
10 – Breaking The Law – 3:02
11 – On Fire – 3:08
12 – Immigrant Song – 2:18
13 – God – 4:55

Credits
Art Direction – Richie “Britley” Hughes
Bass Guitar, Vocals – Timothy Gaines
Design [Illustration/Graphic Design] – Kaeli Ellis
Drums, Cymbal [Cymbals] – Robert Sweet
Edited By [Additional Editing By] – Kenny Lewis
Executive-Producer – Bill Edwards
Guitar, Vocals – Oz Fox
Illustration [Cover Illustration] – Chris Parks
Keyboards, Organ, Piano – Charles Foley
Lead Vocals, Guitar – Michael Sweet
Management – Union Entertainment Group
Mastered By – Mark Donahue
Producer [Produced By] – Michael Sweet
Recorded By, Mixed By – Danny Bernini

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Big3 Records, LLC
Copyright (c) – Big3 Records, LLC
Recorded At – Spirit House
Mixed At – Spirit House
Edited At – Mixed Emotions
Mastered At – Soundmirror, Inc.
Published By – Sweet Milena Music
Glass Mastered At – Arvato Digital Services Bertelsmann, USA – JL40601

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Stryper – Second Coming – 2013

In 2012 the original studio version of the band came back into the studio to re-record some of their greatest hits from 1984 to 1986 as well as a few new tracks. The recording and production quality is very high and it is obvious the band put in a real effort. Often these reunion albums smell of “please buy this” but I didn’t get that feeling from this album. It really sounds like a great effort was put in to release a quality product. There were a few versions of this CD released in different countries. This is the Japanese version with a bonus track (Together As One).

Tracklist
1 – Loud N’ Clear – 3:46
2 – Loving You – 4:27
3 – Soldiers Under Command – 5:08
4 – Makes Me Wanna Sing – 2:50
5 – First Love – 5:22
6 – The Rock That Makes Me Roll – 4:53
7 – Reach Out – 5:24
8 – Surrender – 4:19
9 – To Hell With The Devil – 4:06
10 – Calling On You – 3:41
11 – Free – 3:41
12 – The Way – 3:37
13 – Sing Along Song – 4:23
14 – More Than A Man – 4:43
15 – Bleeding From Inside Out – 3:44
16 – Blackened – 3:08
17 – Together As One – 4:45

Credits
Artwork, Layout – Stan-W D
Bass, Vocals – Timothy Gaines
Drums – Robert Sweet
Engineer, Mixed By, Mastered By – Danny Bernini
Keyboards, Vocals – Charles Foley
Lead Guitar, Vocals – Oz Fox
Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar, Producer – Michael Sweet
Photography By – Tina Enos
Photography By [Assistant] – Marilyn Becrelis
Piano, Keyboards – Paul McNamara
Recorded By, Edited By – Kenny Lewis

Companies, etc.
Licensed From – Frontiers Records
Manufactured By – Marquee Inc.
Produced For – Michael Sweet Productions, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Frontiers Records
Copyright (c) – Frontiers Records
Published By – Songs Acquisitions Co. LLC
Published By – Songs MP
Published By – Bug Music
Published By – Sweet Milena Music
Recorded At – Spirit House
Recorded At – Mixed Emotions
Recorded At – Mixed Emotions
Mastered At – Spirit House

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Stryper – Free (12″) – 1987

This was the 12 Inch Single for Stryper’s upcoming Album To Hell with the Devil. It features the Album Single “Free” and the B side had “Calling on You” and “The Rock That Makes Me Roll” which was actually from their previous album “Soldiers Under Command”

Tracklist
1 – Free – 4:00
2 – Calling On You – 3:42
3 – The Rock That Makes Me Roll – 5:03

Gredits
Michael Sweet- Lead vocals, guitar
Robert Sweet- Drums
Oz Fox- Lead guitar, backing vocals
Tim Gaines- Bass, keyboards, piano, backing vocals

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Stryper – Against The Law – 1990

Stryper’s 1990 release was probably my favourite. This is in no small part because of the more commercial sound of the album as I’ve never been a huge Metal fan. This album was very well produced but I bet the Metal fans of Stryper thought it was over produced. The JPM count on this album is much much lower than usual from them. I really think this album could have been a commercial success if it had just come out a few years earlier. Unfortunately at this point in history Rock & Roll was headed to it’s dreaded grunge sound. The album actually has several songs centered on women and I bet there’s an interesting story in Michael Sweet’s life at the time. To me one of the stand out tracks is “Lady” which is an excellent rock ballad that could have easily played on radio just a few years earlier. The strange cut on the album is a cover of Earth Wind & Fire’s Shining Star which actually is pretty good. They did close out the album with a Metal song for their base fans, “Rock the Hell Out of You”

Tracklist
1 – Against The Law – 3:49
2 – Two Time Woman – 3:40
3 – Rock The People – 3:34
4 – Two Bodies (One Mind One Soul) – 5:17
5 – Not That Kind Of Guy – 3:59
6 – Shining Star – 4:22
7 – Ordinary Man – 3:51
8 – Lady – 4:53
9 – Caught In The Middle – 3:48
10 – All For One – 4:31
11 – Rock The Hell Out Of You – 3:35

Credits
A&R [A&R Administration] – Jacqui Randle
A&R [A&R Direction] – John Guarnieri
Art Direction – Patrick Pending
Art Direction, Design – Rudy Tuesday
Backing Vocals [Additional Background Vocals] – Jeff Scott Soto
Bass – Randy Jackson (tracks: B1)
Bass, Backing Vocals [Background Vocals] – Tim Gaines
Drums – Robert Sweet
Engineer [Assistant Engineer (Devonshire)] – Mike Bosley
Engineer [Assistant Engineer (Music Grinder)] – Lawrence Ethan
Engineer [Assistant Engineer (The Record Plant)] – Buzz Morrows
Guitar, Backing Vocals [Background Vocals] – Oz Fox
Keyboards – John Purdell
Keyboards [Additional Keyboards/Tour Keyboards] – Brent Jeffers
Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Guitar, Backing Vocals [Background Vocals] – Michael Sweet
Mixed By, Recorded By – Eddie DeLena
Other [Clothing] – Fleur Thiemeyer
Other [Makeup] – Kyle Tucy Sweet
Photography By [Band Photography] – Neil Zlozower
Photography By [Special Photo Printing] – David Perry
Photography By [Still-Life Photography] – Ed Colver
Producer, Percussion – Tom Werman
Typography [Typesetting] – Jeannine Pinkerton

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Enigma Records
Copyright (c) – Enigma Records
Mixed At – Record Plant, Los Angeles
Recorded At – Music Grinder Studios
Recorded At – Devonshire Studios

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Stryper – Live At The Whiskey – 2014

This album was recorded live at The Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles. It includes all their big hits as you would expect but also includes 3 songs from their 2013 album No More Hell To Pay. This includes a cover of the Doobie Brothers hit, “Jesus is Just Alright” that’s pretty true to the original. All in all a good Live album from Christian Musics biggest Heavy Metal band.

Tracklist
1 – Legacy – 4:38
2 – Marching Into Battle – 4:44
3 – You Know What To Do – 4:40
4 – Loud ‘N’ Clear – 3:42
5 – Reach Out – 5:12
6 – Calling On You – 3:40
7 – Free – 3:46
8 – More Than A Man – 4:40
9 – The Rock That Makes Me Roll – 5:02
10 – No More Hell To Pay – 5:05
11 – Jesus Is Just Alright – 5:08
12 – Always There For You – 4:24
13 – All For One – 4:30
14 – The Way – 3:57
15 – To Hell With The Devil – 5:26
16 – Soldiers Under Command – 7:04

Credits
Art Direction – Giulio Cataldo
Artwork, Layout – Nello Dell’Omo
Band, Bass Guitar, Vocals – Timothy Gaines
Band, Drums [Drums/Visual Timekeeping] – Robert Sweet
Band, Lead Guitar, Vocals – Oz Fox
Band, Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar – Michael Sweet
Edited By [Editing] – Kenny Lewis
Mastered By – Danny Bernini
Mixed By – Danny Bernini
Mixed By [Live Mix] – Jacob Anderson
Photography By – Irene Kelly Gaines, Jeff Serpa, Bob Duda
Producer [Produced By] – Michael Sweet
Recorded By – Patrick Shevelin

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Frontiers Records
Copyright (c) – Frontiers Records
Recorded At – Whisky A Go Go
Edited At – Mixed Emotions
Mixed At – Spirit House
Published By – Sweet Milena Music
Published By – Bug Music
Published By – Songs Acquisitions Co. LLC
Published By – Songs MP
Published By – Universal Music Publishing Group
Recorded – Whisky A Go Go in LA

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Stryper – In God We Trust – 1988

This is Stryper’s 4th studio album and it starts up where the last album “To Hell With The Devil” left off. Actually it was more highly produced than the previous albums including overdubbed four part harmonies that were all the rage at the time. I find myself in a love hate relationship with this album. The album is way over produced/engineered but the songs are better lyrically and music wise than previous albums. The album did get 2 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart including “Always There For You” which hit #71 and “I Believe in You” which hit #88. “Keep The Fire Burning” was also released as a single but did not chart. #71, and #88 may not sound like great numbers but we are talking about a Christian band here remember.

Tracklist
1 – In God We Trust – 3:58
2 – Always There For You – 4:11
3 – Keep The Fire Burning – 3:35
4 – I Believe In You – 3:15
5 – The Writings On The Wall – 4:16
6 – It’s Up 2 U – 3:52
7 – The World Of You And I – 3:46
8 – Come To The Everlife – 4:09
9 – Lonely – 4:10
10 – The Reign – 2:48

Credits
Bass – Brad Cott
Engineer – Carmine Rubino, Dan Nebenzal
Engineer [Assistant] – Bob Vogt, Brian Scheuble, Charlie Brocco, Dave Deavalon, Gary Myersburg, Jeff DeMorris, Mark McKenna, Mike Bosley, Robert Hart (3), Scott Gordon
Keyboards [Additional] – Billy Meyers, John Van Tongren
Mastered By – Bernie Grundman
Mixed By – Carmine Rubino, Dan Nebenzal, Michael Lloyd, Stryper
Mixed By [Assistant] – Jeff DeMorris, Robert Hart
Producer – Michael Lloyd, Stryper
Programmed By [Synclavier] – Steven Croes

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Stryper – To Hell With The Devil – 1986

To Hell with the Devil was the 3rd studio album from Stryper.

It was the first Christian metal album to achieve platinum status, which means sales of one million copies. 3 Videos were produced for the album and they played heavily on MTV.

The highest ranking single was “Honestly” and it peaked at #23 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles Chart.

A piece of trivia, the album went through 2 bass players before a session musician (Brad Cobb) finished doing the album. He however he did not join the band.

Tracklist
1 – Abyss (To Hell With The Devil) – 1:21
2 – To Hell With The Devil – 4:08
3 – Calling On You – 3:59
4 – Free – 3:44
5 – Honestly – 4:10
6 – The Way – 3:37
7 – Sing-Along Song – 4:21
8 – Holding On – 4:16
9 – Rockin’ The World – 3:30
10 – All Of Me – 3:11
11 – More Than A Man – 4:35

Credits
Arranged By – Michael Sweet, Stephan Galfas
Art Direction – Brian Ayuso
Bass – Brad Cobb
Co-producer – Michael Sweet, Oz Fox, Robert Sweet, Stephan Galfas
Concept By [Cover] – Robert Sweet
Design – Brian Ayuso
Engineer – Dan Nebenzal, Stephan Galfas
Keyboards – John Van Tongeren
Mastered By – Eddy Schreyer
Photography By – Anna Maria Di Santo*, Anne Revenge, Neil Zlozower
Written-By – Michael Sweet (tracks: A1 to A5, B1 to B5), Robert Sweet (tracks: A2, A4)

Companies, etc.
Record Company – Enigma Records (3)
Recorded At – Master Control, Burbank
Pressed By – Monarch Record Mfg. Co.
Distributed By – Capitol Records, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – The Enigma Entertainment Corporation
Copyright (c) – The Enigma Entertainment Corporation

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Stryper – Yellow and Black Attack – 1986

Originally released in 1984 as a 6 song EP was “The Yellow and Black Attack”. This is the 1986 blue vinyl re-release which featured 2 bonus tracks. While this was Stryper’s debut album it didn’t sell well until their second release “Soldiers Under Command” achieved gold then fans hunted out this album. It had the typical Stryper sound which of course was strong heavy metal. Like them or not Stryper did fill a gap in Christian music and they did have some crossover success. Point of trivia is that the Japanese version of this album featured another bonus track “Winter Wonderland”.

Tracklist
1 – Loud ‘N’ Clear – 3:28
2 – From Wrong To Right – 3:47
3 – My Love I’ll Always Show – 3:39
4 – You Know What To Do – 4:48
5 – Co’Mon Rock – 3:44
6 – You Won’t Be Lonely – 3:43
7 – Loving You – 4:12
8 – Reason For The Season – 6:31

Credits
Art Direction – Brian Ayuso
Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals – Tim Gaines
Drums – Robert Sweet
Guitar, Backing Vocals – Oz Fox
Illustration [Cover] – Tom Utley
Lead Vocals, Guitar – Michael Sweet
Mastered By – Eddy Schreyer
Mixed By – Jim Faraci
Photography By – Glen La Fermin
Producer – Ron Goudie (tracks: A1 to 2, A4 to B3), Stryper
Programmed By [Synclavier] – Chris Currell

Companies, etc.
Copyright (c) – The Enigma Entertainment Corporation
Distributed By – Capitol Records, Inc.
Mastered At – Capitol Mastering
Mastered At – Sheffield Lab Matrix – ? 13003
Phonographic Copyright (p) – The Enigma Entertainment Corporation
Pressed By – Allied Record Company – B-24020
Pressed By – Allied Record Company – B-24021
Published By – Sweet Family Music
Recorded At – Amigo Studios
Recorded At – Clover Recorders

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