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Stryper - 'Fallen' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/2c/c4/d8/stryper-fallen-39-1449519248.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 07, 2015    
 
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The usual top-notch production, a striking cover and an energy that belies they're men of a certain age.

It's interesting that decades after their perceived heyday, many musicians are becoming more productive than ever before, but with touring taking up less time, it leaves more room for projects and solo albums alongside a few months spent recording and touring with their main band.

One of these is George Lynch, another being his Sweet & Lynch collaborator Michael Sweet; singer, guitarist, song-writer and producer with Christian Rockers Stryper. Unusually in this scene, the band still have their best-known line-up of Michael Sweet, his drumming brother Robert Sweet, bassist Tim Gaines and guitarist Oz Fox.

Counting their covers album and last year's live CD/DVD, this'll be the sixth Stryper release in as many years. Like 'No More Hell To Pay' before it, 'Fallen' sees them again reverting to the earlier, heavier style of 'The Yellow And Black Attack' and 'Soldiers Under Command', but also adding darker elements that make it even less commercial than before.

Opening with an Operatic choir, the six minute 'Yahweh' (the old Hebrew name for God) has both mid-paced and quite frenetic heavy riffs, and while it fulfils the purpose of an energetic start, the choir vocals are a bit more towards Symphonic Metal than we're used to and I have no idea how they'll pull it off live.

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In contrast, the title track has an organic, gritty seventies vibe and a big chorus, although again the chorus is far faster than the verse, whilst tracks like 'Big Screen Lies' and ''Till I Get What I Need' are basic Rockers with all the vocal and guitar harmonies that Stryper are known for, along with killer guitar solos from Michael Sweet and Fox, and Michael Sweet's high screams.

What's most noticeable about this album is the lack of "radio friendly" tunes, with just the tuneful power ballad 'All Over Again' and maybe 'Heaven' harking back to the "hits", but the upbeat 'The Calling', 'Love You Like I Do' and the retro-riffs of 'King Of Kings' will be manna from heaven for long-term fans.

Probably the biggest surprise here is a cover of Black Sabbath's 'After Forever'. The 'Masters Of Reality' album track is played faithfully to the original and the lyrics fit in perfectly with the Stryper message, but despite titles like 'Let There Be Light' and '... Calling', 'Fallen' is heavy enough and Rocks hard and fast enough to compete with any other Hard Rock/Metal band out there at the moment.

With the usual top-notch production, a striking cover and an energy that belies they're men of a certain age, any fans they lose by dropping the lighter side of the band should be more than made up for by a new generation of Metal followers.

Phil Ashcroft

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