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Reviews

STRYPER - SOLDIERS UNDER COMMAND - HOLLYWOOD RECORDS  
Soldiers Under Command was Stryper’s second album and still is their most well-known musical output. For those who are not familiar with the band: They used yellow and black stripes for their clothing (thus the band name), so they also called themselves The Yellow And Black Attack. Produced by Michael Wagener, who is famous for his work with Accept, Dokken, Skid Row, Bonfire and many others, the album’s sound is excellent. The opener and title song features almost progressive breaks and leads and is surprisingly heavy. The German band Powergod had a hard time covering it for their album Bleed For The Godz (sic!) with covers of classic metal songs. Makes Me Wanna Sing is a very simple rock song, though. Together Forever has a touch of Kiss and a smooth chorus. First Love is an over-the-top ballad both lyrically and musically. Is it overly dramatic or just sentimental? The vocals are great either way. The Rock That Makes Me Roll refers to Jesus, of course, but the guitar work here is reminiscent of early Dokken and satisfies the hard rock crowd. Reach Out sounds too much like Makes Me Wanna Sing, but Waiting For A Love That’s Real is one of the best songs on the album. A melodic intro and nice leads set up a great AOR tune in the vein of Night Ranger. Together As One has a piano lead-in and is sung like the last song of a musical. Surrender is a heavier track, but it lacks a good chorus. Battle Hymn Of The Republic closes the CD with the first verse and chorus of that same battle hymn. U.S. citizens should all be familiar with this tune from the civil war since it is one of the most patriotic songs ever written and serves as the unofficial anthem of the Republican Party. Glory, glory, hallelujah - the band certainly has the Christian aspects of the song in mind, but the lyrics were written for a war. The album as a whole is difficult to judge. Without a doubt Stryper were among the best white metal bands of their time, and the technical qualities of the musicians were all there. When measured as a regular hard rock release, it is only above average. Fans of Christian metal call it a classic within the sub-genre. - Andreas Herzog

STRYPER - LIVE IN INDONESIA AT THE JAVA ROCKIN'LAND (DVD) - MVD  
One must assume that the cheering crowd at the Java Rockin'land festival were mostly comprised of the 9% Indonesians who are Christians otherwise it is rather ironic to see Stryper welcomed in a country with not only the biggest Muslim population on earth, but also one with Sharia law enacted in some form or another. Perhaps the quartet took time off from missionary service? All that aside this is the quartet being the hard rock band that they are, nothing spectacular but bearing many of the hallmarks of nostalgia attached to '80s hard rock. Recorded in October 2010, just over an hour long and featuring fourteen songs, Live In Indonesia includes the earliest Stryper songs like Loud 'N' Clear, Soldiers Under Command, Reach Out and others like Abyss (To Hell With The Devil), Calling On You and Free. Nineties Stryper is represented with All For One and 00's with the likes of Open Your Eyes. The sound and video quality are good, the stage and the crowd big. Surprisingly a good section of the crowd seem rather familiar with all the songs, having said that however, Michaal Sweet's attempts at involving and engaging the audience does not seem to be that much of a success. No bonus material to speak of here, none. - Anna Tergel




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