Monday, December 3, 2012

Melodic rock CD of the week: Stryper

By Stephen Kasenda

STRYPER “Murder By Pride” (2009)

I can say that "Murder By Pride" is truly a homage to the fans. Michael Sweet opened up his ears after harsh critics railed on them for the comeback album, "Reborn", for being too modern and quite far from their origins. "Murder By Pride", without leaving the idealism and passion for evolving, ambitiously recreates the classic atmosphere that was told by Sweet as an album with lots of melodies, lots of screams, and lots of guitars. Michael Sweet was responsible for the whole songwriting process and kudos to him for keeping the fire burning.

"Eclipse Of The Son" decently opens the album, a safe uptempo track where I can hear a mix of Stryper's classic vibe with some newer elements. A pretty solid song, but "4 Leaf Clover" is the real mood pumper. This track is heavy and modern but still allows your ears to easily recognize the Stryper's pattern from the rhythm. Up next is Boston's classic, "Peace of Mind", a fun cover track with Tom Scholz contributing some guitars - I like this song. "Alive" is a great power ballad, the title track has a powerful punchy chorus and already became a concert regular, and "I Believe" is a good contemporary track (and probably you'll agree when I say Michael Sweet listened to a lot of Creed when he wrote this song). "Love Is Why" is another sparkling gem and "My Love (I'll Always Show)" is such a beautiful mid-tempo track, closing the album with style. Out of twelve songs, perhaps only "Mercy Over Blame" and "Everything" are decent fillers.

While I don't think "Reborn" is disastrously ugly, "Murder By Pride" is a real contender to be a strong release like "To Hell With The Devil" and "In God With Trust", two that earned the band fame and fortune. Like I said earlier, this is tribute to the long-time fans and I would say their hunger should be fulfilled. I'm just hoping that this isn't their peak yet and Sweet and the gang will continue to deliver ultra high-quality releases in the future. Highly recommended!

Read more of Stephen’s features at MetalMusicArchives.

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