“No More Hell To Pay”
2013 release from Frontiers Records.
Michael Sweet – Vocals, lead and rhythm guitars. Oz Fox – Lead and rhythm guitars, backing vocals. Robert Sweet – Drums. Tim Gaines – Bass, backing vocals.
Artist location: USA.
5 out of 5 stars rating.
Reviewed by David.
- No More Hell To Pay.
- Saved By Love.
- Jesus Is Just Alright.
- The One.
- Marching Into Battle.
- Te Amo.
- Sticks & Stones.
- Water Into Wine.
- First Love (Orchestral version, Japanese Import).
Stryper is back, and back with a vengeance. I have always been a fan of the band but wow do they deliver on this record. Finally going back to their roots with pure melodic rock heavily influenced by their classic sound from the 80’s, the band gives us 12 tracks (13 on the import) that just flat out rock. This is, in my opinion, the strongest record Sweet and company have given us yet.
No More Hell To Pay is full of everything that made us love Stryper in the 80’s, big riffs from the guitar of the fantastic Oz Fox, huge vocals and catchy hooks. Michael Sweet’s voice has held up extremely well and he sounds absolutely incredible still.
There are really no bad tracks on this one, no filler to be found. Even though they released an album of covers just a couple of years prior in 2011’s The Covering, they still give us the standard cover that we are used to seeing on their releases. On this one it is The Doobie Brothers’ Jesus Is Just Alright. I have never been a huge fan of the song or the many covers it has spawned, but Stryper does it right and turns it into a hard rocking track with an outstanding guitar solo.
The production is top notch, exactly as you would expect it to be coming from world renowned label Frontiers Records with Sweet himself behind the production and writing of all of the original songs save the title track which his brother, Robert, helped with on the lyrics and it happens to be one of the best songs the band has ever done, in my opinion. A hard rocking number with an outstanding chorus. The high notes fit in perfectly but perhaps sound a bit too polished. Not that I am doubting Michael’s ability to still hit these notes, but what I have seen of them live he never attempts to hit the notes. Granted, he’s is not 20 years old anymore and in the studio you can have twenty takes to get it right while live you only get the one chance. Check out the link at the top of the page to the music video and decide for yourself. Regardless, it is an awesome track and is certainly one of the many high moments on the record.
A truly outstanding record that stands head and shoulders above most anything being released these days. The entire band is phenomenal, as always, and sound as good as ever on the album. Robert and Tim are excellent musicians and they are great here. One of my favorite guitarists, and one that I feel is terribly underrated, Oz Fox, sounds amazing here, as he always does. The man does not get the credit he deserves.
If you are a Stryper fan and especially if you have missed their classic sound on their past few albums then check this one out. It is a fantastic return to form for the band and is sure to make you a fan all over again or for the first time.
‘No More Hell To Pay’.
‘Sticks & Stones’.
‘Water Into Wine’.