‘God Damn Evil’
2018 release from Frontiers Records srl.
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Michael Sweet – Vocals, guitar. Oz Fox – Guitar, backing vocals. Perry Richardson – Bass, backing vocals. Robert Sweet – Drums, backing vocals. Charles Foley – Backing vocals. John O’Boyle – Bass. Paul Mcnamara – Keyboards, synthesizer, backing vocals on track 4. Danny Bernini – Percussion. Matthew Bachand – Death growl vocals on track 1. Tyler Murello – Backing vocals on track 4.
- Take It To The Cross.
- God Damn Evil.
- You Don’t Even Know Me.
- The Valley.
- Sea Of Thieves.
- Can’t Live Without Your Love.
- Own Up.
- The Devil Doesn’t Live Here.
One of the premier Christian hard rock bands of all time returned this year with their twelfth studio album, continuing their streak of releasing some of the strongest material of their career.
The band, who gained notoriety in the mid 1980’s with albums like ‘Soldiers Under Command’, has never been one to shy away from controversy in their music starting as far back as their head turning album title and song ‘To Hell With The Devil’, so it should come as no surprise that 32 years after that album released the band continues to do such things with what has got to be raising eyebrows and dropping jaws among their Christian fan base far more so than that 1986 hit did.
Now for those who were not raised in a Christian household like I was as a child, you may not realize just how taboo such a title would be among that fan base. To most, seeing a title like ‘To Hell With The Devil’ would cause no reaction whatsoever, but back when the song released hearing such a thing in the “Christian” world was almost unheard of and, not unlike Bride’s song ‘Hell No’, you just did not say or listen to such things! So it is no surprise that a Christian band having the words God Damn in their album title would be cause for some shock among the Christian community.
Now some in that community can get past that and actually hear what the band is talking about in the song while others will keep their noses pointed straight to the sky and snort in derision at these backslidden “sinners” for daring to utter such filth!
But I say, for those in the Christian fan base that may balk at this album title, let me assure you that it is not as it may seem. Just give it a try.
And for those of you just wanting some kick ass rock n’ roll who don’t give two shakes about the title, give it a try also!
I don’t believe either will be disappointed!
Now that I got that out of the way let’s get on with the actual review of the music contained here.
I liked the Stryper of the 80’s. I liked some from the Stryper of the 90’s. But I love the Stryper of today. Since 2013 and the absolutely stunning ‘No More Hell To Pay’ both Stryper and frontman Michael Sweet have time and time again delivered some of the strongest material of their entire career, and at an astonishing rate at that!
Since 2013 the band has released four studio albums and one live album while Sweet has released two solo studio albums, a live DVD and two albums under the Sweet & Lynch moniker with the one and only George Lynch (ex-Dokken, Lynch Mob). For those not counting, that is a total of eight studio albums, one live album and a live DVD that Sweet has released in a mere 6 years! For most artist that would be an oversaturation but somehow Michael and company have managed to keep delivering the goods time and time again.
Well come around to 2018 and ‘God Damn Evil’ and you will find that Stryper have once again proven that they have what it takes to stay relevant in today’s music scene and still write some damn fine songs.
‘Take It to The Cross’ is an interesting song. The verses sound just like what you expect from Stryper….and then the chorus hits. I will admit that the first several times I heard this song I wondered just what the hell the guys were thinking doing it. It is not like their usual style and it is definitely not my style. Oddly though I began to kind of like it after a while. Now I won’t say I love the song at this point or that it is one of their best songs because, for me, that is just not true. But I will say that it does grow on you if it is not one that you liked right away, so give it a shot.
‘Sorry’ is absolutely fabulous. This is the Stryper of ‘No More Hell To Pay’ and ‘Fallen’ all the way. By far the best song of the record in my opinion. You can see the music video for it by clicking on the link near the top of the page under the Media heading.
‘Lost’ is another excellent song and a phenomenal vocal delivery from Sweet. There is no reason a man his age should still be hitting these notes but somehow his voice keeps going and he is sounding as incredible now as he did back in the 80’s.
Now onto the title track. I highly doubt anyone reading this has not heard this album yet considering it has been out for some time (I am very late in reviewing it) and how big of a band Stryper is, but in case there is anyone reading it and in case you are someone who cares about the title and what it may mean, let me put your fears aside and say this is not saying god damn like a curse word. When you hear the song and the lyrics you will understand that it is written as a plea for God to damn the evil in this world. To set the world free from all of the evil that is taking over and turning our world inside out day in and day out. Just watch the news….well, pretty much anytime ever, and you will understand what the guys were writing and pleading with God about here. As for the song itself, it is by far one of the best songs on the record. A very catchy rocker.
‘You Don’t Even Know Me’, ‘The Valley’ and ‘Sea Of Thieves’ all fall in line with what we have been getting from the band since 2013 while ‘Beautiful’ is a great, more mid-tempoed rocker as is ‘Can’t Live Without Your Love’.
‘Own Up’ cranks things back up for us before taking us to the final track in the hard and heavy, fast paced ‘The Devil Doesn’t Live Here’.
If you’ve heard ‘No More Hell To Pay’ and/or ‘Fallen’ then, with the exception of the new direction of ‘Take It To The Cross’, then you know what to expect with this album, and when the output is as solid as these guys have been delivering then that is not a bad thing at all!
If you have enjoyed Stryper’s output in the last few years then you will like this one. I am not sure where this creative streak is coming from but something has happened with Sweet and in the Stryper camp and they have been unstoppable of late consistently giving us amazing music.
Rating: 93 out of 100.
‘God Damn Evil’.
Reviewed by David.