Review: Stryper Reborn

Back in the day, there was a band that wore crazy outfits, had screaming guitars and weird 80s metal band surnames like Oz Fox and Matthew Sweet. This band was Stryper and while it isn’t 1985 anymore, in 2005 the bumblebee struck back with a new album with the same old message: Jesus is cool.

As you might know from reading my blog, I’m not the biggest fan of organized religion. That isn’t to say that having spirituality or believing the teachings of Jesus aren’t viable and reassuring to a great many people. I mean if you hate religion you miss out on some great Christmas music.

Religion aside, Stryper’s new album Reborn is a second coming of sorts for the former Yellow and Black attack. They always rocked out hard and some of my favorite songs in High School included Soldiers Under Command and Honestly.

Can a band sound like Metallica and Styx? Lets take a listen.

Open Your Eyes – This sounds contemporary and nostalgic at the same time. It features some of Robert Sweet’s signature drum playing and the driving guitar of Oz Fox would make any rocker proud. A great opening track.

Reborn – If any of the hard rock acts today had the melodic voice of Matthew Sweet, they might sound like this. The riffing here is infectious and sounds current. I like the “If you believe…” mantra over and over again.

When Did I See You Cry – Some interesting harmony work makes this track stand-out. It has some Creed overtones mostly in the riffing, but Scott Stapp can’t hold a candle to Matthew Sweet in the vocal department.

Make You Mine – Another very contemporary sounding track. I can easily see Nickelback doing this song with the only real change would be in the vocals. Nice solo and catchy refrain. I could see this as a single on the radio easily. In fact, why isn’t this on the radio right now?

Passion – A slow song that doesn’t really go anywhere. Some nice soaring vocal work by Matthew Sweet, but the first real filler track.

Live Again – Back to some rocking guitars and signature Sweet vocals. I’m not crazy about the melody on the stanzas since it’s mostly dull melodic screaming, but the bridge/chorus change is interesting.

If I Die – The hookiest chorus on the album. I like the guitar riff the song is built around and the bits of studio trickery with the modulation. The vocals are strong and the harmonies bring a ton to the song.

Wait for You – A great, fun song. The guitar is fun. The “nah nahs” are fun. It reminds me slightly of Wait for Summer by local band, the Red Hot Valentines, but not really. I bet this song is great live.

Rain – A power ballad. It doesn’t do too much for me. Pretty unremarkable with Sweet hitting a falsetto that doesn’t sound good to my ear. Move along.

10,000 Years – This is a heavy metal arrangement of “Amazing Grace” and it rocks. I’m in favor of changing the arrangements on song, if the new arrangement is cool and different. It works here.

IGWT – A reworking of “In God We Trust” from the album of the same name. This version is much faster and bottom heavy. It has one of the tastiest solos on the album and I finally get a real melodic scream from Matthew Sweet. My second favorite track on the album.

The message still has meaning, but the medium is what makes this metal head smile.