Stryper, originally formed in 1983 with the name Roxx Regime, was the first Christian heavy metal band to be accepted in the mainstream and now has its latest album out, titled No More Hell to Pay.
The band’s name comes from the King James version of Isaiah 53:5: “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.”
Robert Sweet, the group’s drummer, also created a backronym for the name to reflect their Christian beliefs: “Salvation Through Redemption, Yielding Peace, Encouragement and Righteousness.” No More Hell to Pay is the band’s 11th album and, according to some fans, the group’s best work yet.
No More Hell to Pay is decidedly different from some of the band’s more recent albums, such as Murder by Pride and Reborn, which were stylistically more like alternative rock. No More Hell to Pay takes fans back to the band’s original roots and is truly in the style of heavy metal. The edgy sound, driving drum beats, powerful vocals and hardcore guitar solos make this album a must-have for metal lovers.
What sets Stryper apart from other heavy metal bands is the group’s commitment to creating quality music. No More Hell to Pay was not a rushed album, quickly manufactured using canned sounds, mediocre guitar and drum riffs and vocals that are screamed instead of sung. Drummer Robert Sweet has his own distinct style, and he’s not content with the usual constant backbeats usually performed by drummers.
Heavy work on the cymbals and high-hats and brain-rattling riffs on the toms will have you head-banging in no time. And, as if Michael Sweet’s guitar solos weren’t incredible enough already, adding harmony just adds to the band’s distinct and edgy sound. Throw in powerful vocals that add to the harmony without distorting it with screaming, and you have the total package for a high-quality heavy metal sound. This is what puts Stryper and No More Hell to Pay a cut above just about any other metal music out there.
The song lyrics are inspiring for any Christian. The title song, for example, is about following Jesus no matter what befalls us, and includes such poetry as:
If the sun has fallen from the sky
and the stars that shine begin to hide
When the night has stolen every day
I’ll follow You till there’s no more hell to pay!
This one song neatly sums up what it really means to be a follower of Jesus.
The song “Revelation,” on the other hand, is quite a bit darker and fittingly in a minor key. Based on the Book of Revelation, it is a warning about the wrath of God to come:
There’s a revelation
It’s coming down for you
It’s gonna bring the truth.
The song “Marching into Battle” is similar, and makes references such as the Heavens opening and releasing a white horse.
The songs “Te Amo,” “Saved by Love, Jesus Is Just Alright” and “The One” are unabashed love songs about Jesus’ love and mercy. “Saved by Love” puts it beautifully:
We’ve been adrift, upon the oceans
Trying to sift through our emotions
There’s no land in sight as we sail through the night
Looking for something to see – suddenly
We’re saved by love.
There are 12 songs on this album, and each and every one of them challenges us to become better Christians. From trust in Jesus and love for others and from being humble to practicing forgiveness, Stryper hits home every time.
If you love Christian music and are a fan of heavy metal, definitely give No More Hell to Pay a chance. You won’t be disappointed.