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    Tuesday, October 25, 2016

    Stryper - To hell with the Devil (1986)

    Published on October 25th, 2016 | by Anthony Martinez
    Style: Heavy Metal, Glam Metal
    Release date: October 24, 1986
    Format: Vinyl, Casette | CD
    Tracks: 11
    Label: Enigma Records
    Rating: 90%

    01. Abyss
    02. To Hell With The Devil
    03. Calling on you
    04. Free
    05. Honestly
    06. The Way
    07. Sing-Along Song
    08. Holding one
    09. Rockin' The World
    10. All Of Me
    11. More Than A Man


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    Who would say? 30 years since Stryper released their most successful album "To Hell With the Devil", a classic of Heavy Metal, Christian or secular, this album is a classic in any field.

    You could bet that after the success they had with "Soldiers Under Command" in 1985, they did not imagined that the next album would be even more successful, reaching consolidate Stryper as the most important band of Christian metal, and one of the most important of Glam Metal.

    "To Hell With the Devil" it is perhaps the most important album in the history of Christian metal. The success of Stryper with this album, had not been reached by any other band of Christian rock or metal  in the past. It became platinum after selling over 1 million copies, and their music videos were at the same time in the Top 10 of MTV, "Honestly" it became the most requested item. Also were published two singles, "Calling on you" and "Honestly"
    Image belongs to Janice Sweet

    I always thought that "To Hell With the Devil" is the antagonistic of Mötley Crüe's album "Shout at the Devil", the lyrics of these albums are totally opposite, and the way they are ordered the songs is somewhat similar. "Abyss" is a obscure introduction, much like "In the Beginning", and both have almost the same length. After the introduction, starts playing the song title "To Hell With the Devil", the same happens in "Shout at the Devil". In both discs, the track 5 is a ballad, though Honestly is a power ballad on piano, "God Bless The Children Of The Beast" is a rather dark theme.

    But leaving aside those little similarities with "Shout at the Devil", i believe that  "To Hell With the Devil" is an album that combines heavy songs with beautiful ballads, here it was demonstrated once again that Michael Sweet was one of the best composers of "Power Ballads' in the 80s.

    The song "To Hell with the Devil", is one of the best songs of heavy metal that I have heard, a masterpiece of heavy metal, perhaps a song such great like "The Number of the Beast" by Iron Maiden or maybe I am exaggerating, but no one can deny the greatness of this song. In the introduction, you hear only the drums, while Michael is singing, catches us from the start, and a final with a shout wrenching of  Michael.

    "Calling on You" is a song "pop metal" (What is the origin of that term?), Quite catchy, with a chorus that reminds us a little to Queen. This is one of the best songs of Stryper to my taste, the introduction, the chorus, and the way it ends is so great. And that  say of the video?, is not it great?

    "Free", one of the most beloved songs of the fans of Stryper, and combines very well with the previous song "Calling on you", the proof is that in most of the concerts, "Free" always is playing after of "Calling on you". The guitar solo that sounds at the beginning and end of the song, is quite epic, a fairly classic riff.

    "Honestly" there are a million things I can say about this song. The first time I heard this song, it was like love at first sight, really could not believe what I was hearing, and it came to be my favorite song of all times, Honestly has a special place in my heart (I'm so romantic). This is considered by many as the best song of Stryper in the 80s, and one of the best "power ballads" in piano, not for nothing was at number 1 in the Top 10 of MTV. Again I will mention to Mötley Crüe, because for me, "Honestly" is the antagonistic ballad  of "Home Sweet Home". There are three different videos of "Honestly", two of them very similar.

    "The Way" a fairly heavy metal song, catchy, and epic, I always liked the equalization on Michael's voice, the manner they combined their voices in the chorus is so great. The end of the song is really amazing, a wrenching scream of Michael while Oz Fox accompanies with a good riff. By the way, "The Way" was written by Oz Fox.

    "Sing A-Long Song", could be a hymn, especially for its lyrical, and the way they carried out the chorus: 
    Lift your voices higher, We wanna hear you sing, Let's lift our voices, to the King of Kings (Whoa-o-o-o whoa ooo la, la)
    though I always thought that the chorus sounded very weak.

    "Holding On", another one of those "pop-metal" songs (Again, What is the origin of that term?) For me, is a song underrated on this album, quite melodic, with a beautiful harmony from start to finish, very similar to "Calling On you ", though not as" heavy "LOL

    "Rocking the World", although the lyrics is not the best I've seen of Stryper. I always thought that this song sounds better live than in the studio, and in fact, often I press the button to skip to the next this song.

    "All of Me", is a beautiful ballad composed entirely of keyboards, creating a beautiful feeling, you may want to be in love, by just listen this song, the letter shows us once again the romantic side of Michael with Kyle Rae Sweet (R.I.P.), who was his wife at the time.

    The album ends with one of the heaviest songs on the album, "More than a Man." The intensity of the guitars and drums is great, in the middle of the song, the speed is reduced so that later Michael made one of his best screams, then the song picks up speed once again and Oz Fox makes one of his best riffs in this album.

    It is worth saying that since the release of this album, is an obligation for the boys, play six or seven songs of this album at any concert.

    According to Michael Sweet's autobiography, as the band started to record the album, Michael felt Tim Gaines wasn't the right bassist for the record. He was replaced by bassist Matt Hurich (The boy in the picture), who eventually ended up not working out. So session bassist Brad Cobb took Gaines' place while recording the album. However, before the tour began, Sweet asked Gaines to rejoin as he felt it wasn't right performing as "stryper" without him.
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    Item Reviewed: Stryper - To hell with the Devil (1986) Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Martinez
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