Album Review :
Stryper - Murder By Pride

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Band: Stryper
Title: Murder By Pride
Label: Big3
Release Date: 7/21/2009
Reviewer: JoshIVM

Tracklisting:

  1. Eclipse Of The Son
  2. 4 Leaf Clover
  3. Peace Of Mind
  4. Alive
  5. The Plan
  6. Murder By Pride
  7. Mercy Over Blame
  8. I Believe
  9. Run In You
  10. Love Is Why
  11. Everything
  12. My Love (I’ll Always Show)

Let me give you some background to my history with Stryper. Growing up I didn’t know anything about the poster boys of Christian metal. Upon entering¬† my teen years I expanded my musical tastes and started listening to albums from Tooth & Nail and others. During that time anything old was lame and everything 80’s was horrible (which was probably due to influence of friends). My uncle, a big Stryper fan growing up in the 80’s, then began to show me many 80’s metal bands on our fishing trips and I began to develop an ear for it. This is when I began to get into Stryper. I made a cassette of my favorite songs on the CDs he had. After graduating high school I had wanted to attend Cornerstone Festival in Illinois but had no one to go with. My uncle agreed to take me since it was their 10 year reunion since breaking up in ’91. That festival and show was an amazing experience! Then, imagine my excitement when hearing the band were reuniting for a new album called Reborn! I was excited to see what they’d bring but was ultimately let down by that album. The band had completely changed and was no longer something I desired to listen to. So, when I heard about Murder By Pride I really didn’t get my hopes up because I expected more of the same. Thankfully my expectations were wrong!

The album opener, “Eclipse of the Son” shows a return to form, with an upbeat rock song. I was glad to hear the harmonization and a good guitar solo once again! Then almost 3 minutes in, the classic Michael Sweet scream showed up! Perhaps the band learned their lesson with Reborn and listened to their fans as they said they were going to.¬† “4 Leaf Clover”, “The Plan”, and “Everything” also provide more rockin’ tracks that older fans will be able to jam to.

Of course, Stryper, well known for their former ballads, had to include a ballad and they actually provided a few of them with mellower tracks like “Alive” and “I Believe” (which by the way has an awesome guitar solo). “Alive” shows off some piano work and I really enjoyed Michael’s voice on this one, especially the chorus. “My Love (I’ll Always Show”) is probably the heaviest track on the disc with Michael and Oz’s harmonizing guitar work debuting early into the song and continuing throughout. They did an excellent job reworking this once mild ballad to a hard rock anthem, without losing its catchy appeal.¬† The band also covers Boston’s classic track “Peace Of Mind”. They do an amazing job with it and it’s as good, if not better, than the original!

Overall: I have to say that Murder By Pride is not going to be my favorite Stryper album (Against The Law will always hold that position) but it’s a solid effort. This album is one that grows on you the more you listen and I found it hard not to sing along to the choruses. Their ability to create tracks that left everyone singing along was a talent they had possessed with older albums and have brought back with this release. Most Stryper fans should end up very pleased with it! The band have returned to their roots in many ways while still maintaining a modernized sound in order to not sound dated and alienate new fans. Michael’s impressive vocals and screams, the harmonizing guitars, and the solos are all back. The once beloved Stryper are back and I, for one, am glad to hear it!

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