In 2020 the world as we know it is upside down. No one can argue that. We are a nation divided over many things, like politics and religion. One thing that has always had the power to unite is music. And while the metal community is rife with infighting, sometimes within the same fan bases, a great album can bring people together, even for a short time. Into the fray comes STRYPER, and their brand new record Even the Devil Believes, out now on Frontiers Music. The band has been on a tear for the past decade and change, ever since 2009’s Murder By Pride, and this new one is no exception. Lead vocalist and guitarist Michael Sweet manned the producer’s chair this time, as he should be going forward. The sound is so crisp and clear.
So, what about the songs? The guys kick the door to this party open immediately with “Blood From Above” before imploring us to “Make Love Great Again.” You can be the judge as to whether or not this is a swipe at a certain Cheeto in the White House. Either way, it rocks balls. “Let Him In” is another balls-out hitter like the opener, and then “Do Unto Others” delivers one of the biggest hooks of the year. Every single time I play it, I’m humming that refrain all day long! “How to Fly” boasts a fierce riff courtesy of Sweet and lead guitarist Oz Fox, while drummer Robert Sweet and bassist Perry Richardson bring the low end and thunder to a powerful tune. The guitar solo on this one is also great!
Now let’s talk about “Divider,” yis? This might just be one of the heaviest songs STRYPER has ever recorded, and that is A-OK with me! The whole band swings the sledgehammer from start to finish. “This I Pray” is not only one of the best songs on this album, but in my eyes it is one of the best songs this band has ever laid to tape. I really hope that when touring can resume in this godforsaken country that the boys decide to play this one live, because it is a gem. “Invitation Only” goes like a rocket ship on its way to space, and that chorus is majestic. You can hear a band having the time of their lives, which resonates with the fans, guaranteed. The dual guitar solos only cement that notion, trust and believe.
The record ends with “Middle Finger Messiah”, another song that kicks ass. STRYPER as a band has always excelled at putting out great stuff, and Even the Devil Believes is no exception. Listen, you can have your beliefs on all things religion, and I get that, I do. But here and now in 2020, Even the Devil Believes is the STRYPER album we not only need, but also the one we deserve. There is a strong vibe of peace and unity. Maybe that’s because the album was recorded during this pandemic. So maybe you check it out, huh? Get your copy now and rock your faces off!!
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM