Stryper: Fallen review

Stryper, more specifically Michael Sweet, has been extremely busy as of late, releasing not one but two Stryper albums in 2013, a solo album in 2014 and his Sweet & Lynch collaboration with George Lynch already in 2015. With Sweet being one of the principle songwriters on each of these albums, you might expect a dud along the way, but not only are the albums very consistent they are some of the best material of his career. The band could have played it safe following their hugely successful return to form album No More Hell To Pay with their newest album Fallen for Frontiers Records by releasing something similar. Instead, opting to live dangerously, by releasing what is by far the heaviest and most melodic thing they’ve ever done. Fallen is their 11th studio album overall and before you go off thinking or worrying they’ve turned into a metal band, you can rest easy knowing that tracks like “Love You Like I Do,” “Till I Get What I Need,” “The Calling” and “King Of Kings” all employ the classic Stryper blueprint of the To Hell With the Devil, In God We Trust & Soldiers Under Command albums that you have come to know and love. It also bears mentioning at this point that not only is Michael Sweet’s voice in the best shape of his life, so are the rest of the band’s voices. Making all those glorious patented vocal harmonies sound better than ever. The scream at the beginning of opening salvo “Yahweh” is instantly recognizable as Stryper. It is a nearly 7 minute opus that slowly transitions into one of the band’s most infectious riffs to date, while cuts such as title track “Fallen,” the aptly titled “Heaven” and “Let There Be Light” continue the band’s evolution of sound demonstrated on the Reborn and Murder By Pride albums. Elsewhere, songs like “Pride” and “Big Screen Lies” are a couple of the band’s heaviest to date and speaking of heavy, their cover of the Black Sabbath classic “After Forever” is the heaviest version since Biohazard crushed it on the Nativity In Black tribute album. By stark contrast, mandatory power ballad “All Over Again” is literally “My Love I’ll Always Show” or “Honestly” all over again and we simply must shine a light on the fact that the solos on Fallen aren’t just off the hook, their off the charts. Here’s the bottom line. 30 years on into their illustrious career and Fallen finds the band at the very top of their game and firing on all cylinders. Rating: 9 out of 10 -Eric Hunker