stryperStryper – Always There For You (M Sweet) b/w In God We Trust (M Sweet/R Sweet) 1988

Long before P.O.D. peppered the charts with their Christian Rock, the hair metal generation were worshipping at the feet of pretty boys Stryper.

Just what the Almighty (not the band) thought of lurid yellow lycra and planet-savaging aerosols is anyone’s guess but it didn’t seem to do this particular God squad any harm at all. In fact the Orange County band managed to sell millions of records on the back of their sugary sweet messages of love and harmony coupled with a slew of MTV friendly videos.

This giant ballad from the gold album In God We Trust is as cheery as it is cheesy with Michael Sweet in soaring form. Backed with the title track from the band’s fifth album it represents a band at their commercial and creative peak.

The distinctive Stryper logo was always an ace in the band’s pack and the Sweets would never release a record without the Isaiah 53:5 reference somewhere on the sleeve.

If rock is a religion then these US stars took it to the next level and this summer’s Murder By Pride – we’ve already heard a sneak preview – promises to put the Bible bashers back where they belong: preaching from the pulpit of power chords.