Stryper – Fallen (Frontiers Records)

Genre: Hard Rock

Possessing faith shouldn’t be a stigma and yet for three decades much of Stryper’s very best music has been overlooked due their status as a ‘Christian Metal’ band.

The label almost seems lazy 30 years after Michael Sweet and co. posed in ridiculous hair metal-styled lycra body suits promoting Soldiers In Command and yet it’s still used as a stick with which to beat the band in 2015.

Perhaps it’s finally time to judge Stryper on their riffs rather than religion and Fallen is the perfect opportunity to do just that.

First and foremost it’s a fantastic hard rock record and the perfect follow-up to 2013’s critically acclaimed No More Hell To Pay. Sweet – on a creative roll right now – expands his vocal range to complement some of the heaviest music this band has ever unleashed.

And the decision to cover Black Sabbath’s classic After Forever is a middle-fingered salute to those who continue to question Stryper’s place in the pantheon of heavy rock. Controversial? Not quite: Sweet suggests the song opens up a debate about Sabbath’s religious beliefs. But that’s for another review.

All Over Again – a countryfied slice of soft rock – will have longstanding fans gushing and leave the critics guffawing. But Stryper’s faith in their own music is the strongest of all and it’s a song as good as anything they’ve written.

RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Fallen Angels