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  • Writer's pictureJoel Caballero

Stryper

Updated: 4 days ago




Stryper is an American Christian metal band from La Mirada, California. The group's current lineup consists of Michael Sweet (lead vocals, guitar), Oz Fox (guitar), Perry Richardson (bass guitar), and Robert Sweet (drums). The band's name is taken from scripture in Isaiah 53:5: "But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed" (King James Version). The reference is frequently included as part of their logo. Stryper's drummer, Robert Sweet, also created a backronym for their name: "salvation through redemption, yielding peace, encouragement, and righteousness." During their live concerts, the band has been known for throwing Bibles into the audience.


Formed in 1983 as Roxx Regime, the band soon changed their musical message to reflect their Christian beliefs, and the band's name was also changed to Stryper. They went on to become the first overtly Christian heavy metal band to gain acceptance in the mainstream. In 1983, they signed with major label Enigma Records and released their debut album The Yellow and Black Attack.

Stryper was the first Christian hard rock band to perform live at the Dove Awards in 1986. In 1986, Stryper enjoyed their most successful period beginning with the release of To Hell with the Devil, which achieved platinum sales status. Stryper went on to release two more gold albums before disbanding in 1993.


In 2003, Stryper came out of retirement for a reunion tour and subsequently signed a multi-album contract with Big3 Records in 2005. In 2013, they signed a multi-album deal with Frontiers Records and have since released Second Coming, which includes 14 re-recorded songs from their first three albums; No More Hell to Pay in 2013; Fallen in 2015; God Damn Evil in 2018; Even the Devil Believes in 2020; and The Final Battle in 2022.


Stryper has not been free of controversy. Many Christian critics did not approve of the group's association with the heavy metal subculture, which has often been associated with Satanic imagery. Other Christian detractors viewed the band's flashy costumes as incongruous with the modesty in dress often associated with sincere practitioners of devout Christianity. Televangelist Jimmy Swaggart was a particularly prominent critic, likening Stryper's practice of distributing the New Testament at their shows to "casting pearls before swine." Swaggart's condemnation may not have been a surprise, however, as Stryper was supported by the rival Jim Bakker ministries, who are thanked on several Stryper albums. A 1985 CCM Magazine article by Chris Willman, who was also writing for the Los Angeles Times, stated that "Stryper was the target of scattered picketing, boycott threats, and righteous denunciations." For example, concert-goers were often greeted by protesters armed with bullhorns and distribution of Gospel tracts. "It was just like if Ozzy Osbourne was there. They gave us the same treatment," laughs Daryn Hinton.


More information on Stryper at Wikipedia:


Discography


7: The Best of Stryper (2003) (compilation album)

7 Weeks: Live in America, 2003 (2004)

Reborn (2005)

Extended Versions (2006) (live album)

The Roxx Regime Demos (2007) (compilation album)

Murder By Pride (2009)

The Covering (2011) (covers album)

Second Coming (2013)

No More Hell to Pay (2013)

Live at the Whiskey (2014)

Icon (2014) (compilation album)

Fallen (2015)

God Damn Evil (2018)

Even the Devil Believes (2020)

The Final Battle (2022)

To Hell with the Amps (2024) (acoustic album)

When We Were Kings (2024)


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