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  • Writer's pictureJoel Caballero

To Hell with the Devil (1986)

Updated: 4 days ago



To Hell with the Devil is the third release and second full-length studio album by the Christian hard rock band Stryper, released on October 24, 1986 by Enigma

Records with distribution by Capitol Records. Band members Michael Sweet, Robert Sweet and Oz Fox produced the album with Stephan Galfas.


To Hell with the Devil was considered a successful album, out selling their previous album Soldiers Under Command. It was the first Christian hard rock/

metal album to go Platinum, selling over a million copies. Stryper gained a lot of exposure, thanks in part with their music videos that were shown on MTV. Two of their videos, "Free" and "Honestly," were both the number one most requested videos on the network's program Dial MTV throughout 1987. The music video for "Calling On You" peaked at number two on the same program. The single for the

power ballad, "Honestly," was the biggest single from the album climbing to number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In 1988, Stryper released a video on VHS called In the Beginning featuring the band behind-the-scenes, interview and concert footage and the three music videos from the album including the never-before released video montage for "All of Me."


CCM Magazine ranked To Hell with the Devil at number 81 in their 2001 book, The 100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music. The title song was ranked at number 70 on the magazine's 2006 book The 100 Greatest Songs in Christian Music. It is the only Christian metal album and song to make both lists. For a time, Stryper were a part of "mainstream metal" royalty, getting airplay with the likes of Poison, Mötley Crüe, KISS, Bon Jovi and many other hair metal acts. The original album cover featured artwork of four long haired angels (closely resembling the band members) throwing the devil into a fiery pit. The cover was then changed on later pressings to a basic black cover with the Stryper logo and the album title in the center.


According to Michael Sweet's autobiography, as the band started to record the album, Michael felt Tim Gaines wasn't the right bassist for the record. He was replaced by bassist Matt Hurich, who eventually ended up not working out. So session bassist Brad Cobb took Gaines' place while recording the album. However, before the tour began, Sweet asked Gaines to rejoin as he felt it wasn't right performing as "Stryper" without him.


In 2010, HM Magazine listed To Hell with the Devil at number 3 on its Top 100 Christian Rock Albums of All Time list stating that "when this album broke, it went multi-platinum, forever raising the ceiling of what heavy Christian music could do." Heaven's Metal fanzine ranked it number 6 on its Top 100 Christian metal albums of all-time list.


To Hell with the Devil peaked at number 3 on the Top Christian Albums and number 32 on the Billboard 200 Albums charts in the spring of 1987. That same year, the band picked up their first Dove Award nomination for New Artist of the Year (originally titled the Horizon Award). And in 1988, they earned their first, and only, Grammy nomination for Best Gospel Performance by a Duo or Group for their album. To Hell with the Devil was reissued in 1991 by Hollywood Records.


Track listing

All songs were written by Michael Sweet, except where noted.


1. Abyss (To Hell with the Devil) -1:21

2. To Hell with the Devil (Michael Sweet, Robert Sweet) -4:05

3. Calling On You -3:58

4. Free (Michael Sweet, Robert Sweet) -3:42

5. Honestly -4:08

6. The Way (Oz Fox) -3:36

7. Sing-Along Song -4:20

8. Rockin' the World -3:29

9. Holding On -3:10

10. All of Me -3:10

11. More Than a Man -4:35


Gold certified in 1987.

Platinum certified in 1988.


Personnel


Stryper:

Michael Sweet -lead and backing vocals, lead and acoustic guitars,

arrangements

Robert Sweet -drums

Oz Fox -backing vocals, guitars


Tim Gaines who plays bass guitar only appeared on tour and on their

music videos for the album


additional musicians:

John Van Tongeren -keyboards

Brad Cobb -bass guitar


Radio singles

1986 -1987 "All of Me" -#9 Christian CHR

1987 "Honestly" -#13 Christian CHR, #23 Billboard Hot 100


Watch the music video of "Calling On You" here:

Watch the music video of "Free" here:

Watch the music video of "Honestly" here:

Watch In the Beginning here:


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