Before we dive into this, I’d like to make something clear. I’m a total glam-head, and I’m a huge fan of Stryper. I like everything that they’ve ever done to some degree. That is, until 2018. Their previous album Fallen was one of the best they’d ever put out. Instead of giving an almost power metal like, killer follow up to it, we were given this train wreck known as God Damn Evil. When it was being talked about, I was very excited to give this disc a spin. The word “disappointed” isn’t a good enough word to describe how I felt about this.
To get the little bit of good out of the way, Michael Sweet’s voice is still clear, concise, and he can still carry a tune and hit the high notes very well despite getting up there in age. Secondly, there’s some clear strength in playing that the band possesses, even though the writing is anything but strong. Unfortunately, this camel isn’t enough to carry the negative weight that drags this deep into the sand. Not one track stands out on in any positive, attention-grabbing way. The songs themselves are boring, even after a couple listens (which was tough to do).
On the other hand, there are some negative attention grabbers; they lie in the very beginning of the album. Record opener “Take It To The Cross” is comprised of riffs that are borderline ripped from Black Sabbath, and tied together by a horrid vocal delivery in the chorus that is legitimately laughable. The next track “Sorry” has some of the most awful lyrics ever written by the band, and as a Christian I’ll still admit that even their classics have hokey lyrics. But I’ll be damned, if it doesn’t get far worse. The title track captures almost everything that poorly written glam songs did into one track, which I don’t think I need to elaborate on. So yeah, there’s quite a few glaring flaws here.
What God Damn Evil boils down to is one main thing: trying too hard. It tries too hard to be vicious by dropping the guitars but delivering them horribly. It tries to be harsher by using edgier singing tactics and sped up screams. It tries too hard to throwback to their old sound, but filtered out the good parts. What it doesn’t try to do is implement the power metal driven formula that’s packed with riffs for days that we got with Fallen. I love Stryper, and I love what they’ve done, but this album really let me down. God Damn Evil was released on April 20th, 2018 on Frontiers.
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