Monday, February 21, 2011

STRYPER: "The Covering"

Rating: 9/10

Label: Big 3 Records 2011

Review by Alan Holloway

My relationship with Stryper goes back some way, to a time when I was enamoured of the Lord and didn’t giggle at their lyrics, instead taking each one as a reason to pump my fist in the air and Praise Him before playing some serious air guitar and saying to Hell with the Devil. About the time they decided to take a few steps back from thumping their bibles, with the excellent “Above The Law” album, I fell off the bandwagon myself. Regardless of this, Stryper will always have a special place in my heart, as some of their music is genuinely brilliant, whether you are a Christian or not, and on this album they’ve decided to let us in on some of their influences.

What you get for your bucks is twelve first class covers, plus a new Stryper track that kicks ass in all the right ways. Let’s get that one out of the way first, as it’s a real throwback to the Stryper of “To Hell With The Devil”, simply called “God”. Take a pinch of “More Than A Man” and another from “Soldiers Under Command” and you have this big, meaty metal track that will delight fans of the band. Full of melody and power, it rocks like a bastard. The rest of the album, however, is something completely different…

First up is a track called “Set Me Free”, which I thought was a Saxon song (from “Crusader”). It turns out that I’m a buffoon, because it is in fact a song by The Sweet, and both Saxon and Stryper have delivered great versions of it, mainly because it’s so good it doesn’t need improving. It’s a little odd that Stryper would cover such songs as “Heaven & Hell” and “Breaking The Law” (as if they would!), but I think it just shows that they don’t buy into all the crap that was spread about certain rock bands being Satanists back in the day. We also get a rollicking version of “The Trooper”, some awesome guitar work on “Carry On My Wayward Son” and the full on keyboard experience on “Highway Star”. Personally, I much prefer Sweet’s vocals to Ozzy’s on “Over The Mountain”, and they really nail Van Halen’s “On Fire”, with Oz Fox obviously enjoying getting his widdling groove on!

Definitely musical heaven without a trace of hell, “The Covering” is an absolute joy from start to finish. There’s no reason for heathens to avoid it (except the last track, but even that rocks more than it preaches), and every reason for fans of the band to just buy it and have a good time. It’s so nice to be able to just listen to them make quality music, showing all their talent to the full, without cringing at the message. No fillers, no ballads, just kick ass rock music all the way.



  1. I love Stryper! I always have and I always will. Michael Sweet is by far my most favorite singer. Oz Fox is my favorite guitarist. Timothy Gaines and Robert Sweet are extraordinary in their own right. I can't wait to see them in San Juan Capistrano, where I live. My dream is to have them sign my guitar. That would be awesome!

    Vincent Junio.


  2. I find it humorous that we have a self-confessed Stryper worshipper, writing a glowing review on The Covering, but not before giving an impassioned introduction where the author gives us a brief history of his "relationship" with Stryper, and yet he cannot even get the name of one of their eponymous albums correct. It is not "Above The Law". It is AGAINST The Law. For Pete's Sake - how can someone claiming to be a fan of Stryper get that wrong?

  3. PS: I think "eponymous" was used rather incorrectly in my comment. Let's just say that "Against The Law" is without a doubt one of the greatest heavy metal albums of all time, and perhaps defines Stryper musically more than any other Stryper CD to date. For a fan of Stryper to not know the name of this album is... well... rather remarkable.

  4. Above the law that is