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.