Stryper Goes Death Metal?

{Post Edited 2/13/18}

In 1988, Stryper decided to follow-up their highest selling album To Hell With the Devil with the very polished album In God We Trust (IGWT). The album was closer to pop and more radio friendly. The result was a mixed reception by fans and critics.  

Fast forward to 2018. Following the album No More Hell Pay  (2013) and Fallen (2015), Stryper  goes even harder in their new album “God Damn Evil.”

https://www.frontiers.shop/new-releases/684/stryper-god-damn-evil-ltd-gatefold-black-vinyl-180-gram
Image of Album From Frontier Records Website

Many may question the title and the direction of this album.  “We thought long and hard about this title,” says Michael in response to thousands of fan comments. “It was actually considered quite a few years ago and it just didn’t feel like the right time. Now, with all the evil in the world that we see around us on a daily basis, it made perfect sense. It’s a very bold statement yet a prayer asking God to damn/condemn evil. Nothing more, nothing less.” (Stryper.com)

In a post, Michael Sweet released the lyrics to “God Damn Evil” to prove his point:

We power up the empty screen
And let the games begin
Far beyond it’s poisoning
Is a special kind of sin

We open locks 
And break the chains
To let the devil in
We’re losing all of what remains
In a war we’ll never win 
A war that never ends

(Chorus)
God Damn Evil
God Damn it all
God save The People
But God Damn The Walls

Self control is all but gone
The weak time after time
Take the bait and break the bond
But never pay the crime

The only saving grace is love
And we know where that lies
It’s what we feel unworthy of
So we don’t claim the prize
We never claim the prize…..

(Chorus)
God Damn Evil
God Damn it all
God save The People 
But God Damn The Walls

For some, the lyric “To Hell With the Devil” is ok, but they have trouble with “God Damn” because the phrase is often considered taking the Lord’s name in vain. Others argue two they mean the same thing, both are asking God to send something or someone to hell.  One is just more politically correct Christian.

While the lyric is definitely a hook with a message, I wonder if people also miss the other part of the chorus, where there is also a plea for “God save the People”? Initially when I scanned the song lyrics, I missed that plea.

When the album cover was released, people reacted positively and negatively. The album cover is similar in style to the last two Stryper albums. The artwork appears to to portray God coming down from heaven and striking down evil in the word. My initial reaction was a negative on the God image, He looks a lot like Zeus in my opinion. However, how do you draw a representation of God?

Recently, Frontier Records released the “Take It To Cross [Official Visualizer Video],” their first single of the album. While there are the traditional elements of Stryper are there, the chorus is not in classic the classic Stryper format. Instead you hear a growling chant, “TAKE IT TO THE CROSS.”

Take It To The Cross is our answer to many fans asking us to do something a little heavier and even bordering on thrash, says Michael. The verses are heavy with a vocal and lyric delivery that’s bold and relevant yet the chorus kicks in with a fast, thrashy vibe. We brought in Matt Blanchard (Act Of Defiance / Shadows Fall) to handle the vocal growl on the choruses and the end vamp. This song is 100% high octane.” (Stryper.com)

Some may wonder how much does Michael sing on this song. According to Oz Fox posts on Facebook, “… Michael sings in the first and third lines of the phrase {the chorus–Bring It To The Cross} with a crazy vibratto on the end of the latter…With the exception of the last course of the song. Michael sings every line on that one.” (Oz Fox via Facebook)

While Stryper gambled on a more polished sound in 1988 and met with limited success, will this gamble on harder sounding album 30 years later be more successful? Will the message confronting of evil be lost in the new sound?  Will the album’s title put off Christian fans?

Currently the album is selling very well on Amazon (#1 on Amazon’s Rock Chart). Fans are responding positively and negatively to the album’s title, the cover art, and the song “Take It to The Cross.” My recommendation is look at the entire package before you judge.

 

 

 

When Calvin and Hobbes Go Star Wars

Image from BoardPanda.com

Brian Kesinger, who has worked as a visual artist for Walt Disney, created a series of mashups combining Calvin and Hobbes with the latest Star Wars Trilogy.  Above is one of his creations. From more, visit https://www.boredpanda.com/calvin-hobbes-star-wars-drawings-brian-kesinger/?utm_content=inf_10_2558_2&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=link&utm_campaign=socialedge&tse_id=INF_4acb6540dabc11e7b926579f881108d6

Becoming Better Communicators.

via SIZZLE

In a galaxy not far away, and in a time not so long ago, my generation: we thongs on our feet; we listened to records and cassettes; we used typewriters to create reports. Today, people wear thongs as underwear, listen to digitally recorded music, and create reports on word-processing software.

It is not uncommon for one generation to change the meaning of words as a way to separate themselves from the previous generation. And, let’s face it technology is changing at an incredible pace.

So what is the result? We create ample opportunities for miscommunication. This is why it is so important that we take the time to see things from the other’s perspective. We need to ask ourselves do the words I am using have the same meaning to them as they do to me? If there is a potential for misunderstanding, it is our responsibility to clarify what we mean by the words we choose. By being conscious of what we are saying, and how it is being interpreted, we become better communicators.