No More Hell To Pay

Front man Michael Sweet (@michaelhsweet) for the 80’s Rock Band Stryper (@stryper) has called the band’s latest release, No More Hell to Pay , the album they should have made after the hit album To Hell With the Devil.  Sweet goes on to explain how In God We Trust was over-thought resulting in an over-produced album that was too polished.

I would have to agree with Michael in that IGWT was definitely a very produced album. Back in my college days when I would play the CD in my dorm room, many people thought I was listening to Styx instead of Stryper. The harder rock sound was gone. But I digress…

Should No More Hell To Pay have been the album to follow the highly successful To Hell With the Devil? Perhaps. That is a debate for other more qualified than me.

However, could Stryper have created NMHTP without IGWT and the lesser known controversial album Against the Law without the lesson learned from them? Could Stryper created such an album without the addition years of life experiences? Again, I digress…but I do believe Stryper needed these experiences to be able to craft the sound and play to they level they do on No More Hell to Pay.

First thing when you notice when star listening to NMHTP is the production quality. There is a wonderful balance between Michael Sweet  (lead vocals and lead guitar), Oz Fox (vocals and lead guitar) (@SirOzFox), Tim Gaines (vocals and bass guitar) (@StryperBassMan), and Robert Sweet (drums) @RobertLSweet), in the mix. No one is overpowered, and the sound is nicely layered similar to the more recent release  of Second Coming ( a rerecording of previous hits).

The vocals sound more natural and organic than in previous albums. While there are the noticeable effects added to enhance the album’s sound,  they are not overused.   Michael ditches the falsetto heard in THWTD and  IGWT and at the same time avoids the constant angry gravel of Against the Law. Instead, he uses the falsetto only to give us those famous 80’s screams, and the gravel occasionally to communicate a point. (I purposely dropped the adjective angry.) Both adding to the album and not detracting. However, the tight harmonies that give the “Stryper Sound” are still present.

Unlike Reborn which was released in 2005, NMHTP recaptures more of Stryper’s 80’s album (Soldiers Under Command and Yellow and Black Attack) sound but not  so far as to sound nostalgic. Producer and song writer, Micheal Sweet, realizes the listener wants new Stryper material, not a rehash of the old.

The second thing you will notice listening to the album is the harder sound. Both Tim Gaine’s bass and Robert Sweet’s drum pound bound a beat under the dueling guitars of Oz Fox and Micheal Sweet. For those tired of the modern pop music and are not comfortable with the modern rock sound, the energy is just about perfect.

Lyrically, the album is done in typical Stryper fashion. Songs like Revelation and No More Hell to Pay lay the Christian message at the feet of the listener but don’t come across as preachy or in your face. So despite the album being clearly from a Christian perspective, the non-Christian listener should enjoy the album’s music. At the same time, those of us who are closet Christian metal heads, can break out the air guitar once more.

(Author’s note. While I don’t normally write album reviews, I felt that this album qualifies as a geek worthy. The reason being a lot of us geeks (in the 80’s nerds) liked rock music but felt it didn’t quite fit us because we didn’t really fit the bad party boy image. Stryper’s music, however, did fit a lot of us. Like us, they were picked on for who they were and they struggled to achieve an identity as a rock band in the 80’s. The rock scene didn’t always see how good they were because of their Christian message, and some Christian’s didn’t accept them because of their association with “the Devil’s music.”)





Web of Trust

Another web application I like it W.O.T. (aka Web of Trust) –

This web application is installed as an add on to your web browser. What is does it helps you evaluate the trustworthiness of a site or url. This is indicated by a circle located by an URL link for example in Facebook or a Google search, and in the upper right hand corner of your web browser.image of a google  The circle will be either a gray (no ranking), red (poor ranking), yellow (caution ranking), and green (high ranking). Naturally, you want to stay away from any site with a red circle, and you should feel relatively safe with any site with a green circle.

As you can see, the right hand image shows this website with a yellow ranking. How did this site get a yellow ranking? The way the ranking works, is that visitors who have a WOT account can rank a site in the following areas: Trustworthiness,  Vendor Reliability, Privacy, and Child Protection.

Currently I show yellow in the first three categories. Users who visited the older version of this website had negative experiences because of a WordPress add on called Buddy Press. I failed to keep that portion of the website adequately updated and my site was hacked and misused. Hence I earned that rating through my mistakes.

So why am I putting up on a post on a product that actually steers people away from my website? No, it is not to get WOT to raise my score. It is because the application did what it was suppose to do. Based on my poor rating, it told people my website was suspect, reducing the number of people who could have been harmed by those who hacked my site.

For those of you who are asking is my site safe now, it is as safe as I can make it. I erased everything from the old version of the website and did not re-install buddypress because of my failure to properly maintain the program, not because anything the makers of the add-on did or didn’t do. I also have do not collect information on any visitor to the site.  I have never shared information from this site with anyone. 

…as far as my WOT score turning green, that is up to you. As WOT says to website owners, trust is earned. I hope I earn your trust….