Label: Frontiers 2012
Review by Alan Holloway
Now this is an odd one. Stryper needed to retain control over some of their songs, and the way to do this is to re-record them. You don’t have to release those recordings, but they have done so anyway. So on one hand, this is a compilation of some of the best songs from Stryper’s first three albums, albums that still stand up today in terms of songwriting. On the other hand, is it worth buying when you already have the original versions? Tricky one…
Of course, it’s all sweetened by two excellent new tracks “Bleeding From The Inside Out” and “Blackened”. Both are proper rock monsters, riff heavy and full of power, fitting in very well with the older tracks. As for the old tracks themselves, it’s no surprise that they all sound great, although it’s not all perfect. “Calling On You”, for example, sounds worse than the original because of added guitar, and throughout there are instances of Michael Sweet not daring to reach some of the more glass shattering notes, although he has still got an excellent voice. If you grew up with these songs, as I did, you will notice every extra drum beat or slight pitch change, and it can be a little jarring at times. It’s been said that the new production makes a big difference, and whilst it does beef up the bass it’s not really that big a deal.
Stryper should have a new album out later this year, and to be honest this should have been a bonus disc and not a standalone release, much like Journey did when Arnel Pineda recorded some of the old classics. So whilst the two new tracks are certainly worth owning, and all the other tracks are superb, unless you are an avid fan or get it cheap this isn’t an essential purchase in any way.