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Stryper

Heavy metal has been associated with ol' Beelzebub ever since its inception, but a few acts took the opposite route and put their Christian beliefs in hard rocking songs, such as Stryper. Formed in Orange County, California, in 1983, the group was originally known as Roxx Regime, and consisted of singer/guitarist/main songwriter Michael Sweet, drummer Robert Sweet, lead guitarist Oz Fox, and bassist Timothy Gaines. It wasn't until the group changed its name to Stryper (which stood for "Salvation Through Redemption Yielding Peace, Encouragement, and Righteousness") that things really began taking off for the quartet. Specializing in the melodic Van Halen/Def Leppard style (with heart-wrenching power ballads tossed in), dressed in all black-and-yellow outfits, and spreading their religious message even further by tossing bibles out into the crowd at their shows, Stryper were signed by the Enigma label in 1984. The same year, the group's debut recording, a six-track mini-album titled The Yellow & Black Attack, was issued.

The album created a buzz for the group among metalheads, which was only heightened with the release of the band's first full-length album, 1985's Soldiers Under Command. The first Stryper release to crack the Billboard charts, its success led to the re-release of The Yellow & Black Attack (which included an extra two tracks and new artwork) in 1986. Later the same year, Stryper issued their sophomore full-length, To Hell with the Devil, which many consider to be the group's finest hour. Turning out to be the highest-charting album of their career (barely missing the Top 30), the platinum-certified album benefited by MTV's repeated airings of the videos for "Calling on You" and the syrupy ballad "Honestly" (the latter of which peaked at number 23 on the U.S. singles charts). Despite possessing a different message than their peers, by this point Stryper fit in perfectly with the other popular pop/hair metal bands of the day (Bon Jovi, White Lion, Dokken, etc.).

Yet just as it appeared that Stryper could possibly break through on a massive scale, such new metal styles as thrash (Metallica) and more stripped-down rock (Guns N' Roses) began to usurp Stryper's pop-metal audience. As a result, Stryper's next release, 1988's In God We Trust, failed to expand their following, nor did it live up to promise of its predecessor (although it did manage to earn gold certification). Sensing this, the group adopted a harder-edged sound and look for 1990's Against the Law, and even covered the Earth, Wind & Fire funk classic "Shining Star." Neither managed to cross over to the top of the charts. A greatest-hits set, Can't Stop the Rock, followed in 1991, but with Nirvana just about to ring the death knell for pop-metal bands, Michael Sweet decided to leave the group for a solo career. Surprisingly, the remaining members of Stryper opted to carry on as a three-piece (with Fox handling lead vocal duties), and continued to tour for a spell. The Michael Sweet-less version didn't last long however, as Stryper officially called it quits in 1992.

In the wake of the band's split, its members remained busy. Michael Sweet's solo career never scaled the same heights as Stryper's, although solo releases appeared on a somewhat regular basis, with 1994's Michael Sweet, 1995's Real, and 2001's Truth. Robert Sweet issued a solo recording, Love Trash, in addition to studio work, while Fox and Gaines formed a new group, Sin Dizzy, who issued a rock opera (concerning the crucifixion of Jesus Christ) titled He's Not Dead.

During the intervening years, a large core of devoted fans remained intact, resulting in all of Stryper's albums being reissued by Hollywood Records. In 1999 Sin Dizzy played a show with Michael Sweet, which ended in an off-the-cuff jam session of old Stryper tunes -- resulting in reunion rumors. And with a heightened nostalgic interest regarding '80s-era metal bands during the early 21st century, Stryper agreed to sporadically reunite for a "Stryper Expo," which has since turned into an annual event. Stryper's second greatest-hits collection, 7: The Best of Stryper, was issued in 2003, and included a pair of new tunes recorded especially for the collection, "Something" and "For You." Fueled by a renewed interest in the Christian rock scene, the band returned to the studio for 2005's Reborn and again in 2009 for Murder by Pride, the latter released in celebration of the band's 25th anniversary. In 2011 Stryper released The Covering, featuring covers of songs by bands that inspired them, including a take on Black Sabbath's 1980 hit "Heaven and Hell." ~ Greg Prato, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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Stryper , is motivational . Great band .
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One of the first christian bands...love styper..oz fox and mike sweet great band.
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One great Christian band , u help me get threw trying times, you are great keep spreading Gods word
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Saw them where they started in LaMirada, CA my 8th grade year 1983 at our high school quad. LMHS was their Alma Mater, been a fan ever since
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I happened to stumble onto their music while I was in college around 06-07. I had no idea that they were one of my older brother's favorite bands when he was in high school/colle g e .
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Ear easy.luv ittttt.get summmm
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They ROCK saw them for the first time in 1984 or 85 and they still sound great.
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met micheal sweet once great guy..
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I love this band! I've seen them in concert which was my first one they set such a high standard
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Stryper rocks
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/kk/
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83tyler
Now this is true music
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drevracing
They continue to spread the message
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Bobonnit , you know nothing about metal. You are the one who sounds stupid.
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1 more like an they will have 1,000 likes!!!
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They sound like all the other stupid metal bands of the period
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I've loved this band ever since they came out
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Simply Amazing, found an old cassette of them from my high school days played it, went out to the local Zia records bought all the albums I never had, been to 2 different concerts in 2 states they guys are the REAL deal !Awesome messages, awesome music and even more awesome human beings these guys ROCK!!!! See them live the music is even better.
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defcon888
They started it all for me. Use to go to Bible study with Tim, Oz and Michael....a b s o l u t e l y nice guys. Gave Michael a ride home one time...had me in tears.....hi l l a r i o u s guy!. I think the Covering is one of their best albums.
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great band
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calling on you Christ to save your live everlasting life the way to heaven call to Christ today he waiting on always 777
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in god we trust and his son Christ we must to be saved, he the only way to heaven Christ lives forevermore 777
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drzero174
Never thought I would find a really good rock band with good lyrics; looks like I found what I was looking for.
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Stryper is coming to town tuesday. Should be good times.
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There music saved my life back in the 80s. Thank you Jesus
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anthonywafer 9 2
Stryper put Christian Heavy Metal on the map.
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Makes the day bearable! :D
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Oh yeah!!!
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Sing it!
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Monty...Plea s e remember me!!!! I have a Stryper recruit-my daughter!!! love to you and yours!
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These guys wrote some pretty catchy rock songs. Amazing lead vocals and stellar guitar work.
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All for one and one for all isn't that the way it should be?
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I didn't care for Stryper in the 80's, but I'm listening with new ears now. I've bought their last four albums and have a whole new appreciation for their music. They've gotten better with time. That's no small feat for a band that's been around for 30 yrs.
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I'll have and always will be a big fan, since the 80's till I leave this world. Keep rocking in Gods name Stryper!!!
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ecn35
stryper simply awesome like our GOD!
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saw them in about '85 - still sound as fresh and new as they did to me back then
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al.cruz.rive r a
Yes, my favorite band of all times, grew up listening to them during my high school years, Yellow and Black attack in vinyl.... Imagine that!
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Loving this song God by Stryper...as if they have not amazed me enough.
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I used to be a trash metal fan n I got a tape of Stryper in the 1989 after they opened for scorpions in Anaheim at first I was like am i listening right this guys r talking abt God n salvation they changed me with the words they were singing n since then my fav verse is Isa 53:5 cuz is nothing else than the word that changes people n the music is awesome too
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I'm an atheist who used to be a Christian. I still think Stryper is awesome. They had to be way better than their contemporary bands to get a small fraction of the attention.
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Talk about covering a song. WOW!!!!!!
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I Sean this band about 8 times between Puerto Rico and Florida. They Rock then and still Rocking now. This guys are not only Soldiers under Command but are great musicians. My favorite band Since day 1 God Bless everyone including the Haters!
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mwp1212: I've seen both bands live. Rez Band was pretty good, but Stryper is awesome live!
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mwp1212
I don't know why, but I always thought that Stryper was way inferior to the Resurrection Band. But hearing this tune Blackout makes me rethink that perception.
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By the way, God only ever used sinners. He makes us righteous. It's not our righteousnes s that causes God to come to us... It's his love that brings us to Him.
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Stryper personally brought me from the darkness of metal. Introduced by a friend to them in 1984-85, I was well on my way to becoming a pro-circuit drummer in the metal scene. I latched onto Stryper's music like a lifeline. It was Stryper alone standing in the sea of darkness that helped me to see the light. They were hand-picked for such a time. I will always be grateful to Mike, Bob, Tim and Oz.
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People need to grow up, attacking Styper is just a sign of bitterness and gripe. And about this..." There's no such thing as Christian metal because there's no such thing as Christian porn" is just flat out ignorance!!! Any one who believes that Christian rock is evil that's like saying that a gun is the tool of satan. Check your spirit and stop being ignorant!!
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My favorite band ♥ I saw them last year in concert :)
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Stryper, just like pillar, Toby Mac, skillet and demon hunter claim to be a Christian band. Christian metal is a joke. There is no Christian porn, a Christian bar or a Christian beer, so Christian metal is not really Christian. The band has recorded cover songs from Bon jovi and black sabbath, both of which promote sin and evil. Why would a Christian band do a cover of Bon jovi? Rock, rap, metal, pop and country will always be the devils music. This is my opinion.
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Proof that metal isn't always about signifying evil.
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