Stryper - Reborn
Big 3 Records
Modern Rock/Metal
11 songs (40:01)
Release year: 2005
Reviewed by Jeff

If you weren't a Stryper fan before this release then chances are you probably never will be.

Stryper was a popular hair metal outfit during the mid to late 1980's. They are best known for their yellow and black spandex outfits and hair metal anthems that praised The Lord Jesus Christ. They released five studio albums and had a fair amount of video airplay on MTV. Their music was accepted by a large audience who were in favor of the many sappy power ballads that hair metal bands had to offer at the time. Stryper broke up in the early 90's. They reunited for a small tour of the United States back in 2003. It was the first time in almost twelve years as a band that they had done this. As a result of the tour, the band decided to release their first official live album, "7 Weeks: Live In America 2003". The reunion went a step further with the recording of "Reborn", their first studio album in almost fifteen years!

"Reborn" shows Stryper venturing into a territory that other hair metal bands from the 80's [Motley Crue "Generation Swine", Warrant "Ultraphobic", Dokken "Shadowlife", TNT "Firefly and Alive", KISS "Carnival of Souls", etc.] charted after they tried to make their comebacks during the "grunge" era in the early to mid 90's.

The title "Reborn" is an appropriate one for this release. Original members Michael Sweet (guitar/vocals), Robert Sweet (drums), Oz Fox (lead guitar) are joined by new bassist Tracy Ferrie. The Jesus theme, (which was done away with on their last studio album "Against The Law"), is once again touched upon in the lyrics on songs such as "Passion" and "10,000 Years". Musically, Stryper have taken the alternative, modern rock/metal road. The lead vocals are still as strong as they were back when Stryper first entered the hair metal scene. However, there aren't any multi layered choir vocals reminiscent of the first four Stryper albums. Michael Sweet pretty much does all the vocals, both lead and backing. There's still plenty of catchy melody lines. The rhythm section is somewhat questionable. The guitar parts, which were once classic metal riffs and patterns, have been simplified by thicker, buzzing power chords. The guitars and vocals seem to have come down an octave or two. Their are a few if any fancy guitar solos. As for the bass, it's buried in the mix. The drum patterns are also very boring, sounding synthetic and processed. The tempos of the songs are slow to mid paced on many of the tracks. The structure and style of the songs can be compared to that of Creed, who do a much better job with this type of music. Overall, this album sounds more like a solo effort by Michael Sweet. The styles that made Stryper great, (flashy lead guitar solos and riffing, straight ahead power drumming, a pre dominant bottom end bass sound, excellent back up vocals), are all the necessary elements missing from this release.

They also have re-recorded the title track from their 1988 release "In God We Trust", just renaming it "I.G.W.T." It's actually a bit grittier and darker than the original. And what would a Stryper album be without a few power ballads like "Passion" and "Rain".

Over all I was hoping for something a bit more metal sounding like "Soldiers Under Command" or "To Hell With The Devil". But what can you expect? It's really hard to predict what most bands are going to do after such a long hiatus. Music is an evolution of sorts, always changing and when enough time has passed some bands just want to take that opportunity to go in a direction that best suits them at the present time. "Reborn" is still a listenable album and there are some catchy tracks. This album might win over some new fans but it's somewhat of a disappointment for me. Maybe my expectations were a bit too high.



Killing Songs :
Open Your Eyes, Reborn, When Did I See You Cry, Make You Mine, Live Again, I.G.W.T.
Jeff quoted 66 / 100
Other albums by Stryper that we have reviewed:
Stryper - No More Hell To Pay reviewed by Andy and quoted 90 / 100
Stryper - Second Coming reviewed by Andy and quoted no quote
Stryper - Soldiers Under Command reviewed by Jeff and quoted 80 / 100
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