Christian hard rockers STRYPER have completed work on their new studio album, "No More Hell To Pay", due this fall via Frontiers Records. The CD will include STRYPER's cover version of "Jesus Is Just Alright", a gospel song written by Arthur Reid Reynolds. STRYPER guitarist/vocalist Michael Sweet said, "It rivals our cover of EARTH, WIND & FIRE's 'Shining Star' — riffs!"
"Jesus Is Just Alright" was first recorded by Reynolds' own group, THE ART REYNOLDS SINGERS, on their 1966 album, "Tellin' It Like It Is". It was later covered by THE BYRDS and THE DOOBIE BROTHERS.
"No More Hell To Pay" track listing:
02. No More Hell To Pay
03. Saved By Love
04. Jesus Is Just Alright
05. The One
07. Marching Into Battle
08. Te Amo
09. Sticks & Stones
10. Water Into Wine
Regarding the musical direction of STRYPER's new material, Michael Sweet told Screamer Magazine: "The song 'God', which is on 'The Covering'; if you took that song along with 'Bleeding From Inside Out' and 'Blackened' [from 'Second Coming'], and you put it on the same album, that's a pretty good indication of where we are going and where we are at right now. But at the same time this album is all its own."
He added: "Every song has a hooky guitar riff. Everything is in minor keys, so it's a little darker sounding and a little tougher. It's definitely our heaviest record and I think people will be pleasantly surprised.
"The people who do like the poppier side of STRYPER, like 'Calling On You' and 'Holding On', this record isn't going to really give them that. There are a lot of vocal hooks and melodies going on, but it's a little darker, and a little edgier. To reference, there is less songs like 'Calling On You' and more songs like 'To Hell With The Devil'. It's more in that vein than the poppier vein."
Michael Sweet previously stated that the new STRYPER CD would contain "the best [songs] of our career [with] no pop or fluff musically or lyrically." He added: "I'm counting the days for its arrival and when it does arrive, it will be like a train speeding down the tracks — fast, heavy, unstoppable and loud! I get excited for every record, but I've never quite been this excited before. This record will be one for the books, and in my humble opinion, our best yet bar none. No pride here, just confidence that it's going to be great — really, really great."
In a 2012 interview with Guitar World, Michael Sweet stated about STRYPER's plans for the next album: "We're going into this new record with the mentality and thinking of making it like a 'To Hell With The Devil 2'. That's not to say it will actually sound like that album, but we really want it to be as great as 'To Hell With The Devil', which was our biggest album. We want people to put on this record and go; 'Whoa! Wow! This is as good as or better than 'To Hell With The Devil'!' We want the new album to be a powerhouse and we're going to do whatever it takes to make that happen."
Frontiers Records in January announced the signing of STRYPER to a multi-album deal. The first CD to be made available the agreement was a collection of re-recorded versions of the band's classic songs, released in North America on March 26. Entitled "Second Coming" and produced by Michael Sweet, the album contains a total of 16 cuts — two from "The Yellow And Black Attack", six from "Soldiers Under Command", six from "To Hell With The Devil", as well as two new tracks, "Bleeding From Inside Out" and "Blackened".
Photo credit: Tina Enos