STRYPER will release its new album, "God Damn Evil", on April 20 via Frontiers Music Srl. Produced by frontman Michael Sweet, it is STRYPER's most powerful album to date, doubling down on the hard rock/heavy metal sound that earned the group a worldwide fan base.
In the video below, which was filmed during the recording of "God Damn Evil", founding members Michael Sweet, Oz Fox and Robert Sweet reflect on their remarkable history, their continued inspiration and faith, and what the future holds. With former FIREHOUSE bassist Perry Richardson now in their lineup and their most daring record to date less than two months from release, the guys discuss their drive to give their very best to the fans and why they're excited for a new chapter in STRYPER history.
Regarding the "God Damn Evil" album title, Michael Sweet said: "We thought long and hard about this title. It was actually considered quite a few years ago and it just didn't feel like the right time. Now, with all the evil in the world that we see around us on a daily basis, it made perfect sense. It's a very bold statement yet a prayer asking God to damn/condemn evil. Nothing more, nothing less."
The follow-up to 2015's "Fallen" marks STRYPER's first effort since the addition of Richardson. Perry joined the band as the replacement for STRYPER's longtime bassist Tim Gaines, who was fired from the group last year.
Perry did not play bass on STRYPER's new album due to scheduling constraints. The bass tracks on "God Damn Evil" were laid down by John O'Boyle, who played bass on Sweet's last two solo albums.
"We all see and hear the darkness that surrounds us in our society, but with faith and love, we'll always have hope," said Michael. "That's what STRYPER is all about — powerful music and a message that builds foundations, not walls. We couldn't be more excited about 'God Damn Evil' as it showcases our undying love for what we do and why we do it."
"God Damn Evil" track listing:
01. Take It To The Cross
04. God Damn Evil
05. You Don't Even Know Me
06. The Valley
07. Sea Of Thieves
09. Can't Live Without Your Love
10. Own Up
11. The Devil Doesn't Live Here
The visualizer video for the song "Take It To The Cross" can be seen below.
"'Take It To The Cross' is our answer to many fans asking us to do something a little heavier and even bordering on thrash," said Michael. "The verses are heavy with a vocal and lyric delivery that's bold and relevant yet the chorus kicks in with a fast, thrashy vibe. We brought in Matt Blanchard (ACT OF DEFIANCE, SHADOWS FALL) to handle the vocal growl on the choruses and the end vamp. This song is 100 percent high octane."
Sweet previously said about "God Damn Evil": "I can tell you this: if you kind of take the best of a handful of STRYPER albums and you kind of roll it up into a big, old fat burrito, that's what you're gonna get with this album. On a couple of songs, you're gonna hear qualities of 'Against The Law', you're gonna hear qualities of 'Fallen', you're gonna hear qualities of 'No More Hell To Pay' — and even 'To Hell With The Devil' and 'Soldiers [Under Command]'. You're gonna get the best of all those worlds in one world.
"We have already said this in private, I don't know if we've said it publicly, and people always kind of sneer when they hear bands say this, and I say it for every album —whatever — I really believe it for every album, 'cause I'm one of those guys that strives to improve and get better. But this is STRYPER's best album," he said. "And when it comes out and people hear it, in terms of the songs, the performances, the quality, the audio, the sonic quality, the flow, the feel, the energy, people, I think, will agree — most people. There are always those people that live in denial and just say, 'There's nothing as good as 'To Hell With The Devil',' and that's because they're kind of stuck in the '80s. And that's fine — it's totally fine. I love the '80s too. I'm stuck in the '80s in some ways as well, and that's great — there's some great music that came from the '80s. But, at the same time, I really believe, and I think a lot of our fans — I'll go as far as to say maybe even most of our fans believe that we're doing some of the best music and making some of the best albums that we ever have in our career."
STRYPER will return to the road this year, kicking off the "God Damn Evil" world tour in Milan, Italy on April 28 at the Frontiers Rock Festival.