Saturday, April 02, 2011


          STRYPER is no stranger to controversy.  Remember they were the ones who recorded TO HELL WITH THE DEVIL back in the day.  On THE COVERING (2011, Big3 Records) they pay tribute to some of the bands who influenced them musically over the years.  Yes, some Christian musicians listen to secular music too!
          There are three songs here that are somewhat controversial.  'Blackout' (Scorpions) contains the line: "What the hell have I lost my taste?" 'On Fire' (Van Halen) includes the following lyric: "Good God y'all I'm on fire." 'Highway Star' (Deep Purple) is about love for one's car and/or girl, and could make some Christians squirm with these words: "I love her/I need her/I seed her/Yeah she turns me on/Alright hold on tight/I'm a highway star."
         At least three of the tracks present life as a journey.  'Heaven and Hell' (Black Sabbath) is over six minutes and is a realistic, somewhat pessimistic look at life: "They say that life's a carousel/Spinning fast, you've got to ride it well/The world is full of kings and queens/Who blind your eyes and steal your dreams/It's heaven and hell, oh well."  'Carry on Wayward Son' (Kansas) is more optimistic: "Carry on my wayward son/For there'll be peace when you are done/Lay your weary head to rest/Now don't you cry no more."  'Immigrant Song' (Led Zeppelin) is about a journey to a new land.
         Tracks nine and ten are story songs.  'The Trooper' (Iron Maiden) is about a fallen soldier: "My body's numb and my throat is dry/And as I lay forgotten and alone/Without a tear I draw my parting groan." 'Breaking the Law' (Judas Priest) is about one who is down and out and desperate: "I've had every promise broken, there's anger in my heart/You don't know what it's like, you don't have a clue/If you did you'd find yourselves doing the same thing too/Breaking the law."  In contrast, 'Shout it out Loud' (Kiss) is a party anthem: "Call all your friends in the neighbourhood/And get the party started (get the party started)."
         The album closes with a STRYPER original, 'God', which paints a picture of how hopeless life is without God.  The chorus goes: "God have mercy on us/For we know not what we do/God, dark and blinded/We are burning/Without You God."  I'm giving THE COVERING a 75% rating.  Those who enjoy STRYPER'S hard rocking sounds and Michael Sweet's signature screams won't be disappointed with this one!