Personnel: Tim Gaines, Michael Sweet, Oz Fox (vocals); Paul McNamara (keyboards, synthesizer); Robert Sweet (drums).
Audio Mixers: Danny Bernini; Michael Sweet.
Recording information: SpiritHouse Studios, Northampton, MA.
Editor: Kenny Lewis.
Photographer: Alex Solca.
The eighth studio long player from the stalwart Christian hard rockers, Fallen finds Stryper offering up a fiery set of 12 faith-based rockers that skillfully blur the lines between groove-laden power metal and melody-driven classic rock. A surprisingly agile and meaty piece of work, especially for a group with three decades behind them, Fallen opens strong with the soaring "Yahweh," a hook-filled praise anthem that's bolstered by a framework that suggests Piece of Mind-era Iron Maiden via Jesus Christ Superstar. The rousing title track follows suit, pairing NWOBHM sonic austerity with a chorus that invokes the heyday of the sunset strip, minus the seediness of course. Elsewhere, mid-album cuts "Love You Like I Do" and "All Over Again," the former a nod to the melodic pop-metal of "Calling on You" and the latter a straight-up power ballad, should please Stryper fans craving a vintage yellow and black attack. Also, a faithful rendering of Black Sabbath's Geezer Butler-penned "After Forever," a track that's notable for its ardent Catholic themes, and the anthemic closer "King of Kings," impress with their technical acumen. Outside of a brief flirtation with secular metal in the early '90s, Stryper have always remained true to their convictions, both musically and narratively, and Fallen is no exception, with the band delivering a strong set of originals (and one choice cover) that do little to tarnish their reputation as one of Christian metal's leading lights. ~ James Christopher Monger