Stryper - "Live At The Whiskey" (2-CD Set)
"Live At The Whiskey" track listing:
2. Marching Into Battle
3. You Know What To Do
4. Loud and Clear
5. Reach Out
6. Calling On You
8. More Than A Man
9. The Rock That Makes Me Roll
10. No More Hell To Pay
11. Jesus Is Just Alright
12. Always There For You
13. All For One
14. The Way
15. To Hell With The Devil
16. Soldiers Under Command
Reviewed by Diamond Oz on January 30, 2015
Stryper is certainly one of those bands whose reputation precedes it. To some heavy metal fans, Stryper has always been a bit of a joke, being perhaps the first band to bring Christian faith to the genre, which some feel is out of place. To others, the band was a welcome face in the metal scene, which brought a sound for the believing metal head to find a place where they wouldn't be ostracized. Whatever your view on Stryper is, it's the live setting where bands tend to win over doubters, so the band's new live album, "Live At the Whisky," is a good idea both for fans and for people who perhaps should give the group more of a chance. Has Stryper silenced a doubting Thomas or two with this release? Perhaps so.
First of all, the record doesn't really have the best sound a live album could display, but it's far from awful and doesn't affect the listening experience too much. It's an album where the music comes first, before production and perhaps even above the fan interaction, as there isn't much of this throughout. It's perhaps the best decision, because the music is actually very good. There's a much harder edge to Stryper than most people think and the first few songs really showcase this side. "Legacy," a song from latest album, "No More Hell To Pay," is a great opener with plenty of energy, which carries on into the next song, "Marching Into Battle," another cut from the album with plenty of excellent guitar work on show.
The latest album's title track is another stand out song in the set, suggesting perhaps that "No More Hell To Pay" would be a good album for even people who giggle at the band to listen to, because the songs representing the effort on display here really show how talented Stryper is. There's plenty of older material performed of course, with "Loud and Clear" being a particular highlight, featuring excellent bass guitar work, whilst the title track of first album, "Soldiers Under Command" is a fantastic closer.
Not all of it will please newcomers and neutrals however. There are moments when Stryper shows why it is the butt of so many jokes, no more so than the song, "Jesus Is Just Alright," which is basically a hard rock version of Sonseed's, "Jesus Is a Friend of Mine," and quite bluntly, borders on comedy. There's also a good chunk of old songs which really haven't aged well such as "Free" and "Calling On You," while "Always There For You," which was hit or miss even in its heyday, sounds especially stale, though the crowd seems to enjoy it.
With sixteen songs on the album, it's probably too long for newcomers to handle, at least in one sitting. As previously stated, there is some excellent stuff on here however and it's definitely worth a go for those of little faith, but really, this is an album for the fans. There's a solid mix of old and new tracks, performed delicately and with passion. Regardless of what some people think, Stryper definitely deserves respect for sticking to its guns for so long, providing a different voice in the scene and continuing to give the fans what they want.
Highs: The new material is excellent, particularly "Legacy" and "Marching Into Battle."
Lows: "Jesus Is Just Alright" and "Calling On You" are particularly weak.
Bottom line: A good live album with something to win over new listeners and please longtime fans, though it's not without flaws.
Get more info including news, reviews, interviews, links, etc. on our Stryper band page.