As a child of the 1980s, I vividly remember having to listen to my cassettes of Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue and the like in secret. I knew that if my parents found this “devil music,” they would confiscate the tapes and I’d get a stern talking to in the process.
I also remember when Stryper ushered in an era of Christian hard rock in 1985 with full-length debut “Soldiers Under Command.” Finally, there was a “metal” album that my folks would let me listen to openly. The music wasn’t quite as good as the mainstream bands, but Stryper sure knew their way around a blistering guitar riff.
With frontman Michael Sweet gone to pursue a solo career, Stryper called it quits in 1992. They’ve reunited on occasion since then, even releasing a handful of studio albums over the past decade, but have never recaptured their early appeal. The original Stryper lineup still has their chops and that’s evident in surprisingly enjoyable new CD/DVD set “Live at the Whisky.”
Recorded at the legendary West Hollywood venue Whisky a Go Go last November, the 16-track release is a must for anyone who enjoys old-school hair metal with a positive message. Stryper strut their way through many of their better tunes (“Legacy,” “Marching Into Battle,” “Calling on You,” “Free,” “No More Hell to Pay,” “To Hell With the Devil,” “Soldiers Under Command”) and deliver a high-octane renditions of The Doobie Brothers’ “Jesus Is Just Alright.” Rock on. (Jeffrey Sisk)