During a recent interview with Canadian rock journalist Mitch Lafon of the “One On One With Mitch Lafon” podcast (Facebook page), guitarist/vocalist Michael Sweet of Christian hard rockers STRYPER was asked about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the band’s follow-up to 2013’s “No More Hell To Pay” album.
“It’s funny, ‘cause I just went into STRYPER mode a little over a week ago,” Michael responded. “I had no songs. And I just put a tweet out that I finished the songs. I wrote all the songs except for one cover. Oz [Fox, guitar] sent me a few riff ideas. And I put all the songs together in a little over a week. And I think that’s a new record for me. I mean, ‘No More Hell To Pay’ was a few-week process. This was a little over a week, and I’m pretty blown away. I’m still tweaking little things here and there.”
He continued: “The [other] guys [in the band] come out next Thursday, so [in] less than a week, and we go in and start recording on the 1st of February. So it seems like it’s really fast motion right now. But it’s turning out fantastic. It’s definitely a little more in a heavy sense. I’ve got some drop-D songs, a little more chuggy and dark and heavy. The lyrics are powerful and kind of scary, some of them. I think people are gonna hear it and go, ‘Wow! That’s STRYPER?’ You know?”
Asked if there ae still any religious references in the new STRYPER lyrics, Sweet said: “Absolutely. Some of the words themselves are actually taken from the Bible, so that’s still there. The lyrics are definitely on the bold and powerful side. They’re not like the lyrics of old.
“A lot of our lyrics, I read back through the lyrics, and at times I’m a little embarrassed because they were just so repetitive and shallow at times — just real simplistic ‘Rock, rock rock. Jesus, Jesus.’ These lyrics are definitely a lot deeper. I’m pulling from the Bible at times.
“There’s a song about God creating the heavens and the earth. It’s called ‘Let There Be Light’. And it’s about in the beginning, and it’s taken right from Genesis. There’s a song about the Devil; it’s called ‘Fallen’. It just talks about how when the Devil, when he was Lucifer, an archangel in heaven, when he walked, he was the angel of music, and when he walked, there was music. It tells the story in that song of, basically, about how he’s fallen, and why, and how. It’s a real powerful song.”
He continued: “I’ve got a song called ‘Big Screen Lies’ that’s about how the film industry portrays Christians as complete buffoons one million percent of the time. And that’s just not the case. It is sometimes, but those buffoon Christians don’t represent all of us.”
Sweet added: “There’s some cool stuff on here. And musically speaking, it’s heavy. It’s just chugging and… people are gonna dig it.”
STRYPER‘s original lineup comprised of Michael Sweet (vocals/guitars), Robert Sweet (drums), Oz Fox (guitars) and Tim Gaines (bass) released a concert CD/DVD combination called “Live At The Whisky” on September 23, 2014 via Frontiers. The live recording was captured at a sold-out show in November 2013 at the legendary Whisky a Go Go in West Hollywood, California. The 16-track collection documents the band’s first show in support of their latest, critically acclaimed release, “No More Hell To Pay”.
“No More Hell To Pay” sold around 9,600 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 35 on The Billboard 200 chart. The CD was released on November 5, 2013 in North America via Frontiers.