25 years ago (1984) in Orange County, California, Stryper broke on to the scene with their debut EP Yellow and Black Attack and have since gone on to sell 8 million records worldwide and tour the world spreading an inspirational message through their branded sound of rock songs, heavy guitars, and pristine harmony vocals.
Their name stands for Salvation Through Redemption Yielding Peace, Encouragement and Righteousness. The Isaiah 53:5 under their logo is the bible verse that states "by His stripes we are healed". The band earned their stripes on the Los Angeles metal club circuit.
Their first full-length release, Soldiers Under Command (1985), sold over half a million units worldwide in the eighties, and stayed on Billboard's Top 200 album chart for over forty weeks.
In addition to the hard-rocking tunes that Stryper's core audience has come to expect, the ballad "Honestly" from their platinum selling 1986 release To Hell With The Devil hit the Top-40 charts. The video for "Honestly" rapidly became the number one most-requested video on M-TV. Their success reached new heights with a massive world tour and more than two million records sold.
1988 saw the near-platinum release of In God We Trust (IGWT), as well as renewed success on M-TV, which was bombarded by thousands of phone requests for "Always There For You".
"Against The Law" emerged in 1990, marking a return to a more aggressive style. When Enigma went broke in 1990 they signed to Hollywood records and made a best of album, "Can`t stop the rock" was released. The record contained two new songs ("Believe" and "Can`t stop the rock") and such classics as "To hell with the devil" and "Soldiers Under command".
The band released Against The Law which shipped gold in the fall of 1990. In 1991, Enigma Records went bankrupt, and Stryper was left without a record company. This was short-lived, as they were quickly picked up by Hollywood Records. In the summer of 1991 they released Can't Stop The Rock, a "best of" album with two new tracks.
In January of 1992, Michael Sweet left the Stryper to pursue a solo career. Although officially Robert Sweet, Oz Fox and Tim Gaines continued as a three piece for another year, there were no further studio recordings as Stryper once Mike left.
In 2002, ten years after their breakup, Stryper headed into Michael Sweet's studio to cut two new songs, "Something" and "For You", for their second greatest hits compilation, 7-The Best Of Stryper, which was released on March 25th of 2003 by Hollywood Records. That fall, they embarked on a 35 city tour that both fans and critics agreed was one of the hottest tours of 2003. As a result, the prayers of Stryper fans everywhere were answered in May of 2004 with the new live CD recording titled 7 Weeks: Live In America. Unfortunately, this would be the last time that the original band would play together.
Today the legendary quartet is back and burning hotter than ever with intensified levels of zeal, resolve and innovation. With three original bandmates (lead vocalist Michael Sweet, drummer Robert Sweet and guitarist Oz Fox) and newcomer Tracy Ferrie on bass, Stryper now releases its first all-new studio effort since 1990's Against the Law project.
Reborn, Stryper's ninth career disc and premier release on Big3 Records, features a cavalcade of high-voltage arrangements that showcase the band's richly melodic vocals, deft instrumentation and powerful themes. In addition, the disc proficiently melds the group's standard intensely tuneful style with edgy hard rock influences. The net effect: An 11-track set demanding reverence, repeated spins and a volume level that is cranked full-on.
Beyond the core theme of renewal, Reborn embraces subjects like forgiveness ("If I Die"), God's patience ("Wait for You") and true enlightenment ("Open Your Eyes"). One hard-driving song in particular, "When Did I See You Cry," conveys the reality that God can move in anyone's life, whether homeless, addicted to drugs or simply wandering. "The power of God is alive, but we often miss it," Sweet asserts. "We see opportunities to share the gospel, but we are so caught up in other things of life that we get sidetracked."
Fittingly, Stryper should be in for a deluge of renewed exposure and acclaim. But Michael Sweet would just as soon turn the spotlight on someone else. "The one theme that is woven into every song on our new album is this: Look to Jesus," he says adamantly. "Some people may get tired of hearing this, but we feel God has called us to share the message of Christ's love, mercy and grace. He's always there no matter what, and that's what we will proclaim until we die."
To catch the latest sounds of Stryper, check out Murder by Pride (2009).