Archive for Stryper

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Briar- Take On the World

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2021 by 80smetalman

Sometimes it’s a case of being in the right place at the right time when it comes about discovering a new band. I’m sure that was the case with some bands with many of you. In this particular instance, my discovery of British metal band, Briar, came when I saw them support legends Stryper at the Hammersmith Odeon in May of 1987. Stryper were absolutely phenomenal that night and I was sure that my one friend Dave was going to convert right there and then. Furthermore, another friend, Tim, was hit by a flying bible but someone else grabbed it before he realised what happened. Oh yes, I’m posting about Briar. Actually, I don’t remember anything spectacular about them and the song I remember most, “One Foot Back in the Door,” appears on their next album. However, there was something about the band or I wouldn’t have remembered them after all these years.

Their 1987 album, “Take on the World,” opens with the title track and what you get sets the tone for the rest of the album. It’s a straightforward metal tune with some decent guitar and vocal work. It’s a good track to lead off the album but the next track, “Closing In,” is better. The intro is straight to the point but very catchy. It’s a song to bob your head along to while you are driving or sitting down and listening to. However, it does tail off a little in the middle and there could be a little more oomph to the chorus but the guitar solo makes those issues very minor.

“Odd One Out” is a faster paced song which keeps going right to the chorus and that’s my minor complaint about it. The chorus sounds a little lazy but again, this is more me nitpicking because the rest of the song, guitar solo included is very good. The chorus issue goes away on the next track, “Everybody,” in spite of the fact that the lyrics are one of those ‘I’ve heard this before’ type. It’s sung with more passion and there are some good heavy guitar riffs and a cool solo trade off between guitarists Dave Fletcher and Darren Underwood. The two D’s carry that on to the next track, “Always Gonna Love You” with a great lead guitar intro. This is the fastest song on the album, though it’s not near Exodus speed but it’s a good headbanger nonetheless. Especially with another guitar solo trade off.

With expectation building as the album goes on, one might think “Lorraine” would be an extra super track. It’s not bad, there is some good strong riffs on it but it’s more of a plateau than an ascension in metal build up. I don’t know if a single was ever released from the album but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was this track. I think my problem with the track is that there is no guitar solo and I think the inclusion of such would have given it the boost it needed.

Now, as you know, I am a sucker for a great power ballad and “Without You” had the potential to be such. Unfortunately, the track is let down from what I feel is lousy production. The guitar work is very good and maybe it’s time to comment on Kevin Griffiths vocals because while he sounds good on the rest of the album, his vocals are the only thing not adversely effected by the production on this track. Fortunately, all is well because Briar go out on a total high with the closer, “Keep On Running.” It has that 80s, ‘let’s make them think it’s recorded live’ effect on it but in this case, that only makes it sound that much better! There is definitely some oomph to this track and it’s my favourite on the album right down to the fantastic guitar solo. Oh yes, message to Blackie Lawless, Kevin Griffiths plays bass as well as sings lead and proves you can do both effectively.

Track Listing:

  1. Take On the World
  2. Closing In
  3. Odd One Out
  4. Everybody
  5. Always Gonna Love You
  6. Lorraine
  7. Without You
  8. Keep On Running
Briar

Kevin Griffiths- lead vocals, bass

Dave Fletcher- guitar, backing vocals

Darren Underwood- guitar, backing vocals

Dean Cook- drums, backing vocals

Briar came and went unnoticed by most of the metal world but not by me. I urge you to take a second and have a listen to the “Take On the World” album, I can assure you it won’t be time wasted.

Next post: I am taking a bit of a hiatus for the next two weeks or so. Next week, I have a 72 hour shift at work, (I get paid to sleep in) and then I will visit my daughter. Next Sunday, I am going to do something which one would have thought I would have done growing up in America. Unfortunately, it was always one of those things I was meaning to do but never got around to it. I will be going with my two sons to London to watch an NFL game. When I get back from that, Mrs 80smetalman and I are going away for a couple of days. When I do return, I will be taking a leaf out of 2loud’s book and writing my own Cover vs. Original post. Stay safe until then.

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Styrper- The Yellow and Black Attack

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2017 by 80smetalman

On one occasion in 1984, I resisted the temptation of the devil. Sometime in late August, TCN Hot Rock premiered a Christian heavy metal band on its radio programme. The deejay stated that the band they were playing called themselves ‘headbangers for the Lord’ and that very much intrigued me. So, on that particular Sunday morning, personal history was made as this was my introduction to the now very famous Christian heavy metal band Stryper.

I can’t remember which one of the six songs from their debut EP, “The Yellow and Black Attack” was played on that morning but what I do remember was that I very much liked what I heard. To me, Stryper could hold their own with their secular counter parts in every way. This album has everything a metalhead could ask for. Some crunching power riffs that come through straight away on the opening track and continue all the way to the end. All the vocals on the album were truly amazing and I had a lot of praise for the singer, I didn’t know his name at the time. Of course there was a tight rhythm section but in most cases for me, especially back then was how good the lead guitar was. Well, I don’t think anyone could debate me if I say that Oz Fox belongs up there among his great guitar peers. The best thing about “The Yellow and Black Attack” is that you get all of those ingredients on each one of the six songs on it.

One thing I have stated over the past three decades was that with many heavy metal bands, they start out hungry for success and that raw hunger is expressed on their initial demo or even the debut album, some beyond that. That hunger is definitely there on this album. They might have been singing and playing their hearts out here and the result was that the music could be capable of turning stones into bread.

The problem Stryper had with both Christian and secular audiences was that no one knew how to take Christian heavy metal. Christians had always branded metal Satanic and some thought that the fusion of Christianity and heavy metal to be sacrilege. As for the heathen, many were put off by the threat of Jesus lyrics. One critic referred to them as “Quiet Riot singing Jesus music.” That’s more of an insult for Stryper than to Quiet Riot. Stryper doesn’t sound like them at all to me. True, Stryper proudly sing about their love for their Saviour but having listened to this band so many times in three decades, I have never found myself wanting to go back to the fold.

Personal note: I was a Born Again Christian during my teenage years of the 1970s but all it did for me was mess my head up more than any drugs or music ever could. However, I don’t begrudge anyone who has spiritual beliefs and if they want, I would happily listen to Stryper with them.

Track Listing:

  1. Loud ‘N’ Clear
  2. From Wrong to Right
  3. You Know What to Do
  4. Co’mon Rock
  5. You Won’t Be Lonely
  6. Loving You

Stryper

Michael Sweet- lead vocals, guitar

Oz Fox- lead guitar, backing vocals

Tim Gaines- bass, backing vocals, keyboards

Robert Sweet- drums

They didn’t know it back then but Stryper laid down the foundations that built the bridge between the gulf of Christianity and heavy metal with this, their debut EP, “The Yellow and Black Attack.” From here, Stryper would go onto bigger and better things and whether or not you were a Christian or heathen, their music would touch the metal souls of many metalheads.

Next post: Chicago 17

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1507042433&sr=8-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rise of Christian Rock

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2017 by 80smetalman

Normally, I don’t write three posts in a week unless in exceptional circumstances which this is. Nothing major, I’m just going to be in Blackpool for the weekend and working a lot next week so I won’t be able to post again until next Friday. However, this doesn’t excuse any of you from your homework assignment from the last post. Only kidding.

1984 was the golden year of heavy metal but it also saw a huge rise in the interest in what has become known as ‘Christian Rock.’ With the onslaught of accusations of rock music being Satanic, Christian youth needed something they could listen to without their beliefs being affected. What emerged was a large number of bands and artists who were Born Again Christians and wanted to use music to spread their word and entertain the flock. I remember back in 1984 a lot of bands of this nature coming on the scene. In fact, early Sunday mornings, my local radio station had a four hour slot called TCN Hot Rock, where they would play music from Christian groups. When I did listen to it, I immediately dismissed the false belief that Christian bands were second rate musicians who were only using religion as a gimmick because they weren’t good enough to make it mainstream. Really, some people actually thought that. No these people could really wail and the music was very good and to shoot down another myth, not all the songs were in your face about Jesus.

You’d be surprised how many bands there are who are considered Christian Rock, even some of those who were popular among us heathens. Did you know that three of the four members of U2 were Born Again Christians? Adam Clayton is the only non believer in the band. Needless to say, their music got a lot of air play on TCN. As did another band who I featured here not too long ago, The Alarm. Other artists also came onto my radar thanks to this radio programme, including former Kansas star, Kerry Livgren. I’ll be featuring his album two posts from now. There was Mylon LeFevre, (no relation), Petra, the Daniel Band and it was here that I got my introduction to some heavy metal band called Styper. You might have heard of them.

The Alarm

U2

I remember one song getting a lot of airplay on TCN Hot Rock during the summer of 1984 so I thought, I would share it with you. It’s by Steve Taylor and it’s called “We Don’t Need No Color Code.” The song actually is a rant against a supposedly Christian College in the South who was accused of racist practices.

Like with everything to do with religion, the concept of Christian Rock is great. Like I said on other blogs, I can listen to Stryper and Mercyful Fate in the same sitting. There are some pretty amazing musicians who are Born Again Christians and I think that’s cool. However, like with everything else, people mess it up and make it look bad. The rise of Christian Rock gave rise to the arrogance in the attitudes of those who listened to it. Some would take this to extremes and if you’ve read “Rock And Roll Children,” (shameless plug), you’ll know what I mean.

Next post: Originally, I was going to put a song by the Daniel Band on this post but when I listened to their 1984 album, “Rush Out of the Darkness,” I was so impressed that I’m going to make it my next post.

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1505466016&sr=8-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Top 10 Christmas Songs

Posted in Heavy Metal, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 24, 2014 by 80smetalman

With Christmas rapidly approaching and the radio playing all sorts of Christmas songs from Bing Crosby to Band Aid, it got me thinking (a dangerous thing I know) about the Christmas songs I like. Normally, the ones I prefer are either metalised carols or parodies. I have 2 CDs which contain a lot of both. Now, after putting in a little thought, here are my top ten favourite Christmas songs.

10. Slade- Merry Christmas Everyone

9.  Bob Rivers and Twisted Radio- White Trash Christmas

8. Bob Rivers and Twisted Radio- Jingle Hell’s Bells

7. The Darkness- Christmas Time

6.  Bob Rivers and Twisted Radio- Frosty the Pervert

5. Bob Rivers and Twisted Radio- Walking Round in Women’s Underwear

4. The McKenzie Brothers- The Canadian Twelve Days of Christmas

3. Weird Al Yankovick- The Night Santa Went Crazy

2. Stryper- Winter Wonderland

1. Twisted Sister- Any song from the Twisted Christmas album

220px-Bob_Rivers_-_I_Am_Santa_Claus_cover

True, Bob Rivers and Twisted Radio features heavy on the list but only two songs are from the above album. Number 8, “Jingle Hell’s Bells” is both a parody and a great rocker in the form of AC/DC. Anyway, those are my top ten Christmas songs and with that, I would like to wish all on here a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday and Seasons Greetings.

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to: http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London