he Sweet brothers (Michael (vocals) and Robert (drums)) formed this Christian heavy metal (a.k.a. "white metal") outfit Stryper in 1981, with Timothy Gaines (bass) and Oz Fox (guitar). They started out under the moniker Roxx Regieme and played a standardized American hard rock. The Sweet brothers had converted to Christianity after seeing the preaching of American evangelist Jimmy Swaggart. By devising a carefully constructed marketing image and strategy, they changed their name to Stryper and dressed in matching black and yellow outfits. Shortly later, they announced their intentions to spread the word of God through their music, and be the antithesis to the growing "satanic" movement of Venom and the like. It was this last component of their concept, the religion, that attracted the media, believing it to be such a novelty to deserve headline status. They soon attracted a record contract by 'Enigma Records' and relocated to Los Angeles. Their debut, Yellow And Black Attack (1984), sported high-pitched harmonies, pretty-boy looks, standard hard rock riffs and simple lyrics that sold the album into platinum status. Their truly unique on-stage gimmick of throwing bibles into the audience at live shows didn't hurt their image either.
They worked hard at spreading their gospel to the largely "heathen" ranks of heavy metal fans on the next effort, Soldiers Under Command (1985), but their appeal was fully realized on their third album, To Hell With The Devil (1986); To Hell With The Devil stayed on the Billboard charts for three months topping out at 32. Popish and more mellow tracks were featured on the follow-up In God We Trust (1988) and the album, as a result, ended off being a commercial failure; the fans clearly demanding the harder rock of their past. Although it also charted at 32, it only remained on the Billboard charts for five weeks.
At this point the band then took some time off to re-think their strategy. Oz Fox, however, ventured into the studio and assisted in the debut album by fellow Christian rockers Guardian during Stryper's down time. It would be 1990 when Against The Law emerged. This album returned to their harder sound, believing that to be how their religious crowd wanted to hear the gospel of the lord; they also sent the yellow and black "bee costumes" packing! It was too little and too late, for most of their fans, however, was gone and the album reflected that in sales. When Michael Sweet quit in 1992, even the Lord all mighty couldn't save their act for it was the last headline they received. Can't Stop The rock - The Stryper Collection was released in 1991 as an anthology of their career, and their last recording.
To say that Stryper was bible thumping their career away is not a complete statement, for they were as "godly" as Venom was "satanic"; in both cases each band talked about it, but the truth of the matter is it was more an image, certainly in the public eye, then a true statement.
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|RRCA File Code||REV00271|