Stryper – “Against The Law” (1990)

StryperChristian glamsters Stryper reached their commercial peak with 1986’s platinum selling To Hell With The Devil album.  But their follow-up In God We Trust (1988) saw sales dip as their lameness reached critical mass.  The album was as flaccid as an old man’s penis, and Stryper needed a reboot STAT.  Against The Law arrived in 1990 with a new Stryper logo and an updated Stryper sound.  They heavily tweaked their image, too — dropping the bumble bee outfits and downplaying their Christianity.  In fact, Stryper didn’t even thank God in the liner notes!  Blasphemers!!!  This new (and improved?) Stryper confused some of their hard-line Christian fans.  In the end, Against The Law failed to stop the trajectory of Stryper’s falling star, but I actually think it’s their best album.  (Granted, I haven’t heard any of the stuff that came out after Against The Law.)

Stryper had chops.  We always knew they did, it was just a matter of whether or not they chose to use ’em.  With Against The Law it seems Stryper really took the time to write better riffs, licks, and solos.  On this album they finally let the world know what they were capable of musically.  Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t the most original album out there.  In fact, Against The Law is actually sort of a copy of what was popular at the time, but Stryper did a nice job of pulling it all together.  This is a bluesier and funkier Stryper.  Again, pretty derivative of other bands (think Extreme, for example) but still very well played.  The best thing about Against The Law is that it isn’t nearly as flowery as previous Stryper bouquets.  Thankfully, Michael Sweet sounds a lot less like a dandy.  Past Stryper ballads were so syrupy they made my stomach churn, but on Against The Law they’re actually palatable.  And when Stryper decided to rock (which they did more so than ever before) they actually ROCKED!  Unfortunately, Against The Law came a couple of years too late for Stryper.  Lots of folks had already moved on.  My score: B

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