Monday, July 21, 2014

Stryper - The Yellow and Black Attack

Today (July 21st) is the thirtieth anniversary of The Yellow and Black Attack, the debut EP album from the Christian heavy metal band Stryper. The original 1984 release, which I will be reviewing today, only featured six songs and had a very small press run (twenty thousand copies).

Hailing from Orange County, California, the band was made up of four guys. Michael Sweet provided lead vocals and guitar. His brother Robert Sweet was on drums. Joining them were Oz Fox (lead guitar and backing vocals) and Tim Gaines (bass, keyboards, and backing vocals). The band’s name came from a passage in the Book of Isaiah in the Bible.

Side one opens with “Loud ‘N’ Clear”. I like how the various speaker channels are utilized during the opening of this number.

“From Wrong to Right” is driven down a straight-and-narrow path by a driving drum beat.

The mid-tempo “You Know What to Do” offers a guiding light in a world of darkness.

Side two begins with the rapid-fire “Co’Mon Rock”.

Next up is a slower track. “You Won’t Be Lonely” is about opening your heart to a greater force of positive energy.

“Loving You” closes out the original vinyl release on a powerful note.

In 1986, The Yellow and Black Attack was re-released with two additional tracks added (the tender ballad “My Love I’ll Always Show“ and the holiday single “Reason For The Season“) and a different cover.

While I was aware of whom Stryper was back in 1984, I cannot recall if I had ever heard the tracks from this album before. Thanks to Spotify, I was able to give this one a spin for this review. I liked what I heard. The guys clearly had musical chops, and they found a way to put their own spin on a genre of music that previously had been plagued by a dark, satanic reputation.

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