Stryper - Murder By Pride

by Matthew C. Miller on Jan 12, 2009 at 3:43 PM
R&R Engage (9)

stryper muder by pride

The quintessential Kings of 80's (Christian) Glam-Rock have returned with the long-awaited follow-up to 2005's Reborn, Murder By Pride.
As a quote on Michael Sweet's home page reads, "More guitars, more solos, more screams" sums it up quite nicely. But if you just hear that quote, your missing a great deal. Sure enough the new LP is full of amazing screams, technically accurate solos, and strong rhythm section, but Murder By Pride is also filled with inspiration.

Murder By Pride is Stryper's second full-length release of new material since their controversial unstryping on Against the Law. I was expecting another solid effort in the vein of Reborn, but what I recived was much more than that. Murder By Pride is likely to be the best album from a come-back band this year. The production is loud and in-your-face, Michael Sweet's high-end is very close, if not exactly as it was in the 80's, and the band seems tighter musically and closer lyrically than it has ever been.  Stryper have created a cohesive, relevant Rock album in the face of all of the responsibilities of grown-up married people with children, the baggage of an 80's has-been come-back band, a family member facing cancer, and the modern-world's (and the church's) totally out-of-step understanding of what living like a Christian is. It is so much easier to be a metal band when you have no attachments to worry about and can gallivant all over the world making havoc. Some would not have had the strength or courage to take on a come-back, let alone pull it off, but Stryper deliver on Murder By Pride and they are the better for it.

stryper - to hell with the devil group
Stryper during To Hell with the Devil era.


The new album, set to be released early this year has seen much delay due to lead singer, Michael Sweet's wife's battle with cancer. It is a mature album, from veteran rockers, but it is a timely album that is brimming with excellence. One might expect an album of this nature to be filled with well, filler, but each song has a purpose and a loud, melodic purpose at that.  "Murder By Pride" is perhaps the most forward-thinking song on the album, recalling sounds reminiscent of somewhere between GN'R's new track "Chinese Democracy" and classic Metallica. The song has the anthemic, stadium rock sound that gets you charged-up, but is very tight and well executed. I absolutely love the dual-guitar solos. Stryper's dual-guitar solos are such works of art that have never been out-done in Metal. The harmonic extent and mastery that Michael Sweet and Oz Fox have together would be near impossible to duplicate. It's as if the solos themselves were another member of the band. No true Stryper album would be complete without them, but they aren't just tacked on, they are integral, meaningful members of the songs.

My Favorite tracks from the album have to be "Murder By Pride", "Everything", the riveting, driving, "4 Leaf Clover", and the re-make of "My Love (I'll Always Show)". I usually discourage bands from remaking a classic song that has already been done well, but in this case Stryper have executed it in such a way as to make it seem like a completely new song, and it is a win. "Alive" dips into a little bit of modern high-budget Sunday Church music, not too unlike the many Praise and Worship groups popping up lately. The rest of the album should be welcome tracks to many that have known Stryper for years and new fans alike. I would expect to hear any one of these songs on the radio and perhaps even climb up high on the Christian charts. The Boston cover "Peace of Mind" was released on June 17, 2008 as the lead single. Murder By Pride also features some guest appearances by Boston founder, Tom Scholz, and Kenny Aronoff, one of the world's best session drummers. Due to family reasons, the "visual timekeeper", Robert Sweet calls in Kenny to man the machine.  Murder By Pride was recorded at Spirithouse Records, mixed by Danny Bernini and will be released on Big3 Records.

michael sweet kenny aronoff
Michael Sweet and Kenny Aronoff during recording of Murder By Pride


"I got the idea of the title "Murder By Pride" from seeing pride consume dreams, goals and many times, lives.  We all deal with pride and it can be crippling, so I wanted to write a lyric and a theme that would be a constant reminder of that." ~ Michael Sweet
Lyrically, the album charges deep into the hart of what the modern church should be thinking about, humility. Not only can pride be crippling, it is the very thing that Jesus points out as the "Unforgivable Sin" in Mark 3 and Matthew 12. Certainly it must have took quite a bit of humility for Stryper to return to music after high-rolling it in the 80's and 90's with their huge cross-over successes, To Hell with the Devil and in God We Trust, and return in modest style to smaller clubs and less-than-ideal airplay and distribution, but I am glad they are back. They were missed. They were needed. Stryper's fans are sure to appreciate Murder By Pride.

 

Pick up the lead single, "Peace of Mind" on iTunes now.
Official Stryper site.

 

Stryper - Murder By Pride Track Listing

1. Eclipse of the Son (4:04)
2. 4 Leaf Clover (3:42)
3. Peace of Mind (3:58)
4. Alive (3:36)
5. The Plan (3:10)
6. Murder by Pride ((3:18)
7. I Believe (3:43)
8. Run In You (4:15)
9. Love Is Why (4:07)
10. Mercy Over Blame (4:07)
11. Everything (4:26)
12. My Love (3:14)

 

Stryper w/ Tom Scholz and Dee Snider - "Peace of Mind" - Live

 

"Murder By Pride" Lyrics

Saturday nights a lie, I follow every cue
Sunday is sanctified, I smile and take the pew
Monday it's back to school - Am I learning, not at all
Tuesday and Wednesday, Thursday, Friday I just crawl

Gotta fight, gotta stop living a lie
Gotta fall, gotta lay down and die
Gotta stand and run to the other side
Gotta live or it's Murder By Pride

Seeds that were growing have been dried up by my flesh
I walk the walk and talk the talk but where's the rest
I could have everything even whats behind the stars
But I built my prison without windows, without bars

Gotta fight, gotta stop living a lie
Gotta fall, gotta lay down and die
Gotta stand and run to the other side
Gotta live or it's Murder By Pride

 

"Peace of Mind" Lyrics

Now if youre feelin kinda low bout the dues youve been paying
Futures coming much too slow
And you wanna run but somehow you just keep on stayin
Cant decide on which way to go
Yeah, yeah, yeah

I understand about indecision
But I dont care if I get behind
People livin in competition
All I want is to have my peace of mind.

Now youre climbin to the top of the company ladder
Hope it doesnt take too long
Cantcha you see therell come a day when it wont matter
Come a day when youll be gone

I understand about indecision
But I dont care if I get behind
People li vin in competition
All I want is to have my peace of mind.

Take a look ahead, take a look ahead, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah...

Now everybodys got advice they just keep on givin
Doesnt mean too much to me
Lots of people out to make-believe theyre livin
Cant decide who they should be.

I understand about indecision
But I dont care if I get behind
People li vin in competition
All I want is to have my peace of mind.

Take a look ahead, take a look ahead. look ahead.

 

 

Eclipse of the Son - submit the lyrics

4 Leaf Clover - submit the lyrics

Alive - submit the lyrics

The Plan - submit the lyrics

I Believe - submit the lyrics

Run In You - submit the lyrics

Love Is Why - submit the lyrics

Mercy Over Blame - submit the lyrics

Everything - submit the lyrics

My Love - submit the lyrics

9 R&R Engage comments to “Stryper - Murder By Pride”

  1. Nathan Garcia Says:
    As much love as I have for Robert Sweet, he has never had the caliber of skill that Oz and Michael do. While it may be Stryper-purist sacrilege, bringing in someone like Aranoff should be a pleasure to the ears.
  2. kenneth gilbert Says:
    i cant wait for this album this is what this band is all about murder by pride is the song that sells and is stryper..this will send stryper back to radio and get this band on top again and back on the road to see them playing again
  3. Michael D Koehler Says:
    Well done, and very positive review! 5 Stars! Cant wait to hear it! Been a fan since 1986! Never forgot about them. Keep the Sweet family in your prayers, Michaels wife just passed away. :( btw,, i made a promo for the new album . Rock on 777

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNRRo4e_kgo
  4. Sanyek Says:
    Cant wait for this album to be released- Biggest fan in Sweden no doubt =)
    ROCK ON.
    RObert Sweet is greate, K Aronoff is aswell. But Stryper is not about the drums, Stryper is about the message.
  5. Rob Says:
    Ditto on Stryper solos. Few bands equal the thought and planning as Mike and Oz. Thanks for the great review!
  6. chucky from germany Says:
    Stryper is probably one of the best christian bands i've ever heared. But their lyrics are mostly kind of superficial.
  7. Chris Goodwin Says:
    Seems Nathan has no clue whatsoever. Saying Robert is not the caliber of skill that Oz and Michael do. LOL you must barely be shaving to make that ridiculous comment. Robert is one of the greatest and moved loved drummers ever. you have to be what about 12 or so. LOL you have no clue at all.
  8. Olivia Says:
    And this is why I read www.rockandreview.com. Incredible post.


  9. Nathan Garcia Says:
    Chris Goodwin:
    Yes. Yes, I must be 12. I would like for you to point out a single instance that shows Robert playing with anything beyond pedestrian time-keeping (a very important factor). I am not saying he isn't a solid player, but he does not have the chops that a lot of his peers do/did. I think his drumming simplicity is what made it so easy to learn drums by listening to him. Now, of course not every musician shows all their cards within the context of their standard songs, that leaves solos. I have not seen one instance of a drum solo (either witnessed live or on video) where Robert has set himself apart as an extraordinary drummer in any way. "Visual Timekeeper" pretty much sums it up. Michael and Oz, probably OZ to a higher degree are as good as any guitarist that thrived during the metal heyday. Oz could have played for any band. His chops were as good and a lot of times the writing was better.
    SO, I stand by my statement that Oz and Michael were of a higher caliber of musician than Robert was/is. Feel free to discount my statements with some sort of proof.

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