Check the exclusive video showing this LP for sale
Check the exclusive video showing this LP for sale
The year of 1986 was often declared as the International Year of Peace. On that same year, four young believers with yellow and black spandex took over the radio waves with their multi-platinum breakthrough hit To Hell With The Devil. Michael Sweet, Oz Fox, Robert Sweet, and Timothy Gaines opened the eyes and ears of many with their third and defining studio album. Many devout fans might remember Stryper turning a lot of heads while performing “Soldiers Under Command” at the 1985 Dove Awards or seeing their music videos on MTV at that time. Often stated as one of the best Christian metal albums of all time, To Hell With The Devil still remains to this day a masterpiece that shaped Stryper’s career and Christian music in general.
The album starts off with the song “The Abyss,” a dark instrumental track composed of synthesizers and sound effects, which could have also worked well with an old horror film such as The Thing or Hellraiser. Stryper quickly kicks it into high gear with the heavy metal we have come to know and love on the second track. Before Vengeance Rising’s Burn and Petra’s This Means War, Stryper paved the way for Christian metal anthems specifically about mocking the devil with their title track. Michael Sweet’s lyrics are still as powerful today as they were over 20 years ago and his high pitch voice and screaming adds a lot. Stryper continues to rock out with other singles such as “Calling On You” and “Free.”
The band quickly brings it down a notch with the “Honestly,” a memorable ballad that was briefly mentioned on the recent VH1’s 100 Most Awesomely Bad Songs. Often classified as a friendship song, “Honestly” was originally meant to stand as a testament of God’s love and mercy towards each of us, “Through the years, I will be a friend for always and forever, Call on me and I’ll be there for you, I’m a friend who always will be true, And I love you can’t you see, That I love you honestly.” Other tracks such as “The Way,” “Sing-Along Song,” and “Holding On” all make the list as some of Stryper’s best material. The album closes with the rock anthem “More Than A Man,” which closes the album beautifully while stating the prayer of salvation to listeners.
Whether you love them or hate them, no one can deny the success of Stryper and how they are one of the many bands that made Christian music what it is today. Many bands such as Disciple, Demon Hunter, and The Showdown would not be where they are today if it were not for the legacy of Stryper. With Oz Fox, Michael and Robert Sweet bringing the band back with 2005’s Reborn album and a planned 2009 studio release, there is never a better time than now to pick up a copy of this Christian metal masterpiece. Fans of 1980’s heavy metal and Christian rock need to say To Hell with the Devil and keep this album in their music collection.
To Hell with the Devil is the third studio album by the Christian metal band Stryper, released in 1986. It was the first Christian metal album to achieve platinum status, selling over one million copies. It remained the best-selling Christian metal album until 2001.
The album was listed at No. 88 in the 2001 book, CCM Presents: The 100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music. The album was the only heavy metal album on the list. Ian Christe, author of the heavy metal history book Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal (2003), mentions To Hell with the Devil in his book as one of the landmarks of the glam metal movement. Throughout 1987, both music videos for “Free” and “Honestly” ranked No. 1 on Dial MTV, the daily MTV list of most requested videos. The first single/video video for “Calling on You” also reached No. 2 on the show. “Honestly” was the biggest single from the record peaking at #23 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles Chart.
The original artwork depicted four long haired angels (closely resembling the band members) throwing the devil into a fiery pit. The cover was then changed on later pressings to a basic black cover with the Stryper logo and the album title in the center.
According to Michael Sweet’s autobiography, as the band started to record the album, Michael felt Tim Gaines wasn’t the right bassist for the record. He was replaced by bassist Matt Hurich, who eventually ended up not working out. So session bassist Brad Cobb took Gaines’ place while recording the album. However, before the tour began, Sweet asked Gaines to rejoin as he felt it wasn’t right performing as “Stryper” without him.
HM Magazine listed To Hell with the Devil No. 3 on its Top 100 Christian Rock Albums of All Time list stating that “when this album broke, it went multi-platinum, forever raising the ceiling of what heavy Christian music could do.” Heaven’s Metal fanzine ranked it No. 6 on its Top 100 Christian metal albums of all-time list
“Honestly” is a power ballad by the American Christian metal band Stryper. The song was the band’s fifth single and their highest charting on the Billboard Hot 100. It became one of the most requested songs on MTV. “Honestly” is one of Stryper’s best-known songs, peaking at No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100, and remains as the band’s only top 40 hit on that chart.
“One of the most eye-opening albums of my childhood! Changed the entire music rulebook as we knew it!” —Brad Noah
“One terrific album – great sound, great riffs, solos, hooks – everything a memorable metal album that stands the test of time should be.” —Ted Kirkpatrick
When this album broke, it went multi-platinum, forever raising the ceiling of what heavy Christian music could do. While the ballad “Honestly” might’ve broadened the band’s appeal, the band perfected its pop metal sound with sharp-edged songs like “Calling on You,” “Free” and “Rockin’ The World.” They were giants in those days and their message on “More Than A Man,” the title track and “The Way” were as clear as any Sunday morning preacher. For some odd reason, however, the decision was made that the painting of four angels casting an evil dude into the fire was “objectionable” and a “safer” version was sold into Christian bookstores.—DV