Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Album: Stryper - The Covering

As I said in my 2011 wish-list, I have never even heard much from Stryper, let alone claim to be a fan. I'm just not into the glam rock of the 80s and so, besides a single or two, this band never was brought into the foreground of my musical experience. I was just going to pass over their newest album, The Covering (their 7th I believe), and not give it a second thought, but then I saw that it was a cover album. For anyone who has been visiting me here for very long (or AngryChairs), you know I love cover songs and albums. I think that if a band can turn a good song great - or the few times a crappy song good - then that is something to be held in high regard. There's an art-form to a good cover, and so few get it right that when it happens, it's something special. Anyway, because of my love of cover albums, and only because of this, I decided to pick out The Covering from my massive collection and give it a spin. I was not disappointed.

The Covering is a nice collection of classic songs, and those lesser known (unless you happen to be huge fans of the acts). From the get-go, without a full list of which songs were from whom, I could name eight out of thirteen of the parent bands just from the song titles alone. There are the traditional covers of Led Zeppelin ("Immigrant Song"), Iron Maiden ("The Trooper"), and Ozzy Osbourne ("Over The Mountain"), and a few un-ordinary ones (the ones I couldn't name right off the bat) by Sweet ("Set Me Free"), UFO ("Lights Out"), and Scorpions ("Blackout") all of which are done decently. This is a really good example of a cover album track list, a nice mix of styles and influences to make any classic rock fan proud.

My complaints are few and easily ignored; they don't do the layered vocals of Kansas' "Carry On Wayward Son" justice, "Lights Out" was a bit dull and uninspired, and "Highway Star" by Deep Purple just didn't seem heavy enough, as if they couldn't get their guitars to the level that was needed. There are a few more instances of bits of inconsistencies within the music, but overall the sound was good and strong. I really liked how "Set Me Free" was handled, making me enjoy a song of which I don't know the original at all, which is why I listen to covers, for the diamond in the rough (oh and they do Ozzy some decent justice).

I could go on, dissecting every song for the good and bad, but then where is the fun for you, the virgin listener? I believe a review should explain what the album contains and enough information for you to make an informed decision to what the album holds in store, but not enough that you feel like you already know the record before even opening the packaging. So go out there and experiment with something you might not normally hear (like me). If you like the aforementioned bands, KISS, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, or Van Halen, then The Covering might just be worth the listen. And for those long-time Stryper fans there is a brand new track to close out the album, "God," which may be worth it enough for you.


Anonymous said...

I recommend Sweet "Level Headed" from 1978. It is one of my favorite Classic Rock albums of my entire life. "Desolation Boulevard" is another unreal solid Sweet album too, from 1974. It's Hard Rock "and" Heavy Metal roots... they were a fantastic band IMO.

I call them "Sweet"... I believe only one of their studio albums ever had them named "The Sweet", which was their debut back in 1971. After that, each album cover is: Sweet.

I'm getting my ears into this new Stryper in the coming days! Thanks for the Metal "heads up".

- Stone

The Klepto said...

I've heard Desolation Boulevard, and a few other singles by Sweet. I'm just not a huge hair/glam fan, so the groups I listen to from that era/genre are a scattered bunch.
As far as the name change, I believe their started as The Sweet and then only released one or two albums before switching to just Sweet. So that's the name for me, Sweet.