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Articles Home » 1985 Articles » Stryper - 1985 Soldiers Under Command
Stryper - 1985 Soldiers Under Command

ARTIST: Stryper
ALBUM: Soldiers Under Command
LABEL: Enigma
SERIAL: 72077-1
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: Reissue List


LINEUP: Michael Sweet - vocals, guitar * Oz Fox - guitar * Tim Gaines - bass * Robert Sweet - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Soldiers Under Command * 02 Makes Me Wanna Sing * 03 Together Forever * 04 First Love * 05 The Rock That Makes Me Wanna Roll * 06 Reach Out * 07 (Waiting For) A Love Thats Real * 08 Together As One * 09 Surrender *10 Battle Hymn Of The Republic (Glory Glory Hallelujah)



The band started as Roxx Regime in the early 80's. A certain CC DeVille briefly filled the guitar slot. Rechristened as Stryper (an acronym for: Salvation Through Redemption, Yielding Peace, Encouragement, and Righteousness. It is also related to the Bible verse Isaiah 53:5), the Orange County, CA based foursome recorded their debut 'The Yellow And Black Attack' (an EP or a short album depending on which version you choose) in 1984. A vast improvement in both the production (Michael Wagener) and songwriting departments is 1985's 'Soldiers Under Command'.

The Songs
My first approach to the album was a spot on review in an Argentinean cult magazine back in 1986. First impression was the album cover: Rambo +Christian +Hair. Michael Sweet's Dennis DeYoung on steroids like-vocals -plus a little bit of Rob Halford, 80's LA metal dual guitar flashy playing, 50's pop patterns embedded in choir-gospel-like harmonies and thunderous drumming are the features. Guitars sound sharp and sweet (no pun intended) just like a yellow and black bee (lol), not far from Dokken's George Lynch reverb-plus-delay fat sound, Van Halen, Ratt and hints of Judas Priest's dual attack. The most perennial songs are the classic title track, a metallic number displaying fiery vocals and traded leads courtesy of Michael Sweet and lead axeman Oz Fox - who actually shreds by always choosing the right notes, 'The Rock That Makes Me Roll' - their heaviest showcase, I wonder whether it's actually about Jesus or Rolling Rock beer as I read somewhere else, 'Together Forever' - plagued with happy verses and prominent delicious 50's choir-like choruses, and the rocking 'Makes Me Wanna Sing' which ends in an unbelievable beyond-human falsetto shriek. At the risk of falling deep into guilty pleasure territory, I confess I actually like the mandatory 80's power ballad 'First Love' -I can hear traces of Kiss' 'I Still Love You' in the arpeggios and the slightly tortured singing, as well as the beautiful soft piano-driven ballad 'Together As One', which has become over time a wedding song for more couples than you might actually guess. The album rounds out with a heavy version of the patriotic 'Battle Hymn Of The Republic' more suitable as an opener to these ears.

In Summary
Do you remember Hit Parader's February 1987 'Heaven and Hell' cover story (Stryper versus W.A.S.P.) or their bold gig at 1987's Dynamo Open Air festival sharing the bill with Testament, Destruction and Atomkraft? 'Soldiers Under Command' and 1986's 'To Hell With The Devil' are my preferred doses of Stryper. Both are highly recommended additions to your 80's LA metal collection, gold-certified 'Soldiers..' being my personal favorite for sheer freshness and heaviness. I know Stryper are not everybody's cup of tea, but mine, it is. If you can bear with the (to some ears) girlish vocals and Christian-oriented lyrics, there's a lot to discover and enjoy in Stryper, a band on par with the best of 80's LA metal.

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#1 | gdazegod on June 29 2017 03:44:42
My favourite track is 'Surrender'. Some amazing guitar work here, though Dave didn't mention the track in his article. Overall, good LP, as is the follow up from 1986.
#2 | dtabachn on June 29 2017 04:53:26
Great song, George. While double-checking before sending the review, I found myself singing 'So freely surrender'. Oops!
#3 | gdazegod on June 29 2017 05:53:20
Thumbs Up
#4 | Nick C on June 29 2017 07:53:03
I like their first couple of releases, this and The Yellow and Black Attack prior, I still have them on coloured vinyl. I kind of went off them a little after To Hell With the Devil came out. The cover still makes me chuckle after all these years, as soldiers they look as menacing as Barbie dolls. I did trek all the way to Hammersmith to see them though with a bunch of mates one of whom got thrown a bible if I remember correctly. It turns out God wasn't on our side though as the train broke down on the way back home and we spent 2 hours sat in Stafford.
#5 | gdazegod on June 29 2017 08:29:49
Stryper - 1985 Surrender (Live In Japan)
YouTube Video:

Interesting to note in that video, the arrangement is slightly different to the studio version. Also, Robert Sweet is sitting in a typical office chair, rather than the usual stool.
#6 | reyno-roxx on June 29 2017 12:20:40
That Hammersmith show was great. I still have the Stryper stickered bible I caught after Michael Sweet threw them out into the crowd. The first two albums are still my favourite Stryper records, but they have been pretty consistent over the years with very few blips.
#7 | Explorer on June 29 2017 14:31:08
Great album, I too was at the Hammersmith show, but up in the balcony so didn`t bag myself a bible!.
#8 | melodiapositiva on June 29 2017 16:56:39
Michael sweet sings like an angel, and his screams are very cool, what a voice....Shock
And don't forget the more aorish songs on the album,'waiting for a love that's real' and 'reach out' they are great.
#9 | dangerzone on June 29 2017 20:47:42
I've tried getting into this for years, but for whatever reason I've never developed an ear for Stryper. Something seems missing, the same way Dokken or Rush have never appealed to me.
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