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7 Weeks: Live in America, 2003

  • reviewed by Andy Argyrakis Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2004 1 Jul
7 Weeks: Live in America, 2003
Sounds like … the legendary hair metal hits of the classic band, hearkening back to the days of Poison, Twisted Sister, Petra, and WhiteheartAt a glance … the reunited line-up still plays well and the sound quality is good, but the material is sure to sound dated and cheesy to anyone who isn't a die-hard fanTrack ListingSing Along SongMakes Me Wanna SingCalling On YouFreeMore Than a ManCaught in the MiddleReach OutLoud 'N ClearThe WaySolders Under CommandTo Hell With the DevilHonestlyWinter WonderlandClosing Prayer

Stryper's musical legacy is the stuff of legends among Christian music fans who grew up in the 1980s. This was, after all, the first Christian band to land airtime on MTV, scorching Billboard's album charts as a result. But despite their enormous impact, they've been regarded as cookie-cutter heavy metal since then—tight yellow Spandex, mass quantities of Aqua Net hairspray, and the whole nine yards.

But Stryper fans have remained faithful, championing their reunion tour, captured on 7 Weeks: Live in America 2003. The album features smashes like "Sing Along Song," "Makes Me Wanna Sing" and "More Than A Man," coupled with the group's heavy guitar solos and Michael Sweet's high-pitched wails—all delivered as if it were still 1986. Power ballads like "Free" and "Honestly" will have fans waving the lighters, while thundering rockers like "Soldiers Under Command" and signature song "To Hell With the Devil" remain true to their metal origins.

Still, it's pretty comical to hear a band stuck in the '80s, playing as if nothing's changed. Like Poison and Twisted Sister, the group has been reduced to a live jukebox, running through the hits and offering very little relevance to the modern music scene. Additional turnoffs are Sweet's screaming introductions of nearly every song (rather than allowing the crowd to be surprised with spontaneity) and the lack of essential hit "Always There For You." Though fans seem enthusiastic about this disc—understandable given the band's lengthy hiatus—chances are that everyone else will hear this as a campy joke.