Home > CCM, Christian Music, Christian Pop, Christian Rap, Christian Rock, Greatest Albums, Jesus Music > 293. Soldiers Under Command – Stryper

293. Soldiers Under Command – Stryper

SOLDIERS UNDER COMMAND (1985)

Stryper

This was when everything just went insane!

With the strong success of the initial EP Stryper was poised to make a major impact on the music world with their first full length album, Soldiers Under command. It was also at this time that televangelist and youth speakers were voicing disapproval on the world of CCM with loud and venemous attacks against artists like Amy Grant, Petra and even Sandy Patti. The perfect storm of glam rock and God’s music critics created a furor not seen ever since. The more the TBN crowd railed against the “Devil’s Music” (Stryper) the larger the bands fan base grew.

The growth of Stryper’s impact was directly related to an amazing full length debut. the album rocked from the very beginning and did not disappoint. The war-like image on the album cover was lived out in the militant, evangelistic approach lyrically on the album. The title track rocked with heavy, HEAVY DRUMS and a great dual guitar attack.

It was also on this album that the world was introduced to the power ballad in a big way. Fearless radio programmers at KYMS (with some constant encouragement from a certain young wannabe deejay) added “Together As One” to the normal format of Amy Grant, Petra and Michael W. Smith. The phones lit up every time it was played with listeners asking who was performing this great new wedding song.

The band did show great improvement and maturity, both in their musical skills and in their songwriting. There was still plenty of “Jesus is the rock that makes us roll” pablum the genre was noted for, but there was also a sense of a beginning community that Strpyer would be spearheading as their loyal fans would take the message behind the music to their friends. It is in this setting that a song like “Reach Out” becomes more a communal anthem rather than just an evangelistic propaganda slogan.

There would also be social and personal issues dealt with on this album like personal piety (First Love) and sexual purity (A Love That’s Real). The title track deals with the reality of spiritual warfare. It was also on this album the use of keyboards were introduced. This accentuated the normal big hair, big guitar attack, and showed the heavy influence bands like Styx and REP Speedwagon actually had on the band.

Critics, especially the self anointed protectors of definers of “Godly” music continued to miss the point. The Stryper phenomenon had much more to do with the sense of belonging and community fostered and promoted by the band. Kids wore Stryper paraphernalia not only because they were fans, but also because they were belonging to something bigger than themselves.  It is also why even several years beyond the highest popularity and artistic zeniths their fan base remained loyal and supportive and there is a continuing respect for the band.

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  1. Brian
    November 18, 2010 at 11:25 am

    This is my favorite Stryper release. I feel it is the most solid album. The title cut SOLDIERS UNDER COMMAND right hits what Stryper should have been all the time. Cutting, on the edge, powerful full range metallic rockers.

    The album goes out with a bang with BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC.
    Just love this one.

  2. Greenchili
    March 8, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Title song rocks! Stryper.. was the only “christian” group an unsaved kid in my neighborhood was remotely interested in. Along with Stryper my cousin only liked Petra and Mylon LefeVre and borrowed my concert video tape for an extended period.

  3. June 18, 2011 at 1:39 am

    My second favorite Stryper album. THWTD is of course the best one. Still, the song “Together As One” is my favorite Stryper song. When I’m thinking of Heaven where everything is pure and there’s no pain – everything will be “together as one” it’s just great. Heaven is surely a place to look for. When Stryper was in Finland for the first time, they played songs such as “The Rock That Makes Me Roll” and “Makes Me Wanna Sing” in Turkuhalli. What a great gig! I know I had become a fan instantly.

  4. Brent Johnson
    May 9, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    The Band. For us metal kids these guys were the grail though my Mom often wondered if the drummer was a girl.

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