STRYPER's new studio album, "The Final Battle", is due in October via Frontiers Music Srl. The follow-up to 2020's "Even The Devil Believes" was produced by vocalist/guitarist Michael Sweet and was once again recorded at Spirit House Recording Studios in Northampton, Massachusetts.
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Jimmy Kay and Alan Dixon from The Metal Voice recently spoke to Stryper singer/guitarist Michael Sweet
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When asked why Stryper is not asked to open for Scorpions (or arena acts) in North America
"When you ask a question like that man there's so many answers to that question. I don't have to be the one to give you those answers. I think you know anyone who has the smarts can figure it. I mean one is the fact that we are who we sing about.(Jesus) I don't know why? I don't understand it but people fear what we sing about and the way they react to that is through mockery or you know poking the bear poking fun at us or whatever you want to call it. It's just constant disrespect because of what we sing about and who we sing about. I find it so interesting and odd because you know you got all these other bands that sing about Satan which is stupid in my opinion. You want to talk about ridiculous that's that's about as ridiculous as it gets but i don't go around telling people that I can't listen to that band cause the lyrics are ridiculous. I still listen to the bands and I love the music but why can't people do that with Stryper. I have no clue and no clue why? But then when people say that we suck it's really laughable. Stryper does not suck in any universe and when people say that it's just absolute ignorance is all it is. When you come and see Stryper play you're going to get a rock show and I think most people will leave satisfied. It's really disheartening that we don't ever get those calls and you know. I just scratch my head and I just kind of say, I have no clue. I mean, I do know why but I don't know why if that makes any sense. It's just a mystery to me because we deserve the opportunity to go out and play with these bands just like any other band. And not only deserve the opportunity but you know I think surprisingly it would shock a lot of fans. I think most people that would go to a show like that say Judas Priests or Scorpions and if Stryper came out and opened the show I think most people would say wow it was awesome. I think most of it is about Jesus not all of it but most of it is unfortunately. "
When asked about the title of the new album The Final Battle
"I'm saying a lot of things, there was even a little implication in my mind about this could be the last Stryper album and people got worked up over that but it was in the back of my mind I'm not gonna lie. And the reason why is because we've had our health concerns and things going on and you just never know. I don't take any day for granted this certainly could be our last album. I hope it's not, I don't want it to be, that aside, that was a small little thing I was thinking about. The large part of what was in play in my mind with the title and the artwork is obviously the biblical stories about the battle of Armageddon. Which is in my opinion the final battle in terms of where if you believe in the bible Christ will come back and basically Satan will be cast into the pit and it'll be that'll be the final battle and that's on the artwork. That's supposed to be the lord returning and the four of us returning with the lord and we kind of purposely did a throwback to the original 'To Hell with the devil' album artwork. It's got a similar vibe to that but just the 2022 look."
When asked about the musical direction of the new album
"The album was is really broad album, when you listen to the whole album from start to finish. You're gonna see that there's some really aggressive metal tracks on there, there's some straight-up uh mid-tempo songs, there's a few songs that are a little more modern. We've got a couple songs that are a little bit more pop metal, so there's there's quite a broad spectrum in terms of how this album is laid out and sequenced. When I was writing the album is really important for me and the guys too of course that we're all on the same page with this but really important as I'm sitting here in this room putting the songs together to stick to our roots and not wander off that path too much. But at the same time try to incorporate little differences here and there, just to give it its own special signature that was important for me to do. We wanted to come out strong out of the box (first single) but not with our strongest out of the box and that's what 'Transgressor' (New song) will prove. I sent to our agent the whole album and he called me right after listening to 'Transgressor' and he said I mean this in a great way but I feel like I've just been violated he said. I feel like it's beaten the crap out of me. Just wait to see what's coming that's the calm before the storm, the storm's going to come and it's going to shake things up and when you hear 'Transgressor' I think you're gonna go whoa because it's gonna say that we're serious and it's gonna say that we haven't gone anywhere and that this is our most powerful album I really believe that."
When asked about the postponed fall tour dates
"Here's the deal and it comes down to the number one reason being we could not secure a bus and some people will kind of say how is that possible? It literally came down to that we where talking to different bus companies and then we were talking to one in particular. We thought we had a bus set up in and then we were told we don't have a bus and basically what happened over the past few months is buses started being leased out for double the price oh yeah and bands were paying. We found ourselves in a position where we can't afford to pay that because Stryper you know is 10k a night on a good night band. And sometimes we get 15k, sometimes we get 20 sometimes we get 25 if we play a big festival or something. But when we go on a bus run and we do touring usually it's on average around maybe 10k at night. So when you pay all the bills and you got the bus you're pulling the trailer, you're paying this big crew you got all this stuff going on we can't come home after a tour in the red. Cause at the end of the year we've got so much red and so much debt that we can't afford to tour any longer. So a bus being double the price and it's like okay we can't we we can't do this run so what we did is we postponed the run instead of canceling. A lot of people were confused they thought we canceled we didn't cancel we just postponed and it was only part of the run. The some people tried to turn it into we're over and done with and we we can't afford to tour and we're washed up and all this kind of nonsense and it wasn't about that at all. It's just that we couldn't secure a bus. "
Michael is joined in STRYPER by his brother Robert Sweet (drums),Oz Fox (guitars) and Perry Richardson (bass).