STRYPER – The Yellow And Black Attack! [Japan HR/HM 1000 Vol.2 reissue series] (2020) *EXCLUSIVE*
A couple years ago we featured a lot of albums from the Universal Music Japan campaign ‘HR/HM 1000‘, that meaning Hard Rock / Heavy Metal long time out of print record from their catalog at the price of 1000 Yen = about 10 USD.
Now 2020 the label started the “HR/HM 1000 Vol.2 reissue series”, including some awesome titles you need to own is a superior Japanese CD press for only 10 bucks.
And we have here in exclusive the STRYPER album “The Yellow And Black Attack!“, replicating its original release artwork, including full lyrics.
Initially released in 1984, “The Yellow And Black Attack” was in fact a six-song EP, and fewer than 20,000 (only vinyl and cassette) copies were made, as their label, Enigma Records, was unsure of the potential.
After Stryper achieved major success with their second release ‘Soldiers Under Command’, “The Yellow and Black Attack” was re-released on August 10, 1986, with two additional songs; “Reason for the Season” and a new, mellowed-down version of “My Love I’ll Always Show”, which dates from their early days, when the band were called Roxx Regime.
The opening song, “Loud ‘N’ Clear,” with the signature high pitch screaming by Michael, along with the powerful drumming of Robert, gives a strong start. The ending has a mighty sound, much like the breaking of walls has occurred, bringing the Stryper force from the unknown to take over the old fashioned stereotypical views of religious music.
“From Wrong To Right” is short and heavy, with no extra fillers. The drumming on this track is stunning and powerful. As part of the re-release, a ballad from the band’s pre-Stryper days comes next: “My Love I”ll Always Show” sounds a little too high at the beginning, but once the chorus and second verse arrives, the song has its best part. It showed the band’s versatility; writing a nice ballad with a light sound as well as solid rocking songs. Of course, this was before “Honestly,” and before every rock band had a power ballad.
“You Know What To Do” starts off hard, but then goes into a more radio friendly style than on the other songs. The backing vocals are stronger here along with (again) Robert‘s drumming being dynamic. The guitar work from Oz Fox is fun to hear on this song, not just on the solo, but the additional fills throughout.
The opening of the “Co’Mon Rock” guitar riff reminds me of Mötley Crüe‘s “Live Wire.” This song is a bad attempt in creating a rock anthem.
“You Won’t Be Lonely” starts off mellow, but then kicks in nicely. The appeal of this song is the different dynamics throughout the song. Starting soft, then hard, and back to a softer sound is enjoyable. The drumming here is different as well. Instead of the 4/4 straight beat that is relevant in most rock music, this has a different style.
“Loving You” goes back to an up-tempo style. It stops at the end, as opposed to a fade out. The song is strong. This is one of the songs from the band I go to when I want to hear great drumming. I love the guitars here.
Another song added to the re-issue is the Xmas related “Reason For The Season”. This is not a ballad with a bunch of orchestration or bells ringing throughout, like one may expect from a holiday record. This is a rock song with the signature duel guitars and powerful vocals that gave the band its style. This was originally released as a single in 1985.
This is a great debut release in a genre that was technically unheard of at the time, where Christian music was basically either hymns, gospel, or very light adult contemporary.
This is a release that still can be ranked a landmark debut in Rock music. Not only does it bring back great memories for me as young kid, but I can still jam out to most of the songs on here. The appeal of being raw and not overproduced, along with a short run time, is what makes it a unique record from the 80s US hard rock scene.
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ＳＯＮＹ ＭＵＳＩＣ ＪＡＰＡＮ ～ 【UICH-9005】
Ｈ Ｒ / Ｈ Ｍ １０００ Ｖｏｌ，２ ＳＥＲＩＥＳ
01 – Loud ’n’ Clear
02 – From Wrong to Right
03 – My Love I’ll Always Show
04 – You Know What to Do
05 – Co’mon Rock
06 – You Won’t Be Lonely
07 – Loving You
08 – Reason for the Season
Michael Sweet – lead vocals, guitar
Robert Sweet – drums
Oz Fox – lead guitar, background vocals
Tim Gaines – bass, keyboards, background vocals