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October 24, 1986: Stryper released "To hell with the devil"


Published on October 24, 2016 | by Anthony Martinez

30 years ago, Stryper released their third studio album, one of the most important Christian metal albums in history, and perhaps the most important. To hell with the devil is an iconic album,  a mega-album, a masterpiece of heavy metal of the 80s, no one can deny the importance of this album, their legacy continues after 30 years .

Of all the bands rock and Christian metal that recorded in the same year, Stryper is the only one who continues touring and recording new albums. Stryper again showed to the world with  "To hell with the Devil" that they can make Heavy Metal and follow Jesus simultaneously. 1986 was one of the most important years for contemporary Christian music, and "To hell with the devil" is proof of this.

To Hell with the Devil is the Grammy Award nominated third release, and third studio album by the Christian metal and glam metal band Stryper, released in 1986. It was the first Christian metal album to achieve platinum status, selling over one million copies. It remained the best-selling Christian metal album until P.O.D.'s Satellite in 2001.

The album was listed at No. 88 in the 2001 book, CCM Presents: The 100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music. The album was the only heavy metal album on the list. Ian Christe, author of the heavy metal history book Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal (2003), mentions To Hell with the Devil in his book as one of the landmarks of the glam metal movement. Throughout 1987, both music videos for "Free" and "Honestly" ranked No. 1 on Dial MTV, the daily MTV list of most requested videos. The first single/video video for "Calling on You" also reached No. 2 on the show. "Honestly" was the biggest single from the record peaking at #23 on Billboard's Hot 100 Singles Chart.

Shortly after, the VHS "In the Beginning" was released, which contains all the video clips of this album.

The original cover of To Hell with the Devil caused a torrent of controversy, and was soon changed to an all-black design. The original artwork depicted four long haired angels throwing the devil into a fiery pit. The cover was then changed on later pressings to a basic black cover with the Stryper logo and the album title in the center.

Matt Hurich
According to Michael Sweet's autobiography, as the band started to record the album, Michael felt Tim Gaines wasn't the right bassist for the record. He was replaced by bassist Matt Hurich, who eventually ended up not working out. So session bassist Brad Cobb took Gaines' place while recording the album. However, before the tour began, Sweet asked Gaines to rejoin as he felt it wasn't right performing as "Stryper" without him.

The song "To Hell with the Devil" appears on the Rhino Records release The Heavy Metal Box, a compilation mainly of secular Classic Metal bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Metallica, as well as hair bands like Twisted Sister and Poison.

In 2010, HM Magazine listed To Hell with the Devil No. 3 on its Top 100 Christian Rock Albums of All Time list stating that "when this album broke, it went multi-platinum, forever raising the ceiling of what heavy Christian music could do." Heaven's Metal fanzine ranked it No. 6 on its Top 100 Christian metal albums of all-time list.

To Hell With the Devil Tour 1987
Studio Members
Michael Sweet - Vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar
Oz Fox - Guitar, background vocals
Brad Cobb - Bass guitar
Robert Sweet - Drums

Additional musicians
John Van Tongeren - Keyboards

Free / Calling on You - Released February 10, 1987 (Enigma Records)
Honestly / Sing-Along Song - Released August 10, 1987 (Enigma)

Stephan Galfas and Stryper - Producers
Stephan Galfas and Dan Nebanzal - Engineers
Stephan and Michael Sweet - Arrangers
Eddy Schreyer - Mastering
Robert Sweet - Cover design
Brian Ayuso - Art direction
Ray Brown - Costume design

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