Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Lesser of two evils

The Lesser of two evils for this month is between two LA based bands who started up in the mid 1980's. So we have .....

Keel-The right to rock
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Stryper-The Yellow and black attack

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So it's Keel's 1985 sophomore album versus Stryper's 1984 debut. One of these was better than I thought and one was very hard for me make it all the way through because of how bad it was. So here we go.

This category is a problem for both bands. Ron Keel can sing at times, but tries way too hard to overcompensate at other times. he puts in off pitch screams at odd moments that add nothing. He also has a deeper voice that sounds very put-on, a bit like a teenager in his room trying to sing like Gene Simmons. Michael Sweet can sing sort of, but my biggest problem with him is that he is just not a hard rock/metal singer. He just doesn't have enough behind his voice for it to work. On some of the sappy songs he just sounds like a 14 year old girl.
Point to Keel

The guitarists for Keel were Bryan Jay and Marc Ferrari and they have a few sparks, but largely everything is just very routine. Way too often there is just not much behind their rhythms. Oz Fox of Stryper has some moments where he routine as well, but more than half of the time he is solid enough and his solos are tight sharp. I was actually surprised by how heavy some of Fox's guitar parts were at times.
Point to Stryper

Rhythm section

Stryper bassist Tim Gaines is okay as is Kenny Chaisson of Keel. The real difference is in the drummers. Dwain Miller of Keel is very much in the background and barely noticeable. Stryper's Robert Sweet on the other hand mixes up some solid beats and has a big, thick sound to his playing.
Point to Stryper

The production of Keel's album is okay, but the production on Stryper is a bit murky. However, Keel have very little originality. I am still surprised that they got the push they did back then because there is very little special here. Stryper's slower songs struggle badly, but their more rock songs were sort of fresh for the time. It's a shame they didn't maintain more of that when they got more popular.
Point to Stryper

Who rocks more?
Stryper's sappy songs are ridiculously sappy. Still there are not that many of them and most of their rock songs are well arranged and I even listened to some of them twice. Stryper's rock songs (6 out of 8 tracks) were not boring and moved along fairly well. On the other hand I struggled mightily at times to make it through The right to rock. It was just surprisingly lame at times.
Point to Stryper

A bit of a blow-out as Stryper ran all over Keel to a tune of 4-1. They say a picture is worth a 1,000 words so the guys in Keel just got blown out by these guys.

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Blogger Daniel said...

One of friends on EbonyFriends.com likes them very much. because they are cool and have nice throats.

1:11 AM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

As much as I don't want to give a nod to Stryper, they weren't THAT bad of a band. I just gave Keel's album a spin a few weeks back (well, not really ... it's a CD) and I, too, was a bit surprised how bad most of it was.

-- david

3:12 AM  
Blogger Fabrulana said...

I once heard a Stryper song but I couldn't say I was too much impressed, so didn't give a listen again.

4:16 AM  
Blogger bob_vinyl said...

I never cared for either, but I did have some respect for Stryper for going out on a limb with the Christian angle. Still Stryper is musically pretty dull. Lucky for them though, they're up against a band as bad as Keel! I pick Stryper.

4:42 AM  
Blogger MrRyanO said...

Wow...I am shocked at the results. While you make some excellent points, I think that Keel wins by default simply for having written the song "The Right To Rock". I found Stryper to be far too "gimmicky" for me...the religion theme topped with all that yellow and black made me vomit multiple times...well, not really, but blah on them. LOL!

Good article, Mark! As always, I enjoyed the heck out of it!

7:19 AM  
Blogger UnHoly Diver said...

I'm sorry, but Stryper and good music don't belong in the same sentence; not even the same hemisphere. They were a huge blight on the metal scene, IMO

7:49 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...


David-I remember Keel as being better back in the 80's, but it's just not happening now.

andre-The vocals are ahrd to take, but some of the music is passable.

bob-Stryper's two albums before To hell with the devil are slightly better than their other material.

rockdog-The yellow and black outfits were horrible. They aren't wearing those on the back of the debut though.

bruce-Good is a relative term here. Stryper are certainly better than Keel to my ears.

8:45 AM  
Blogger captain corky said...

I shamefully admit that I know more than two Stryper songs. They were pretty big for five seconds.

9:29 AM  
Blogger aXe mAn said...

I like both bands!
But Keel is my favorite out of these!

I am surprised on how much everyone hates 80's rock! I thought more people would like it....

2:24 PM  
Blogger The Lone Beader® said...

I am ashamed to say that Stryper was the first concert I ever saw. :(

3:36 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Captain Corky-They did get big for a while.

axe man-I like 80's music too. Still like any time period there was good music and there was bad music.

Lone Beader-You have to start somewhere.

3:48 AM  
Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

not even a question.... Keel

2:48 AM  

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