Throughout rock history, all great bands spawn quite a bit of similar-sounding offspring -- and the mighty Van Halen were no different. Throughout the '80s, a plethora of VH disciples appeared on the scene -- many of which happened to also hail from the same locale, Hollywood. Musically, Stryper were quite similar to the Van Halen boys, but vocally, singer Michael Sweet was more a kin to Styx's Dennis DeYoung. The pairing of both styles won Stryper a large following, and for a stretch of several years, scored several MTV hits, all of which are neatly compiled on 2003's 7: The Best of Stryper. While Stryper's lyrical message did not reflect either the party-hearty (Mötley Crüe) or the "demonic" (W.A.S.P.) bands of the era, they were cut from the same musical cloth. As a result, Stryper were known primarily as a rock band ("Soldiers Under Command," "Free," etc.), even though they also specialized in schmaltzy power ballads ("Honestly," "Lady," etc.). Also, there was the odd moment when both styles merged, such as "Calling On You," and Stryper get credit for the unlikeliest cover tune for a pop-metal band -- Earth, Wind & Fire's "Shining Star" (perhaps only outdone by the Bulletboys tackling Tom Waits' "Hang On St. Christopher"). With all the expected favorites included here, the 18-track 7: The Best of Stryper is a much better Stryper compilation than 1991's paltry Can't Stop the Rock.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Prato