To Hell With The Devil

Album: To Hell with the Devil (1986)

Songfacts®:

  • This was the title track for the Christian heavy metal band's third album. Lead singer Michael Sweet wrote the song to celebrate God and send a musically unique message to their young fans - Stryper was in the minority when it came to denouncing the devil in metal music. The band's fans were a mix of Christian believers and folks who just liked their music, thanks in large part to their hit "Honestly."

    Looking back on how their music helped spread the Word, Michael Sweet told us: "Those songs, particularly that album is what catapulted the band into crossover mainstream success. So we went from playing theatres to playing arenas and selling three or four hundred thousand units to selling a million and a half units. So it was all of a sudden magnified and multiplied. And because of the effect those songs had on people's lives, the changing power of Christ is the music or the lyric or what have you, absolutely. And people look back and say, 'Okay, To Hell with the Devil, man, I remember that in my junior year. And I heard that song and I went and saw the band and I accepted the Lord and it changed my life.'"
  • The band's hard rock image and in-your-face Christianity sparked much debate in Christian circles. While their metalhead fans adored them, Stryper were denounced from pulpits and picketed at their concerts. To Hell with the Devil meanwhile was a commercial success, spending over 40 weeks on Billboard's Top 200 album chart, a remarkable achievement at the time for an overtly Christian band. It became the first contemporary Christian album to sell over a million copies and it remained the best selling Christian Metal LP until P.O.D.'s Satellite in 2001.
  • Stryper took their name from a Bible verse Isaiah 53: 5, which says "….by His stripes we are healed." Stryper they explained was an acronym meaning "Salvation Through Redemption Yielding Peace, Encouragement and Righteousness."

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