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Stryper, 'To Hell With the Devil' (1986)

40. Stryper, 'To Hell With the Devil' (1986)

To Hell With the Devil hits like "Calling on You" and the piano ballad "Honestly" sounded like nothing so much as ultra-melodic odes to a loved one, and they were — only in Stryper's case, that loved one was Jesus. To Hell With the Devil became the first Christian metal record to go Platinum. One of the keys to their success was in how Stryper adopted devices associated with heavier metal — harmonic guitar lines, operatic vocals — and transformed them into delivery systems for sweet pop hooks. Brothers and band founders Michael and Robert Sweet first came to Christianity through the sermons of Jimmy Swaggart; and, ironically, in the wake of To Hell With the Devil's mainstream success, the soon-to-be-disgraced televangelist became one of their fiercest detractors. "It hurt, because we respected him," Michael Sweet said. "But the Bible's very clear: When you judge, you will be judged." R.B.