Guardian - The Yellow & Black Attack Is Back!
GUARDIAN
The Yellow & Black Attack Is Back!
M8
2000

There are tribute discs, and there are tribute discs. Okay, since that opening statement was a bit ambiguous (and therefore, lame), let me rephrase it a bit: There are tribute discs that feature a bunch of bands offering their, let’s just say, unique take on a certain band that may have (or in the case of the other Stryper “tribute” discs, may not have) inspired said band in the past…and then there are tribute discs that feature just one band covering an entire album of songs from a band that has inspired them in the past. The Yellow & Black Attack Is Back! is one such example of the later…and probably the only example, as far as I know…

It makes sense, really, to have a former influential Christian metal band (and before all you post-Buzz grungy-modern-rock-era Guardian fans start protesting…Guardian was a hair metal band. There. Get over it) cover songs from an equally influential- if not downright legendary- Christian metal band: Stryper’s magnum opus, The Yellow & Black Attack EP…

Good choice, too, by the way. While they could have chosen one of Stryper’s better-known, more commercially successful albums To Hell With The Devil comes to mind) to cover as a whole, or even just going the “best-of” route (a bunch of songs from all of their albums), they decided to go with Stryper’s debut EP, where they were a bit more youthful, raw and energetic. What we have here is a true tribute disc- they cover the original six songs from the EP (the two additional songs on the now-standard re-issue were added after T. H. W. T. D. proved that the band could make the label money), keeping true to the spirit of the songs, all the while maintaining Guardian’s own identity. While that’s what I like to hear from bands doing covers (maintaining the integrity of the original while also maintaining their own style), there are minor instances where that actually takes away from the songs. For instance, because Guardian has (or had, anyway) a guitar sound all-together distinctive from that of Stryper, “Loving You” on this disc just doesn’t seem to have the same blistering guitar attack that the Stryper original has. That, and I don’t know if it was just a case of poor mixing, but the drums seem to lack the primitive “BEAT DRUM!” savagery that only a youthful Robert Sweet could produce. Minor quibbles, mind you, but had to be aired…

(…and I’ll bet you’re thinking that I was going to rag on about Jamie Rowe’s vocals as compared to Michael Sweets vocals…NOT SO! I actually prefer Jamie’s vox to Michael’s, as I find Mikie-poo’s vocal style a bit nasal and whiney at times…at least, in the early days anyways…whereas Jamie’s- while being a very powerful metal voice indeed- doesn’t have the tendency to fry the tweeters on my speakers if it’s up too loud…)

Ah, but the spirit of the tribute doesn’t stop their! The actual artwork is a beautiful, if somewhat tongue-in-cheek, mimic of the original “hand-and-missile” on the cover (complete with “Stryper font” logo), and a pasting of the guy’s faces on the Stryper guys on the back.

While now hard to come by, as this was a limited-edition project by a band that technically isn’t around any more, I can’t think of any good, solid reason for a metal head not to try and find this thing. Not only is it a Stryper tribute disc that actually pays tribute to the band, but it’s the rare instance where you’ll hear Guardian make a welcome (albeit brief) return to their metal days. Crank down the window, and crank this disc up (but for the love of Snapple, leave the spandex in the closet)…

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