To Hell with the Devil (1986)
In God We Trust (1988)
Their best shot: “To Hell with the Devil”
Street Ready (1989)
Their best shot: “Spirits in the Wind”
Analysis + Geek Points: Leatherwolf has only one album in this tourney (and you could included “The Calling”, a standout from their eponymous debut album a few years prior), but it’s a damn good one that, at least for me, still holds up today. Released in Spring of ’89, Street Ready offers ten versatile hard rockin’ metal tracks executed with what at the time they we’re boasting as their “triple-axe attack” because vocalist Michael Olivieri was also playing guitar solos along with the other two guitarists (fun fact: prior to release I had obtained a promo cassette for this album that featured its three standout songs inter-cut with Olivieri talking in the segues to exclaim the album’s merits).
Stryper has solid, easily digestible riffs and hooky melodies, despite the cheesy Christian lyrics and sometime vocal histrionics. Although they are represented with two albums—and To Hell with the Devil is a strong contender—the number of standout songs—only 8—does not compete well against Leatherwolf’s 10 (+1 from an unranked album). The entire Street Ready album is a bold, solid and consistent challenger against the spotty inconsistency of both of Stryper’s ranked albums.
The Winner: Leatherwolf