Walmart is refusing to stock the new Stryper album, God Damn Evil, citing "concerns over the album title," according to a press release issued by the band.

As frontman Michael Sweet tells UCR, that's just fine.

"I don't think it'll make a bit of difference. Our audiences will get the album one way or another, with or without Walmart," he says. "We're just enjoying the ride and what God is doing. It's amazing!"

The band members anticipated in advance that the title could cause some issues, and Sweet addressed the decision to go with the controversial name when the record was first announced.

"We thought long and hard about this title," he said at that time. "It was actually considered quite a few years ago and it just didn't feel like the right time. Now, with all the evil in the world that we see around us on a daily basis, it made perfect sense."

Walmart's decision to not carry the new album, which is in stores this week, misses the point of what the band intended to accomplish with the LP's title. "Stryper has always been about making people think outside the box," Sweet says. "Our new album title, God Damn Evil, is a statement that's needed in our society. We've seen evil rise to new levels, and this title is simply a prayer request asking God to damn or condemn all the evil around us. Many chains have joined us in making such a statement. Walmart unfortunately has not."

Flashing back to 1990 when Stryper released their Against the Law album, it was clear just from looking at the back cover that the band was on a similar mission to turn a few heads. “A lot of that was just based on our hearts and attitudes at the time. We were definitely in a very rebellious state towards Christians and towards the mainstream,” Sweet says now. “Because we were just kind of tired of people trash-talking us and not being accepted in any club or niche or however you want to phrase it. That was the album for all of those people.

Nearly 30 years later, God Damn Evil hardly finds Stryper mellowing with age. “We wouldn’t have it any other way,” Sweet says. “I think all of those people out there who say that we’re wimps and we’re this and we’re that, it’s fuel for our raging fire.”

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