Veteran Christian hard rock band Stryper, which logged its first of 15 appearances on Billboard‘s Top Christian Albums chart in 1984, earns its first No. 1, as Even the Devil Believes blasts in at the summit (on the Sept. 19-dated survey).
The set starts with 10,000 equivalent album units earned in its first week, ending Sept. 10, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data.
“After 36 years of recording and releasing music, we’re so humbled to have our first album top the chart,” founding member and lead vocalist Michael Sweet tells Billboard. “We’ve worked very hard over the years, but I don’t know if we’ve ever worked harder than we did for Even the Devil Believes. We’ve seen good times and bad times. We’ve persevered through it all, and to finally have a No. 1 makes it all worthwhile. We’re so grateful and thankful for everyone who has helped to make this possible. Here’s to 36 more.”
Stryper first reached Top Christian Albums with The Yellow and Black Attack, which debuted in November 1984 and reached No. 10 the following June, marking the outfit’s first of 11 top 10s.
Even the Devil Believes follows God Damn Evil, which started and peaked at No. 2 on Top Christian Albums in May 2018 with 8,000 units.
A bit of drama surrounded the retail launch of the latter LP, which Walmart refused to sell it due to its title. “It’s confusing to see all the music on Walmart shelves with explicit labels, yet they won’t carry Evil, which is a prayer asking God to condemn evil,” Sweet told Billboard at the time.
Sweet boasts one solo No. 1 on Top Christian Albums, as One Sided War, his seventh solo studio set, opened atop the tally in September 2016.
MORE THAN ‘ALRIGHT’: Tye Tribbett’s “We Gon’ Be Alright” rises 2-1 on Gospel Airplay, up by 11% in plays in the week ending Sept. 13.
Tribbett tallies his second Gospel Airplay leader and first since 2006, when “Victory” began a three-week reign that September. His first entry, “Everything Part l, Part ll,” hit No. 6 in July 2005, awarding him his first of seven career top 10s.