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Orange County, CA — Popular 1980s Christian Heavy Metal band Stryper announced over the weekend that they are mounting a comeback tour with a what some are calling an ironic twist: a satanic theme. According to long-time band leader Michael Sweet, it was the sensible thing to do.

“We’ve done a lot of soul-searching over the past year,” said Stryper lead singer Mr. Sweet on his Facebook page, “and it’s time to take the band in a new direction into the depths of Satanism and other dark forces. We’ve been following the Lord since the early 80s, and frankly the Devil made us a better offer. And besides, ever since Petra ‘went dark’ a few years back, they’ve got all of our gigs. So the time is now to embrace the delights of eternal damnation.”

The announcement sent shock waves through the Christian Rock community who had long-held Stryper as one of the rock acts who could cut it in both the sacred and secular music communities.

“I’m just so sad to hear Stryper is doing this,” said Ed James, 47 of Concord, CA who has been a Stryper fan since finding Jesus in 1984 and saw the band perform at the Concord Pavilion in 1985. “I know the temptations of Satan are great, but I just don’t understand this. I’ve already melted all of my Petra records. I guess Stryper is next.”

According to Mr. Sweet, they’re not going to go “full-tilt” Slayer on the first tour, referring to the iconic thrash metal band of the same name, but rather they are going to gently roll-out the new themes over a couple our years.

“Yeah, well we’ve thought this through,” continued Mr. Sweet. “We just can’t go to our fans with the Angel of Death talk, we have to gradually incorporate the themes into out songs and show slowly. That’s how you really convert people, you make them think it was their idea to begin with.”

According to the band’s website, their Going to Hell tour will start this July to support an upcoming album release of the same name. Rumors of Slayer opening for the band have not been confirmed at the time of this writing.