Ever since reforming with their original lineup in the late '00s, Stryper have been going full tilt. The Christian hard rockers have released a couple of studio albums and are currently promoting their latest, a cover-centric release called 'The Covering.' On the record, Stryper pay tribute to many of the artists that inspired them when they were just an up and coming band on the Southern California circuit. The disc includes songs by everyone from the Scorpions to UFO, as well as a new original cut called 'God.'

Noisecreep recently spoke with Stryper's founding guitarist-vocalist Michael Sweet about the new album and the band's relationship with their Latin American fans.

"We wrapped up a tour on March 30th and we were supposed to go play Mexico in April, but that didn't work out. It was really disappointing since we love going down there," said Sweet.

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We asked him how big the band was south of the border. "Oddly enough, the response to Stryper is even stronger over there," he replied. "We're not sure why. We did a South American tour around three years ago and another about a year and a half ago, and the numbers, compared to the States, are far superior. Where we have 700-800 people in a club here in America, we'll have 1,500 in South America. At some venues it's even around 4,000-5,000. In Puerto Rico we always do really well, Spain as well. For some reason, Spanish-speaking countries seem to love Stryper.

"The Latino fans more on the passionate side. In Japan they applaud for a few seconds after every song and then stop abruptly. It's all very polite over there. So if American fans are in the middle, and Japanese ones are more reserved, I would put the people at the Latin American shows on the other side of the spectrum."

Fans at concerts in the US raise their lighters during power ballads, but apparently, we have nothing on the fervor displayed by Latin American audiences. "I remember when we played Puerto Rico for the first time, there were fans spraying hairspray cans and then lighting the aerosol with lighters," says Sweet. "So from my point of view on stage, all I saw was a sea of flames stretching two feet into the sky. It was insane and a bit scary [laughing]."

Stryper's new album, 'The Covering,' is out now.

Watch a video of Stryper live in South America

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