Back in the 1980s, Stryper raised a storm of controversy by harnessing the power of heavy metal in the service of Christian ministry. Nearly 30 years later, the band returns to the wellspring of its musical inspiration on The Covering, an album’s worth of classic metal cover tunes. Michael Sweet and his band mates reach all the way back to the early ‘70s for these tracks and render them with the blazing fervor they deserve. Songs with spiritual implications — like Kansas’ “Carry On Wayward Son” and Black Sabbath’s “Heaven and Hell” — feel like natural choices. Party-hearty anthems like KISS’ “Shout It Out Loud” and Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” likewise fit the life-affirming spirit that the band has always maintained. Whatever the song, Stryper displays a sure sense of bombastic showmanship, spearheaded by Sweet’s piercing vocal heroics and punctuated by Oz Fox’s fret-frying guitar riffage. Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” is a particularly good vehicle for the band’s grandiose flair. The Covering’s sole original tune, “God,” is an arena-rocking reminder of Stryper’s unshakable commitment to its faith.