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Michael Sweet – One Sided War Review

Released by: Rat Pak Records

Release Date: August 26th, 2016

Genre: Melodic Hard Rock

Links: http://www.michaelsweet.com/

 

Line Up:

Michael Sweet
Joel Hoekstra
Will Hunt
John O’Boyle
Ethan Brosh

 

Tracklist:

01. Bizarre
02. One Sided War
03. Can’t Take This Life
04. Radio
05. Golden Age
06. Only You
07. I Am
08. Who Am I
09. You Make Me Wanna
10. Comfort Zone
11. One Way Up
12. Can’t Take This Life

 

Michael Sweet is a name synonymous in the hard rock/metal world as the frontman of the Christian band Stryper. Easily one of the most successful CCM bands ever, at least on the harder side of things, and in my estimation at least, one of the very best. With 11 top notch studio releases from the band since 1984’s debut The Yellow and Black Attack all the way to last years Fallen, all of which from first, last and in between contain some amazing songs, he has also eked out a pretty nice solo career as well. There was, of course, a period of time when Stryper was dormant so it stands to reason a musician and songwriter of the caliber of Sweet isn’t going to sit back and not create some music. 1992 saw his first foray into the solo world with his EP Unstryped which I can’t really say set the pace of his solo recordings, because each one stands on its own, Michael daring to stretch his abilities into varying styles, demonstrating he’s no one trick pony. Never fully achieving the same level of success as Stryper as a solo artist, he has none-the-less proved any naysayers his talents are beyond anyone’s reckoning.

August will see the release of One Sided War, his seventh solo album, and without any hesitation, his best…depending on ones preferences of course. Though it might not appeal across the board to his fans of his more mellow solo offerings, beyond a shadow of a doubt One Sided War is is heaviest album, rivaling the power of most of Stryper’s catalog. Initially, the plan was for Sweet to showcase his own guitar talents, which are quite amazing, as well as make a more straight ahead metal album. He achieved the second part, but when he brought in Joel Hoekstra of Night Ranger and Whitesnake fame and an unknown shredder in Ethan Brosh he soon found that these two offered more than enough six string calisthenics. Perhaps next time Sweet will get the chance to show off his chops fully. Joining this trio was also drummer Will Hunt from Evanescence and bassist John O’Boyle, both adding their own stamp to the sound, giving the whole album a truly cohesive feel to it. Clearly the showcase of the album is going to be Michael’s songs and his still amazingly powerful voice. On tracks like “Golden Age,” “Bizarre,” and “Comfort Zone” the metallic bravado is evident, at times reminding one of metal giants like Maiden and Dio, with thundering riffs, blazing solos and soaring vocals, Michael Sweet definitively shows he can be just as heavy as the next metal band.

For me, as a lifelong fan, I go into a Michael Sweet solo album the same way I would say Dennis DeYoung formerly of Styx: I know that the music will be similar enough to their primary band to appease that portion of my fandom while at the same time trying out new things. Not all of them have worked for me 100% solo wise, but Sweet has consistently put out very intriguing albums. One Sided Army is definitely very much on the same trajectory as Stryper the last few albums, getting heavy as time goes on, and getting even better. This will be another close contender as one of my favorites of 2016.

The new album showcases a full plate of hard rock & classic metal riffs that Michael Sweet has come to be known for throughout his illustrious musical career. The album is available for pre-order at: http://ratpakrecordsamerica.com/michaelsweet.

 

Reviewer: Chris Martin

Rating:  9/10

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