Released by: Frontiers Records
Release Date: Out Now!!!
1) Better Part of Me (featuring Jeff Loomis of Arch Enemy)
2) Lay It Down (featuring Marzi Montazeri)
3) Forget, Forgive (featuring Howie Simon)
4) Now Or Never (featuring Gus G of Firewind)
5) Ten featuring (Rich Ward of Fozzy)
6) Shine (featuring Ethan Brosh)
7) Let It Be Love
8) Never Alone (featuring Joel Hoekstra of Whitesnake)
9) When Love Is Hated (featuring Joel Hoekstra of Whitesnake)
10) Ricochet (featuring Tracii Guns of LA Guns)
11) With You Till The End (featuring Mike Kerr and Ian Raposa from Firstbourne)
12) Son Of Man (featuring Todd La Torre of Queensryche and Andy James)
While I’ve always been a fan of his music, Michael Sweet has always been a bit of an anomaly for me. The early days of Stryper tended to be lighter fare with moments of metallic bite, whereas the reunited and rejuvenated Stryper seem to be channeling their inner metalhead while still praising God. His solo albums have kind of followed that same path where early on he tapped more into a pop/Praise sound and now has come full circle to a heavier edge, and at times seems to be heavier than Stryper in places. His last effort, One Sided War, was a powerhouse release. Sweet is back with his tenth solo album simply called Ten.
Ten seems to be a return to his Stryper roots in places sonically while also maintaining the heavy side of his music. It is a much more subdued album than One Sided War, but subdued doesn’t necessarily mean it lacks bite. There’s really only one slow song on the album, “Let It Be Love,” while the rest waivers between the turbocharged Judas Priest inspired sound of tracks like “Better Part of Me” and “Son of Man,” to the more catchy tracks like “Shine” and “When Love Is Hated” that could easily fit on some of the early day Stryper albums. Sweet’s voice is sounding stronger than ever and continues to prove that he has figured out how to keep his voice sounding better than ever.
While I find Ten to not be as strong as One Sided War, I still think it is a fantastic album. I like the fact that Michael Sweet isn’t afraid to do what he wants on his albums. Ten feels to me as if it is a more retrospective Michael Sweet, hitting various key points of his career, whether it was paying tribute to his heroes to hitting the high spots of his own bands. Sweet is an unsung icon in the world of Hard Rock/Metal and deserves to be recognized as such. As a fan, each new album he releases, no matter the project, is an exciting moment for me. I look forward to hearing what he has going on in his mind musically. Even though it might not be his best effort, Ten is still an album well worth your time and attention.
Written by: Chris Martin