Sweet & Lynch, Only to Rise
Michael Sweet is busier now than he’s ever been. After Stryper released No More Hell to Pay, arguably their best album, in November 2013, Sweet released a long-awaited solo album last year, and now this collaboration with George Lynch. Stryper have also reportedly started working on their follow-up to No More Hell to Pay. Like I said, busy.
Sweet doesn’t sing as high as he used to — not because he can’t do it (he can), but to make those high notes stand out when he does hit them — and I actually prefer his vocal style now to his ’80s heyday with Stryper. While his range hasn’t decreased by any measurable amount, his voice sounds fuller and more muscular, and those high notes — when he hits them — sound more incredible.
I was never a huge Dokken fan, but I could appreciate Lynch’s guitar mastery, and he hasn’t lost anything, either. Every song has some special flourish, and the riffs and solos are just — well, “tasty” is the word that comes to mind. I’ve listened to it several times now, and I hear something new each time.
The rhythm section of Brian Tichy (drums) and James Lomenzo (bass) is solid. They don’t do anything flashy, and that’s just fine. This isn’t a progressive rock album where everyone is out to show just how proficient they are on their instrument of choice (not that there’s anything wrong with that…). This is a down ‘n dirty, guitar-driven, hard rock album, with plenty of groove and swagger. Topped off by Sweet’s amazing vocals.
Lyrically, this is a positive album, but there are no blatantly Christian, Stryper-esque songs. This doesn’t bother me one way or the other, but your mileage may vary. If you are a fan of any of the players involved, though, I don’t think you’ll find anything to complain about.
Roll down your windows, crank it up, and hit the road.