Michael Sweet – Ten (2019)

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Michael Sweet is a busy man.  It’s seems that every couple of months there’s a new release featuring the prolific musician.  That is an exaggeration, but it’s true that Sweet is very prolific, with his new solo outing, Ten (aptly titled, being that this is his tenth solo record), coming hot on the heels of Strypers latest effort, the excellent, God Damn Evil.

What?  You don’t listen to Sweet or Stryper because “Christian metal isn’t for you”? Well, I’m here to tell you that you’re missing out, because Michael Sweet is an amazing singer, songwriter and guitarist – one of the best of his generation in fact.

Yes, religion and faith come in to play in the lyrical content, because while the subject matter on tracks like Ten, Better Part of Me and  Son of Man might not exactly appeal to you, keep an open mind and check them out anyway.  The music is full of screeching guitars, galloping riffs and exceptional vocals.  Sweet really is an underrated vocalist.

Ten features a who’s who of guests including Tracii Guns, Todd La Torre, Rich Ward, Jeff Loomis, Joel Hoekstra, Gus G and Will Hunt among others, all adding their own signature stamp to the record.

Check out a track like Love is Hated for a great example of Sweets vocals, ranging from down low and bluesy to soaring high notes.  Likewise for Ricochet.

Then there’s the guitars.  Chugging on Forget, Forgive and Lay it Down, superbly catchy on tracks like Shine and Never Alone, and completely gentle on Let it Ne Love.

The Iron Maiden like gallop of Son of Man coupled with the stunning Todd La Torre vocal duet makes it a hard track to ignore.  It’s a brilliant closing number, and a highlight of a very good album for me.  There’s not a track on here that I don’t like, actually.

If you choose to write this one off because it’s “Christian Metal”, then you just don’t know what you’re missing out on, because it’s so much more.

9/10

Shayne McGowan.

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