Michael Sweet has one of the most distinct voices in hard rock and heavy metal. When you hear it you know who it is right away... the voice of Stryper! Believe it or not, that can be a problem for some people. Back in the 1970' and 80's when our favorite band's singers released a solo album that usually meant the band would soon be looking for a new vocalist. Now, this isn't the case at all. With bands not touring like they used to, this gives musicians the time to do more, so for me... this release is a bonus... one amazing, sonic bonus.
I loved Sweet's last solo album, ONE SIDED WAR and thought he set the bar pretty high on that one. With 10, he has raised that bar yet again with an amazing, quality release that song for song is up there with his best work, solo or Stryper. Yup... bold statement, but true!
10 has 12 tracks (10 plus 2 bonus) that all offer the listener something different as far as the presentation and style. This has something to do with the many guests that appear on the tracks (see key below for who plays on what), but it has more to do with the artist Sweet is. Sure, Better Part Of Me and Shine have a certain 'yellow and black' to them, but Sweet's voice is a little edgier and a bit lower than normal giving it a different texture that you hear on Lay It Down, Love Is Hated and Son Of Man. Even his guitar tones are also a bit muted and come across very 'old school', giving the album a very classic feel.
Despite the many guests who bring their own unique styles and talents, the entire album comes across very organic and cohesive. Nothing sounds forced and that has so much to do with the production done by Michael Sweet and how everyone did their parts to enhance the song, not take it over or show off. Everything has a chance to breathe and just be heard....
The way that 10 is put together is something I didn't expect. For me, each song was followed by a song as good as the previous. By the time I got to side two (or what would be side two) it was non-stop listening gold with the emotional ballad Let It Be Love, the pop metal of Ricochet and the heavy riffin' of Never Alone.
A little UFO melody, some Black Sabbath riffs, a dash of Sunset Strip flash and a big chunk of heart and soul.... this is 10.
Matman Rating - 5 out of 5 (equals 10, get it?)
For pre-order info - https://www.ratpakrecordsamerica.com/michaelsweet
10 will be released on October 11, 2019 from Rat Pak in the US and Frontiers s.r.l. everywhere else
(track listing and guests)
Better Part of Me (featuring Jeff Loomis of Arch Enemy)
Lay It Down (featuring Marzi Montazeri)
Forget, Forgive (featuring Howie Simon)
Now Or Never (featuring Gus G of Firewind)
Ten featuring (Rich Ward of Fozzy)
Shine (featuring Ethan Brosh)
Let It Be Love
Never Alone (featuring Joel Hoekstra of Whitesnake)
When Love Is Hated (featuring Joel Hoekstra of Whitesnake)
Ricochet (featuring Tracii Guns of LA Guns)
With You Till The End (featuring Mike Kerr and Ian Raposa from Firstbourne)
Son Of Man (featuring Todd La Torre of Queensryche and Andy James)
The Power Chords Podcast is a twice-monthly podcast celebrating rock and metal music of the '70s, '80s, '90s and beyond. The show is co-hosted by Matt Herring and Brian LeTendre.