Stryper front man and lead guitarist Michael Sweet has his biography Honestly releasing soon, and to accompany it, he has released this new solo album.
When first hearing of the plans for it I was thinking perhaps the songs may be somewhat biographical, but it turns out they are not. What we have here is just a great new album that includes guest appearances by Tony Harnell (TNT), Kevin Max (DC Talk), Robert Sweet and Tim Gaines (Stryper), Chris Jericho (Fozzy), Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake/Burning Rain), and Electra Mustaine (yes, the daughter of Megadeth front-man David Mustaine)
With each of his earlier solo rock releases, Michael has touched upon styles from straight forward radio rock (1994 self-titled release), to an acoustic Nashville rock feel (1995’s Real), to slight alternative rock leanings (Truth as well as Stryper’s Reborn – which is reportedly written to be his solo album, then instead being recorded by the whole band). This time around, he doesn’t stray from his styles of the more recent past, and for fans of the heavier Stryper sound, songs like “Taking on the World Tonight,” “Anybody Else” and “Unsuspecting” feel like they could easily have fit the release No More Hell to Pay.
Back around 2003, he released a two song limited edition CD (Miles Away and Strong), both songs of which have been redone here, as well a nice cover of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” — twice actually, counting the bonus version with Electra. While Sweet doesn’t break any new ground here, I think that a good thing. I got what I expected and more — top notch great new tunes from a talented artist, with the cool addition of some great guest appearances. By far the strongest work Michael has done to date.
All in all, this is a great, well rounding release that fans of both Stryper and Michael’s past release should love.