Monday, January 19, 2015
Sweet and Lynch "Only to Rise"
To be honest, I have never been the biggest Stryper or Dokken fan, especially Dokken. Go watch one of those Dokken videos from the 80s. They are all prime examples of ridiculously cheesy hair metal videos. However, Michael Sweet from Stryper and George Lynch who used to play in Dokken and has been involved countless other projects, are both very talented musicians.
I may not particularly enjoy some of their past work with certain bands, but I will say that these men have had long careers and worked hard to get to where they are now musically. Both guys are rock veterans with many years of experience, and getting them together to work on an album is not a bad idea.
Sweet and Lynch offer listeners a well rounded rock and roll release. Also, accompanying them on this album are two other very talented musicians with impressive backgrounds. On bass you have James Lamenzo who used to play in White Lion and Megadeth. Behind the drum kit you have Brian Tichy who has worked with numerous rock and metal acts such as Whitesnake, Ozzy and Billy Idol. All around the band is full of talent and the songs definitely capture this group’s solid musical chemistry.
I was particularly impressed with the songwriting on this album. You hear very straight forward classic rock songs with bit of an eighties classic metal touch. George’s guitar can created some graceful sounding riffs while Michael’s voice provides the perfect melodic touch. There are also times when George can crank out a ripping guitar solo. In the eighties George may have looked like a cave troll that over did it with the hair spray, however, the guy always knows how to lay down a decent sounding solo.
The songs on this album are solid to the core and the opening track, “The Wish,” sets the tone for want is to be heard on the rest of the album. Sometimes the songs take on this heavenly and rather soothing sound classic rock vibe. Now mind you, there are some crushing hard rock moments like on the songs, “Time Will Tell,” “Divine” and “Hero-Zero.” George can create these bluesy sounding rock riffs that make way for Michael's powerful sounding vocals. Say what you want about Stryper’s old yellow and black outfits, Michael can still sing and he injects so much emotion into each song. The song, “September,” is extremely moving and overall just a well constructed piece of rock music.
In the end, I think that every song on this album is written with complete musical consideration. If you are looking for a good sounding hard rock release, this album is well worth your attention. All the musicians in this group dig deep to find their best inner musical talents. I recommend listeners forget their past opinions about some of the musicians’ former bands (Dokken), because this release is something that really took me by surprise. I am glad that their are still musicians who are writing music with substance, and they can also play their instruments pretty darn well too. Unfortunately, they can’t erase those outrageous photos from the 80s.