RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Michael Sweet – One Sided War
Rat Pak Record

Rating: B 

While Michael Sweet is most known as the leader of Christian rockers Stryper, he has released seven solo efforts and even spent time in that little old band called Boston.

One Sided War, his latest solo album, is hands down his best.  This sucker has massive guitar playing as Sweet, who is no slouch on the six-string, is joined by Whitesnake’s Joel Hoekstra.  Evanescence drummer Will Hunt, and bassist John O’Boyle make up the rhythm section, while East Coast shred-master Ethan Brosh adds even more guitar pyrotechnics.  This sucker flat out rocks!

Musically it’s my heaviest solo album. It’s not thrash metal but there are definitely some songs on there that will pop out at you. There are some songs that have a bit of the Iron Maiden / Dio feel to them, as well as some songs that have a little bit of a Van Halen influence to them. It’s a very guitar-oriented, hard rock/metal album with lots of melodies and hooks,” explains Michael Sweet.

The album wastes no time bashing in one’s skull as album opener “Bizarre” sets the stage with blistering guitar riffs and solos. “One Way” would be the radio smash if this were 1988 while “Golden Age” and “I Am” are plodding rockers who show the heavy side Sweet described above.  “Who Am I?” is a ballad with balls.  The song is softer than the rest, but that attitude and emotion ring out with as much flair as the distorted guitar chords coming out of the left side speaker.

The CD also contains a bonus track where Sweet sings a duet with 16-year-old up-and-coming female vocalist Moriah Formica.  She has some pipes and has no problem keeping up with her older, wiser counterpart.  The song has a cool riff and a galloping drumbeat that will resonate with Michael’s fans.

It is nice to see the guy known for sending Satan back to the big furnace putting out some heavier songs. He retains that vocal durability that sets him apart from the Vince Neil’s of the world and seems to be entering a very creative phase in his craft.

Michael is a talented singer, guitarist and an interesting songwriter.  So much so, I am starting to believe his solo efforts are much more intense and unique than anything he ever did while in the black and yellow bee outfit.

This one has attitude.

The Track listing
1)   Bizarre
2)   One Sided War
3)   Can't Take This Life
4)   Radio
5)   Golden Age
6)   Only You
7)   I Am
8)   Who Am I
9)   You Make Me Wanna
10) Comfort Zone
11) One Way Up
12) Can't Take This Life (*bonus track* featuring  Moriah Formica)

By Jeb “To Hell With The Devil” Wright