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SWEET & LYNCH Unified

By Daniel Höhr, European Correspondent
Monday, November 27, 2017 @ 1:32 PM


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SWEET & LYNCH
Unified

Frontiers Music Srl, 2017




Michael Sweet has been an extraordinarily busy man in recent years. In the last four years, the STRYPER frontman has released, if I have counted correctly, four albums with STRYPER (The Covering, No More Hell To Pay in 2013, Live At The Whisky in 2014 and Fallen in 2015), two solo albums (I'm Not Your Suicide in 2014 and One Sided War in 2016) and has toured with STRYPER three times – to support No More Hell To Pay in 2014, Fallen in 2016 and to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of STRYPER's seminal To Hell With The Devil album in 2016 to 2017. And in between those projects, the charismatic singer and guitarist also found the time to team up with the iconic guitarist George Lynch (LYNCH MOB, KXM, ex-DOKKEN), bass player James Lomenzo of MEGADETH, WHITE LION and BLACK LABEL SOCIETY fame and drummer Brian Tichy, who has worked with OZZY OSBOURNE, WHITESNAKE, LYNCH MOB and THE DEAD DAISIES. What a line-up. Their 2015 album Only To Rise was highly acclaimed by both fans and the media and now the sequel called Unified has been released through Frontiers Music.

A rocky riff, one of Michael Sweet's signature falsetto notes and – bang! – you're straight in “Promised Land”, a driving heavy metal number showcasting both Lynch's unique guitar playing and Sweets's shining vocals with the occasional falsetto scream posing serious threats to your window panes. “Walk” comes along in a slightly funky fashion but very soon develops into an ultra-melodic anthemic song, somehow reminiscent of the stuff QUEEN used to do, particularly because of the background choir in the chorus. I admit I first had some issues with this song because its different parts didn't really seem to fit together. However, after listening to it a few times, the composition makes perfect sense and, in fact, this is now one of my favorite tracks on the album. “Afterlife” is much darker and more sinister but not less catchy than the previous tracks. It has a slight feel of BLACK SABBATH about it and provides an effectual contrast to the following energy-driven rocker “Make Your Mark”, featuring a rock organ, which gives it a touch of a classic rock song. Once again, Sweet sings at the top of his lungs without giving the impression he doesn't have much headroom left. “Tried & True” is a bluesy ballad with a hymn-like chorus and some great melodic bass playing by James Lomenzo.

The title track, “Unified”, is also more on the slower side. It's mid-tempo, groovy music provide the basis for Sweet's thoughtful and laid-back vocals in the verses. The chorus is enormously catchy and guarantees a high replay factor. “Find Your Way” is a melodic mid-tempo stomper while “Heart Of Fire” provides quite a few moments of 80s riffs and vocals with a refreshingly modern touch to them. “Bridge Of Broken Lies” is another ballad with a bluesy feel and a great guitar solo tempting you to use the repeat button of whatever device you play the album on. The laid-back “Better Man” is a highly melodic and catchy groove before “Live To Die” with its life-affirming message rounds off one of the best rock/metal releases of the year.

I'm seriously impressed with SWEET & LYNCH's sophomore album. Uniquely combining the talents and creativity of two rock and metal masterminds, Unified is bubbling with ideas, is driven by enormous musical energy and sends out clear and positive messages lyrics-wise. The mix of classic rock, touches of blues, heavy metal, stellar playing and Sweet's signature vocals make this album sound fresh, exciting and definitely moreish. It is exactly the excitement and fresh approach on Unified that I somehow missed on Fallen, the last STRYPER effort.

So if you haven't gotten Unified yet, you need to get it now or put it on your wish list for Christmas.

5.0 Out Of 5.0


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