A Conversation With Michael Sweet, A Look At His New Solo Album and the 30th Anniversary of Stryper’s To Hell With The Devil.
Stryper is back on the road and will be making a stop in Indianapolis, October 29, at the Old National Centre.
Think back to the heavy metal scene in 1986. Bands had more hair than your girlfriend, spandex and leather were everywhere. The sunset strip invaded our living rooms and young minds courtesy of Mtv and their revolving door of coverage of bands like Motley Crue, Van Halen and Poison who were living the clichéd rock and roll lifestyle right in front of us. Then, roughly at the same time of year as I write this, a band came out that crushed the stereotype and broke the decadent mold that was sex, drugs and rock and roll.
Stryper, with their release To Hell With The Devil, showed that all one really needed from that equation was rock and roll. Breakout hits like “To Hell With The Devil” and “Honestly” were played everywhere and the world was introduced to perhaps one of the best vocalists to ever pick up a microphone, lead singer Michael Sweet.
While this wasn’t the bands first album, it is the one that garnered them national attention, and showed that heavy metal music didn’t have to be solely about debauchery in all it’s forms. It could be uplifting and positive. Thirty years and multiple albums later, Stryper are back on the road to celebrate the 30th anniversary of this ground breaking album.
Michael has also released a new solo album that came out August 26, One Sided War.
This album is perhaps Sweet’s best work to date. Heavier than previous releases and properly cemented in blazing guitar riffs, this album hints at some of the classic metal that shaped him as an artist. Even though the album is heavier, Sweet’s voice provides the perfect balance of melody to the guitar punishment provided by Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake) and Ethan Brosh while the rhythm provided by Will Hunt (Evanescence) and John O’Boyle provides a consistency that continually drives the album forward.
“Bizarre” starts the album and sets the non-stop energetic pace that the album takes on. “Who Am I” is perhaps the mellowest song on the album and is more of power ballad, while “Radio” and “One Way Up” capture that gritty bluesy sound that you feel in your gut. “Can’t Take This Life”, a duet, showcases teenage sensation Moriah Formica. Her power, especially for her age, is so complimentary to Michael that you would never guess this is from a 16 year old. “I Am” is perhaps my favorite, it’s heavy riff is melodic and infectious to a point that I find myself playing it over and over.
Michael Sweet never compromises on his beliefs, which brings instant honesty and credibility to his work that is both uplifting and refreshing. One Sided War is no exception and is a truly exceptional album, and in my opinion is a must have.
Michael recently took time out of his busy schedule to speak with me. You can listen to that interview here.