Michael Sweet – “Ten”
Label: Rat Park Records
Review: Dawn Osborne
Gotta love a man who is not afraid to fly the flag of metal loud and proud. Indeed in a recent interview Michael Sweet noted that his music has probably got heavier as he has got older. How’s that for showing the world that over time he has grown in power and intensity.
Believe it or not this is Michael’s tenth solo release. He continues to show that he never runs short of ideas or energy having written and produced all the songs on the album (with two songs, ‘Never Alone’ and ‘When Love is Hated’,co-written with Joel Hoekstra). And despite being known as a front man, Michael has said he regards himself as a guitar player first. The album demonstrates that some of his solos, like on the ballad ‘Let it Be Love’, his work can indeed rival the best. Indeed while there’s a streak of modesty in inviting a host of guitar luminaries to play on the album it also makes the point nicely that he can keep up with them all.
Gus G (Firewind) plays on ‘Now or Never’ and along with songs like ‘Shine’ has a sense of the power and glory of early Ozzy a la ‘Diary of a Madman’ (while the latter has an extract from ‘Carmine Burana’). ‘Son of Man’ is another epic track on which Todd La Torre of Queensryche also stars, and with two of the most powerful metal voices around it’s not surprising that it is probably the richest song, harmony-wise on the album. Once again Michael is not afraid to work with the best to produce the best. As with Stryper, if you are alert to it, the religious content of the songs is clear, but also subtle. So if you are not of that frame of mind it will not stop you enjoying all the great music. And some tracks such as ‘Ricochet’ with Tracii Guns are just great hard rock tunes, pure and simple with no discernible religious message.
Michael is a man who will never lose his love of great metal and its ability to move the soul. This is not music for the mundane. Listen and be impressed.