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| 14 September 2016 | Reply


Label: Rat Pak Records

Release Date: August 26, 2016

Rating: 8.5/10

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

Michael Sweet’s voice is instantly recognizable, regardless of the material he sings… Stryper, Boston, or solo stuff.  His voice has graced eleven new tracks on his latest release One Sided War from Rat Pak Records, with a bonus track tossed in for good measure.  Disc opener “Bizarre” comes blazing at you with guitar licks and a furious tempo that seems harder than the typical fare for Sweet, but in line with what he has done over the last couple years including a disc with George Lynch.  The vocals are huge and perfectly layered at the bridge building a wall of sound.  Title track “One Sided War” is a cool rocker that blends together the different sounds and grooves we have come to expect from Michael.  The chugging riffs build the perfect platform for his vocals, which lift the track to another level at the bridge and chorus.  “Radio” is a funny track that has a lot of tongue in cheek lyrics… now to figure out which rockers he is pointing the finger at when he sings about writing a country song and hitting the radio.  “Only You” is a very strong song that seems to bring Michael’s legacy to 2016, with rock flavor from his day job in Stryper, heavier guitar work from his side project with Lynch, and a modern twist on a classic rock sound.  “Who Am I” blends a ballad-like vocal with a heavier bottom-ended musical track, giving this song an emotional urgency that cannot be ignored.  The way Sweet seems to caress the lyrics from line to line let you know how important this track is to him on some level.  “Comfort Zone” kicks off with a fun sounding riff that builds until the vocal hits… and hits hard.  This is one of the stronger vocals on the disc and is one more example of Sweet and his vocal staying power through the years.

“Can’t Take This Life” is a killer song and one of my favorites on the disc.  The chugging riffs that combine with the various guitar licks and solos are the perfect backdrop for the soaring lead vocal from Michael.  The strength of his voice comes through, especially at the bridge.  This song gets the duet treatment as a bonus track when Moriah Formica joins Sweet for an even better rendition of the track that ranks up there with anything he has recorded up to know in my opinion.  “Golden Age” is another solid rocker that offers up a killer tempo that seems to be the direction of most songs on the disc.  The vocals are a little more tempered compared to others on this collection, but the two ends of the spectrum that grace the chorus gives this song a different feel.  “I Am” is a heavier sounding rocker that brings thunderous drums and a pounding bass line to the table and evens delivers a grittier vocal that Sweet normally offers up.  The guitar work is cool and a bit different from other tracks on the disc.  “You Make Me Wanna” brings a tribal groove to the collection with cool drumming and chugging riffs blended nicely in the mix with the lead vocals.  The layered background vocals at points during the verse and chorus give the song a bit of depth and punch.  Disc closer “One Way Up” is another classic sounding track that has a cool vibe woven through it.  The guitar work is some of the best on the disc, while the rhythm section perfectly anchors the mood and cadence of the song.  This song is proof that Sweet can still rock with the best of them.

Tracklisting: Bizarre – One Sided War – Can’t Take This Life – Radio – Golden Age – Only You – I Am – Who Am I – You Make Me Wanna – Comfort Zone – One Way Up






Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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