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Ten - Michael Sweet

Known around the world as the voice of Stryper, Michael Sweet is still bellowing his powerful words of faith with incredible strength and exuberance. But, Michael Sweet has proven to be a significant force in the hard rock and heavy metal genre by exhibiting much more than just his vocal abilities. He is the primary songwriter on most of the Stryper material, he’s a producer, and he’s one of the most underrated guitarists in the world. 

On this album, his tenth solo effort, Michael Sweet delivers on every facet of his talents. The production is top notch, the singing is unsurprisingly strong and sharp, and the guitar sound is tight and creative. But, even with all of that firing on all cylinders, you still need to write good songs for those things to reside and thrive. The songwriting aspect of Michael’s arsenal just might be his most powerful weapon.

With multiple guests stepping in to accompany him throughout the album, Sweet has designed these songs so that they feature each guest but are still focused and solid. The songs stay the course and never suffer just to accommodate a guest. Every guitar solo is carefully placed, and the vocal harmonies expertly executed. The wonderful thing about the songwriting here is that things are rarely simple, but yet the songs always sound comfortable. A song like “Shine” as all kinds of harmony vocals spread around and an extraordinarily complex guitar solo, but none of it feels like it’s out of place or “floating on top of the mix.” All of those elements lay comfortably embedded into the song. There are all kinds of intricate pieces added to these songs as artistic accents as well. The underlying guitar riff during the verses of “Forget Forgive” is something that keeps its distance from the spotlight, but it is something that adds tremendous depth and mood. The song wouldn’t be the same without it, and Sweet has a knack for adding the perfect amount of these seasonings to the tasty dishes he cooks up.

As I mentioned, there are a number of talented guest musicians stomping around on this one. Most notable for me was the duet with Queensryche singer Todd La Torre. I thought the bombast of two singers that live in the high register might overpower the song, but having them side-by-side brought out the differing vocal tones, and it ends up being captivating. But again, the song is precise and well written. There are a number of guest guitarists here, which is something that also had potential of being too over-the-top. But not only do these songs remain undamaged, they receive added flair because of names like Ethan Brosh, Tracii Guns, and Joel Hoekstra, to name only a few.

In recent years, I think Michael Sweet has done his best work. Starting with No More Hell To Pay for Stryper and I’m Not Your Suicide in the solo catalog, Sweet’s songwriting as well as his playing has gotten grittier and more passionate. Not exactly sure what took place around 2013 and 2014, but whatever it was has had a lasting effect that makes everything with the Michael Sweet name something that needs to be heard.


Turning It Up To Ten: 
The Michael Sweet Interview

In this conversation with Stryper frontman Michael Sweet, you'll hear him talk about his latest solo album, Ten. Michael discusses the details of the recording process as well as the many guest musicians that are featured on the album.You'll hear him talk about the health of Stryper guitarist Oz Fox, the possibilities of another Sweet & Lynch record, and if we might see a solo tour.
Click the play button below and hear the straight forward truth from one of the legends of heavy metal, Michael Sweet. 

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