At this point, nearly every heavy metal fan knows who Michael Sweet is. With Stryper, the man has cemented his legacy as one of the important voices of metal. What fans might not know, is that he also has 7 solo records to his credit. Count me among the uneducated as up to now I haven’t heard any of ‘em. That said, I took the opportunity to listen to a couple of advance tracks from ONE SIDED WAR and was surprised at how heavy and downright awesome they were. After that, I wasted no time in procuring myself a copy of the album.
Now that I’ve heard the whole album multiple times, I’m happy to report that those advance rippers (“Bizarre” and “Golden Age”) were not misleading: ONE SIDED WAR is chock full of heavy metal and hard rock cuts; most of which would not sound out of place on a Stryper record. Indeed, if Stryper released this as their next album, few would bat an eye. That’s not to discredit the album in any way; it’s hugely impressive that Sweet is still writing such high-quality songs this deep into his career.
Where the album deviates from Stryper is in some of the more rock-orientated songs, such as the ironic “Radio” or the almost Southern-rocking “One Way Up”. Of course, there are a couple of ballads, but much of the album is pure metal like the title track and the previously mentioned pair of heavy cuts.
As the obvious focal point, Sweet puts in a charismatic and flawless performance as both vocalist and guitarist. There’s not much else to say; ONE SIDED WAR is a completely satisfying album that somehow will please both Sweet’s solo career fans, as well as Stryper fanatics.
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