Stryper front man and lead guitarist Michael Sweet has his biography, “Honestly,” releasing soon (plug: co-written by former HM Owner Doug Van pelt), and to accompany it, he has released this new solo album. When I first heard the plans for it, I thought the songs may be somewhat biographical, but they are not. What we have here is just a great new album that includes guest appearances by Tony Harnell (T.N.T.), Kevin Max (D.C. Talk), Robert Sweet and Tim Gaines (Stryper), Chris Jericho (Fozzy), Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake/Burning Rain), and Electra Mustaine.
With each of his earlier solo rock releases, Sweet has touched upon styles from straight forward radio rock (1994 self-titled release) to an acoustic Nashville rock feel (1995’s Real) to slight alternative rock leanings (Truth, as well as Stryper’s Reborn, which was rumored to be a solo album written before being recorded by the whole band).
He doesn’t stray from his past styles, and for heavy Stryper fans, songs like “Taking on the World Tonight,” “Anybody Else” and “Unsuspecting” feel like they could easily have fit the No More Hell to Pay release. Around 2003, he released a two-song limited edition record (“Miles Away” and “Strong”), both of which have been redone here, as well as a nice cover of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold.”
All in all, this is a great, well-rounded release that fans of both Stryper and Sweet’s past releases should love.