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Only to Rise

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iTunes Review

The unlikely team-up of Stryper frontman Michael Sweet and ex-Dokken lead guitarist George Lynch yields an album steeped in the arena-shaking heroics of classic ‘80s metal. Only to Rise reflects both the shared musical tastes and divergent spiritual views of its creators in brawny, thought-provoking tunes like “Time Will Tell,” “September,” and “Strength in Numbers.” Sweet’s brash vocals and Lynch’s serene-to-snarling riffage mesh effortlessly, whether the mood is contemplative (“Me Without You”), swaggering (“Dying Rose”), or ferocious (the title track). Christian and secular rock fans alike should find Only to Rise a rousing listen.

Customer Reviews

Worth the Wait

At 50 years old, Michael Sweet is in the middle of one of the most prolific periods of his storied music career. As if a new solo album, a long awaited autobiography and quite possibly the best album of Stryper's 30 year career weren't enough, Sweet has assembled a supergroup of sorts for his latest project, Sweet & Lynch. The Lynch of course refers to legendary guitarist, George Lynch, best known for his pioneering work with 80's metal icons, Dokken, and his own well received, Lynch Mob. Rounding out the band are one of the hardest working (and most talented) drummers in the business, Brian Tichy (Whitesnake, Billy Idol, Foreigner) and the criminally underrated bassist behind such notables as White Lion, Megadeth and Black Label Society, James Lomenzo. It's a formidable group, and Only to Rise delivers on all of it's promise.

After probably a couple dozen spins in the week since it's been released it seems Only to Rise has become a fixture in my car and on my iPod. I'm a life long Stryper fan, but I have to say it's really refreshing to hear Sweet unencumbered by the weight of secular lyrics. Don't get me wrong, you're certainly not going to mistake this album for a new King Diamond record, but I've always wondered what Michael would sound like in a straight forward rock band setting. Sonically it falls somewhere between a Michael Sweet solo album and a Stryper album - not quite at ballad heavy as the former, but not full on metal like the latter.

The opening track, The Wish, is probably the most reminiscent of Sweet's solo work. It's a track that could've easily found a home on Truth or I'm Not Your Suicide. With a catchy hook and a Dokkenesque solo, it's a nice way to kick off the album. If The Wish is a pretty straightforward Sweet tune, George puts his stamp on Dying Rose. You'll find all of the cool, little embellishments over the verse and throughout the chorus that Lynch is known for. While I'm not sure he'd be as well suited I could hear Oni Logan fronting this one on a Lynch Mob album. The band slows things down a bit with a patented Sweet ballad, Love Stays, before breaking into the cool, mid tempo rocker, Time Will Tell, underscored by a great, galloping Lomenzo bass line. Tichy goes John Bonham for the fifth track, Rescue Me, which leads into the most hauntingly beautiful guitar intro (and my current favorite track) for Me Without You. Sweet delivers some of his best vocals here, and although it's a ballad the song also features one of best guitar solos of the album. Recover finds Michael stretching his pipes to hit those Stryper high notes. It's also notable for George's rare use of Wah Pedal. There's a cool dichotomy between the sludgy riff and the melodic chorus of the album's eighth track, Divine, which is followed up by the poignant rocker, September. WTC themed songs are a tricky proposition, and many bands have tried and failed over the last decade to record a meaningful one. Sweet nails it here with a lyric that's inspiring without being too schmaltzy - it's one of the highlights of the album. Strength in Numbers is a solid rallying cry that finds the band joining in on the uplifting chorus. There's not a clunker to be found on Only to Rise, but truth be told if there's one song that underwhelms me a bit it's track eleven, Hero-Zero. Lyrically it's a little cheesy (sorry Michael), but the whole thing is saved by Tichy and Lomenzo's Queensryche inspired groove. If you told me that Scott Rockenfield and Eddie Jackson sat in on this track I wouldn't bat an eye (and I'm a huge QR fan, so that's a very good thing). The Van Halen inspired closer (and title track), Only to Rise, is also the heaviest track on the album, and leaves you wanting more all the way to Tichy's Nick Menza/Paranoid moment.

Sweet & Lynch is legit, and Only to Rise was well worth waiting for. My only beef with the album is that there simply isn't enough of Sweet's guitar playing. I don't think people understand what a great player he is, and I would've loved to have heard him go toe to toe with George in some dual leads. At the end of the day however, I understand that Only to Rise is a song based, rock album and not necessarily geared toward guitar nerds. In that regard it absolutely succeeds. Hopefully there will be an eventual follow up, and we'll be treated to even more.

Amazing

Was there any doubt it'd be awesome? Michael Sweets voice is eternal!

Only To Rise, ONLY THE BEST!

Holy cow this is amazing music! Got "The Wish" and "September" just now. Cranking it up. And can't wait for the rest of this album to be released!

Biography

Formed: Boston, MA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '10s

Based out of Boston, Massachusetts, seasoned hard rock unit Sweet & Lynch is built around the sizeable talents of hard rock/metal legends vocalist Michael Sweet (Stryper) and virtuosic guitar player George Lynch (Dokken, Lynch Mob). Hastened into existence by Frontiers Music president Serafino Perugino, who asked Sweet to lend his distinctive vocals to some sessions he was working on with Lynch, the studio project eventually morphed into a full-on entity with Sweet producing and co-writing songs...
Full Bio
Only to Rise, Sweet & Lynch
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Customer Ratings