Now I’m sticking my neck out with an ageism thing here. But I reckon that if, like me you were (and still probably are) a fan of 80s Hair Metal/AOR, and into bands such as Ratt, Dokken, Stryper, Black N Blue, Joshua, Twisted Sister, fluffy era Whitesnake etc etc, then you are probably in the 39-59 age bracket. Also if, like me, that the above rocked your world, then the coming together of (not only) Michael Sweet of Stryper, and George Lynch of Dokken, but throw in James Lomenzo (White Lion), and the magnificent Brian Tichy (Foreigner/WS/S.U.N.), then that chances are that you would need Tena for Men (and Lady), such is the underpant/knicker wetting prospect of this band coming together! Phew!
Once again Sweet Lynch is the brainchild of Serafino Perugino head of Frontiers Records. Sweet recalls, “He asked me to basically sing on this record and then I suggested producing it and co-wrote the songs with George”, continues the singer. “It’s an incredible combination of classic 70’s and 80’s”, tells Michael Sweet. “You will hear some flavors of Journey, Bad Company, Dokken, Van Halen and Stryper. James and Brian are amazing musicians. They tore it up. The drums and bass are just as impressive as the guitars. Everybody really delivered… The musicianship level on this is top notch. It sounds as if we were all in the studio playing together and we were not. Basically, George wrote some riffs about a minute to a minute and a half long. I wrote lyrics and melodies then arranged them. Then Brian and James came out and tracked the drums and bass, as well as some rhythm stuff. We then sent it back to George to add the guitars.”
On first impression, is more akin to Lynch Mob than Dokken, but add in the unmistakable vocals of Sweet and its given a whole new dimension. Lynch has never probably had a singer so good alongside him (or 2000 miles away as they recorded this separately!) For the past few years Mr Sweet has been on somewhat of a roll, a very good solo album and an excellent Stryper album, and following it up with Only To Rise. It has a different dynamic to Stryper and isn’t an in yer face preachy album, but is a straight down the middle rock album.
‘The Wish’ sounds as if its straight off Michaels solo album INYS, as it has Sweet running thru the whole thing like a stick of ROCK! ‘Dying Rose’ sees more of Lynch’s influence as its straight out of the Lynch Mob school of rock. As the pace was building nicely, S&L throws in the quality ballad ‘Love Stays’. ‘Time Will Tell’s’ chorus shows just how good a voice Sweet has got. The quality remains high throughout the remaining songs, with ‘Hero-Zero’, ‘Recover’, ‘Only To Rise’ and ‘September’ in particular being the pick of the bunch.
‘Only to Rise’, really does rise above the parapet of a lot of mediocrity that’s out there. Melodic Rock is currently on a resurgence and it goes to show that some of the old guard can still mix it with the likes of HEAT, Eclipse, Vega, et al.
I have to say that Sweet and Lynch as individuals are a match made in heaven. It should not be a 2-man show as both Tichy and Lomenzo play their parts to the full. My only gripe? It should have a band name and not just the 2 name pullers here.
One seed to plant to you Serafino, can you please get on the blower to a certain Mr Ritchie Blackmore please and write him a blank cheque for a Rainbow reunion.
Score – 90/100
Sweet & Lynch are
Michael Sweet – Lead Vocals, guitars
George Lynch – Lead Guitars
James Lomenzo – Bass
Brian Tichy – Drums
Sweet & Lynch have made a lyric video for the 9/11 inspired track ‘September’ which can be viewed here:
while an EPK featuring Michael and George discussing the project can be seen here: http://youtu.be/BPYIoe0fTqI.