Michael Sweet, frontman for the multi-platinum rock band Stryper, will release a new full-length solo album, I知 Not Your Suicide, and his first autobiography, Honestly: My Life and Stryper Revealed, on May 6, 2014, via BIG3 Records.
With the upcoming and long-overdue solo album, Sweet is finally delivering the project fans have been patiently waiting for. Self-produced, I知 Not Your Suicide includes special appearances by Tony Harnell (TNT), Kevin Max (dcTalk, Audio Adrenaline), Chris Jericho, Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake), Electra Mustaine (daughter of Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine) and Stryper bandmates Robert Sweet and Timothy Gaines. Legendary drummer Kenny Aronoff played on the record as well.
Sweet is best known as the singer, guitarist, songwriter and producer for Christian rock pioneers Stryper, selling over 10 million albums worldwide. In addition to Stryper, Sweet has had a successful solo career, and he served as the guitarist and co-vocalist for the legendary classic rock band BOSTON from 2007-2011.
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Taking on the World Tonight (featuring Tony Harnell)
All That's Left (For Me To Prove)
The Cause (Single)
This Time (featuring Kevin Max)
I'm Not Your Suicide (co-written with Blair Daly)
How to Live (featuring Robert Sweet and Timothy Gaines of Stryper)
Heart of Gold
Anybody Else (featuring Chris Jericho and Doug Aldrich)
Heart of Gold (featuring Electra Mustaine) **Bonus Track
A Solid Solo Venture| Posted September 01, 2014
Solo albums from lead singers of popular bands always are interesting. It offers a chance to hear our favorite vocalists trying out sounds that might not quite mesh with their bands' established sounds.
Michael Sweet, lead singer of legendary Christian metal band Stryper, is no stranger to solo albums. Stryper's initial run ended with the beginning of a fairly successful solo run for Sweet. Sweet explored solo territory with a classically inspired love songs album with his last solo venture, 2007's Touched. Sweet's kept himself busy with several projects lately, but he still found time for a seventh solo venture with I'm Not Your Suicide. The album is decidedly mixed between established Stryper sound and experimentation.
Sweet's vocals are fairly iconic, so naturally, it'd take work to make anything he touches not sound at least a little like Stryper. While there are definitely a lot of Stryper moments, the overall project carries some interesting sounds that those who only know Sweet through Stryper wouldn't expect. "Taking On The World Tonight" is a fierce and rousing opener complete with a siren that carries a militant tone with a theme of fighting a world that is out to claim our souls.
"The Cause" carries a similar feeling of war, reminding us of what our true cause is. "This Time" is a definite album highlight. Serving as a softer offering, the song is boosted by a guest appearance from another iconic voice in Christian Rock, Kevin Max. The two voices mesh well together and create a strong track worthy of radio.
The album's crowning achievement is the title track and lead single "I'm Not Your Suicide." The song's verses, both musically and in vocal style, are reminiscent of a Petra song of the Schlitt era, with a chorus worthy of any Stryper album. Complete with a solid guitar solo, the song is musically a fine work of art. But the theme is what really sets it apart. Touching on the issue of our worth as children of God, the song encourages all to stand up and tell the enemy and the world that "I was sanctified / I used to feel justified / Only to be crucified, by you – by you / My life has just begun, I'm standing in the shining sun / I'm not gonna run and hide, lay down and die / No I'm not your suicide."
With suicide an extremely relevant topic in the media right now, songs like this which courageously push back against it are essential. As Christians, we always have to remember that we have eternal worth to the Creator of all things. With His grace, even those of us in the darkest depths can push back and shout to the enemy "I'm Not Your Suicide."
After two of the most stellar tracks on the album, it's not surprising that the momentum can't continue at quite the same pace, but "Coming Home" has a slightly Southern-twanged hook and softer contemporary approach that make for a solid offering. "Miles Away" picks up guitar intensity after a mellow opening and speeds to a rocking highlight that serves as another memorable cut.
Two different covers of Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" appears. This is kind of an unusual choice, but the covers are solid enough and do the song justice. "Unsuspecting" returns to the Stryper sound just in time to finish things off (minus the aforementioned encore cover) with a bang. With those 80's metal screams and bullet riffs, the song should definitely be a favorite of those who came looking for more Stryper-style offerings.
Michael Sweet has crafted a solid offering that mixes Stryperesque power metal sounds with softer rock stylings to produce an appealing album with several potential hits. Sweet's still at the top of his game after all these albums, and there's something special about a veteran that shows no signs of slowing down. This album blends the maturity of a seasoned veteran with the rocking accessibility of an invigorated and fresh artist.
Overall, there's so much here to love that the album becomes accessible to a wider range of potential listeners than any of Stryper's albums could. And for a solo album, that's a roaring success. If you haven't checked this album out yet, maybe you need to.
Song to Download Now:
"I'm Not Your Suicide" (Get it on iTunes here.)