Sweet & Lynch: ‘Unified’

Released on November 10, 2017 (Frontiers Music Srl)

Singer Michael Sweet says it perfectly when commenting on the latest release with Lynch Mob/Dokken guitarist George Lynch. “If you came at this album expecting Stryper or Dokken, you may be a little disappointed. If you listen with an open mind, you may actually love it.”   In terms of Sweet & Lynch’s second release Unified, I couldn’t agree more with Sweet’s comments. To be honest, after my first initial listen, I was feeling the same as a lot of people who’ve been commenting on the internet in regards to their thoughts that this was a very different release. As a music fan, it is sometimes hard to be objective. You have come to the expectation that certain artists are not going to change or push the envelope somewhat. Upon reading Sweet’s comments, I felt more at ease in terms of my listening experience when it relates to Unified. In reviewing this album, it was best to sit back, be open minded and look at this album as not a Stryper/Dokken collaboration, but more as simply the second album from a relatively new band getting their music to the masses. Maybe look at it from the perspective of the first time I heard Mötley Crüe‘s Shout At The Devil or KISS‘ Destroyer. Giving it the full attention it so deserves.

The album’s opening track “Promised Land” starts with a very fast and ferocious riff with a very ’80s thrash feel to it. Overkill’s “Hello From The Gutter” comes to mind. Of course, the guitar sound is a little bit fuller and textured than that of Overkill, but the aggressive feeling that that song invokes is present. I find the background vocals to be very predominant. They hit you right in the face giving the song an obvious Stryper feel. With the genius that is Michael Sweet in the band, how could this not show up somewhere within the music? The guitar solo is classic George Lynch. The classic tone and articulation that Lynch possesses is perfect for a listener like me. After the killer opening track, the album starts in a new direction. “Walk” sounds very fresh with Sweet’s vocal delivery being different from what I’ve heard him do in the past. Of course, the background vocals follow Sweet’s every word within the bridge. The song then takes another shape. The tempo changes, making the song sound very Queen like. At first, this song seemed odd to me, but as it grows on me, I see the layers within. It’s a very eclectic mix of different styles. The mid-section part of the song has a free flowing jazz feel to it with Lynch’s soft textured chording, mixed with Sweet’s falsetto vocalizing.

“Afterlife” has a very ’90s dark feel to it. The verse has a Rage Against the Machine type groove to it, with Lynch playing Tom Morello type guitar patterns. Drummer Brian Tichy’s snare drum is precise with a drop off after every hit. It doesn’t echo forever which adds a nice depth. This song shows the diverse guitar capabilities of Lynch. “Mark Your Mark” has a very Europeon ’70s feel to it. A keyboard drives the opening. As Sweet’s strong vocals make their presence, drummer Tichy carries the verse with bassist James Lomenzo accentuating the musical focal points within. Lynch’s guitar tone is strong and crunchy. “Tried & True” changes the mood slightly as Lynch pulls off some stellar, bluesy licks leading into the verse. Clean guitar is heard behind Sweet’s soft, melodic vocal stylings. The chorus is strong, with the whole band providing a great vocal harmony. Once again a keyboard organ/keyboard is heard with Beatles like crooning heard behind leading into the strong solo of Lynch.

The title track “Unified” adds to the depth of this already diverse collection of songs. This very upbeat, positive song has a vocal delivery somewhat close to that of Sweet’s on Stryper’s masterpiece Against The Law. I would not characterize this as a metal song by definition. It has a melodic, pop flavor to it. Of course, the elements are there, but this is just simply put, a well thought out rock song. “Find Your Way” starts with Lynch playing a cool little guitar bit that is driven by the talents of Tichy and Lomenzo. In listening to this song, I can actually imagine Lynch Mob singer Oni Logan singing this track. It has that mystical type feel. Lynch executes his solo perfectly once again, as he shows his extreme guitar virtuosity. “Heart Of Fire” has a very Lynch Mob/Dokken flavor to the opening riff. Of course, Sweet is on his game lifting this outstanding track to the highest level of metal mastery. Tichy shows off his powerful drum style as he plays a killer fill on the snare between the chorus and verse. A very strong composition indeed. “Bridge of Broken Lies” shows the softer side of Lynch‘s playing yet again. I am curious to know the lyrical content of this track. Is this targeted towards someone? There is a witty snarl in Sweet‘s voice as he executes the chorus. It’s as if Sweet is frustrated with someone and it shows in his delivery.

“Better Man” has a mid ’90s feel to it. Sweet‘s vocals start off softly with subtle accompanying harmony in the parts that make sense. As the build to the chorus makes it way, Sweet‘s vocals take a louder approach. The chorus is strong with a very positive message. From my take, not in a Christian manner, and as I say this with a touch of sarcasm, but more of being what every woman wants a, “Better Man”. Isn’t that always the way? “Live To Die” closes out this very different, but engaging release. A very thought provoking topic to say the least. The thing I find about Sweet‘s lyrics are that he always pushes the envelope slightly. Never straying away from any topic. It shows his intelligence, not just as a musician, but as a intellectual human being. For me that is something I gravitate towards. The music may be outstanding, but who is the person behind the music? I think sometimes in listening, we overlook the personalities of those involved. Overall, after listening to this album, I am glad I took the time to change my thinking, looking at this as a different entity. In my eyes, this is a fantastic release. When listening, just open your mind up to it being different than your expectation of Stryper and Dokken. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the diversity and emotion within this album.

I will admit, I had not initially thought about reviewing this album after my first few listens, but something compelled me to come back to it. I am currently enshrined in Michael Sweet’s autobiography Honestly. Maybe that had something to do with my change of heart. My pure admiration for this man upon reading his memoir has maybe invoked something in me that wasn’t present up to a few days ago. I felt compelled to really analyze his latest piece of music having a better understanding of the man himself. I have always been a fan of both Sweet and Lynch, so the seed was firmly planted, but, it was more than that. Something I can not put my finger on. Or better yet, maybe I can, but care to keep to myself at this time.

Track List:
01. Promised Land
02. Walk
03. Afterlife
04. Make Your Mark
05. Tried & True
06. Unified
07. Find Your Way
08. Heart Of Fire
09. Bridge Of Broken Lies
10. Better Man
11. Live To Die

Band Members:
Michael Sweet – vocals, guitar
George Lynch – guitar
James Lomenzo – bass
Brian Tichy – drums

Produced by Michael Sweet

Band Websites:
Official Website

Reviewed by Tyson Briden for Sleaze Roxx, November 2017

Sweet & Lynch‘s “Afterlife” video:

Sweet & Lynch – “Afterlife” (Official Video)

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Sweet & Lynch‘s “Promised Land” song:

Sweet & Lynch – “Promised Land” (Official Audio)

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Sweet & Lynch‘s “Bridge Of Broken Lies” song:

Sweet & Lynch – “Bridge Of Broken Lies” (Official Audio)

Subscribe To Be Alerted When We Add New Videos – http://radi.al/SubscribeFrontiers / From the album UNIFIED. Get your copy NOW: http://radi.al/Unified * Fro…