Only To Rise is a brand new collaborative album from Stryper frontman Michael Sweet and former Dokken guitarist George Lynch. The recording also features Brian Tichy on drums and James Lomenzo on bass. I have to say that I was not particularly well informed on Sweet's previous work (I've never been a fan of Stryper). I'm much more familiar with Lynch's work, at least while he was in Dokken. So I really didn't expect much from this outing, but I decided to purchase it on the strenth of the videos that they released prior to the album's release date.
Let's get to it. The album opens in a huge way. "The Wish" is a hard rocking love song. The chorus is absolute money. And Tichy's drum sound (which takes place throughout the album) is just monstrous. The second track is the equally huge "Dying Rose" with another singalong chorus. We slow down a bit for the first of two ballads on the album. I prefer "Love Stays" to the other ballad, though both are quite good. The chorus is quite melodic and I just really dig the song. Next up the two kick the pace back up with "Time Will Tell". This has come to be possibly my favorite song on the album. Every time I hear it I like it more. And though I've never been a Stryper fan, this song seems as though it would be right at home in their catalog. And did I mention how killer the bass is on this track? Next up the bombast continues with "Rescue Me". Big drumming, big chorus and it flows right into the next song, the second ballad, titled "Me Without You". I can really feel Dokken in this song. The only drawback to it from my point of view is the somewhat cheesy lyrics that adorn the chorus.
Hard to believe the album is halfway over. If this were vinyl, "Recover" would make a great side two opener. High energy with a definite metal styled vocal. Rob Halford comes to mind during this track. Lynch's rhythm guitar drives the tune. "Divine" begins with Lynch wailing on his axe, while "September" memorializes the events of 9/11. "Strength In Numbers" is another big song while "Hero Zero", though not a bad song at all, may be just a bit corny. The album ends on a good note with the title track "Only To Rise". As with many of the songs on the album, the main song ends abruptly, but there is a bit of a drum outro by Tichy, which I do like.
Despite my worries before I purchased the album, this has easily become my favorite release of 2015 (to this point). I love the monster sound that these guys get while not at all interfering with Sweet's outstanding vocals. The production is crisp and I have no trouble with muddiness or bleed through. Lynch is awesome here, probably the best I've ever heard him. And I'm telling you, Tichy and Lomenzo stand out as well, both doing fantastic work. Also, I like the uplifting theme of these songs. Sweet manages to be positive with sounding preachy. I will include a couple of the videos that have been released from the album below.
Final Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
1. The Wish
2. Dying Rose
3. Love Stays
4. Time Will Tell
5. Rescue Me
6. Me Without You
10. Strength In Numbers
11. Hero Zero
12. Only To Rise
Interesting review. I'm not a big fan of Stryper either which is one reason why I've avoided this release. I haven't even checked out the videos before now.
The group lineup is very cool. I'll get back to you on what I think of the two videos you linked here.
Cool (and thanks).