Sweet & Lynch
Unified is the second album from the project featuring Stryper frontman Michael Sweet and ex-Dokken virtuoso and Lynch Mob namesake George Lynch. Much like their debut, this album covers a lot of ground, with very little of it being like either Dokken or Stryper. A hefty bit of it would not be out of place on a Lynch Mob album though in my opinion. The songs here are heavy, often dark, mildly progressive, and bluesy throughout.
Let me start by saying that Lynch’s playing and Sweet’s vocals are both outstanding here. Both guys are giants of natural talent. That said, I didn’t think that they gelled well on their debut and, while it’s slightly better here, I still think that their individual styles clash so much here that the songs just don’t flow very well.
The band are at their best when they are at their most straightforward. The opening tune, “Promised Land,” kicks everything off in a great fashion. It’s fast-paced, aggressive, and explosive in all the best ways. It’s the kind of rockin’ tune that you’d certainly expect when you hear either of these names mentioned. “Make Your Mark” is another solid moment, offering something heavier yet still melodic and soaring. “Bridge of Broken Lies” is dark and bluesy and really showcases the potential this album has in my opinion. Lynch’s solo here is heartbreaking and powerful, showing how much better he has gotten with age. . It’s something different for both Sweet and Lynch.
Unfortunately, there are many songs here that have excellent moments but never really go anywhere. “Walk” is the best example in my opinion. I wish I had a better way to describe it but, honestly, it sounds like a clusterfuck. It starts off fair to midland (I don’t dig the fast-paced, kinda goofy vocals) and then it tries to get all experimental in a Queen sort of way. It just falls totally flat and comes off cheesy as hell from the lyrics to the music. Lynch’s guitar work is the only remote saving grace. “Find Your Way” just sort of stumbles through it’s four minute and twenty-three seconds. Every time it starts to come together, Sweet & Lynch switch gears and take it another direction. It’s hard to latch on to. The album’s closer, “Live To Die” is another one that has excellent guitar work but Sweet’s vocal effects and high-pitched pieces just aren’t for me at all.
I’m a big fan of both Stryper and Lynch Mob and I’m stoked to see that these guys like each other well enough to have made a couple of albums together, but Unified just doesn’t feel that way to me. I enjoy the bluesy swagger of a lot of the songs but Sweet isn’t a bluesy singer and he sounds out of place on most of this album. I really wanted to love this, but I just can’t find much that makes me want to come back repeatedly in the way that classic albums do. Maybe you’ll dig it more?
Reviewed by mark1340