Just as I thought Stryper was always severely underrated as a metal band, the same can be said of frontman Michael Sweet. He has never gotten the credit due him as a fantastic vocalist, extraordinary axeman, and superb songwriter. His newest solo release, “I’m Not Your Suicide,” just may change that. The record has everything you would expect from a Michael Sweet solo offering and a few pleasant surprises as well.
Things start off heavy with the opening sirens on the hard rocking “Taking on the World Tonight” which features great vocal harmonies with Tony Harnell. The rockers continue with “All That’s Left (For Me To Prove)” and “The Cause” before changing up a bit for the title track. For the first single, “I’m Not Your Suicide,” Michael teamed up with Childhelp, an organization that brings awareness to suicide amongst abused children and showcases heartfelt, intense vocals with a huge chorus. With the country feel and slide guitars of “Coming Home” Michael proves he has more to offer than melodic metal. Stryper fans will appreciate the pure piano ballad “How To Live” with guest appearances by Robert Sweet and Timothy Gaines. “Unsuspecting” has a real hair metal feel to it as does “Anybody Else” which has Chris Jericho and Doug Aldrich lending a hand. The real surprise of the record is the inclusion of not one but two cover versions of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold.” Both are exquisite with the first featuring a poignant vocal performance by Sweet with a fantastic guitar solo and the bonus track offering up a beautiful vocal duet between Michael and Electra Mustaine, daughter of Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine.
With passionate vocals, killer guitar work, and a variety of genres, Michael Sweet has given us one incredible hard rock record that is sure to please fans both old and new. In a word, “I’m Not Your Suicide” is definitely “sweet.”