I gotta start by saying I am not a huge Stryper or a LA Guns fan, no particular reason why, But I do like some of the side projects Michael Sweet has done, such as his albums with George Lynch, and I do like this! Very heavy stuff. Not sure why there’s the forgettable band name, just call it after the 2 main forces here Sweet & Guns [OK, maybe that doesn’t sound so good either]. Regardless, probably the heaviest thing either of these guys have done. “Life” leads this album off with a cool guitar intro, Sweet throwing in one of his many screams here, and the band kicking in to an awesome fast paced rocker. Lots of great guitar heavy rock here, love Tracii Guns’ tone throughout, especially on slower Sabbath rockers “Take Me Away” & “World Gone Wrong”, driving tune “No Tomorrows” [something about this reminds me of Ozzy’s “Steal Away The Night”] , and the not-too-soft ballad “Been Said Before” [a nice summertime feel with the acoustic guitar]. I really like this album, it’s got a ’70s Judas Priest / early ’80s Sabbath feel, IMO. 11 excellent tracks, no filler. Makes me wanna dig a bit more into Sweet’s and Tracii Guns other projects.
SUNBOMB is a highly anticipated new musical alliance between two steadfast warriors of the U.S. hard rock/metal scene, Tracii Guns and Michael Sweet. They have put together an absolute blinder of a heavy metal album, melding influences of classic metal bands such as Black Sabbath and Judas Priest with Tracii’s love of metal subgenres, specifically doom metal.
Tracii leaked the news of the new project in a March 2019 tweet, where he described the project’s debut LP as “the Metal record I would have made when I was 17 years old.” In May 2020, he mentioned on “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk” that “The SUNBOMB record is really kind of like [L.A. GUNS’ 2019 album] ‘The Devil You Know’ times three. It’s more on the heavy side of ‘The Devil You Know’ album. And Michael Sweet, he’s a really fantastic metal singer.”
The music style on the record is much heavier than what one would expect from these two musicians and is firmly planted in the ‘metal’ category. While Tracii wrote the music for the album, the fact that Michael Sweet has been writing in an increasingly heavier style on latter era Stryper albums made him a very logical choice to sing for the band. And since doom metal, often known for having powerful singers like Messiah Marcolin from Candlemass and Eric Wagner from Trouble, was a massive influence on Tracii’s songwriting here, Sweet’s ability and range were a perfect match.
Drums on the album were handled by Tracii’s old L.A. Guns bandmate Adam Hamilton and bass was handled by Mitch Davis, with the exception of the track ‘They Fought’, which features current L.A. Guns bassist Johnny Martin.
Take Me Away
Born To Win
Evil And Divine
Been Said And Done
Stronger Than Before
Story Of The Blind
World Gone Wrong
Tracii Guns – Guitars
Michael Sweet – Vocals
Adam Hamilton – Drums
Mitch Davis – Bass
Johnny Martin – Bass (We Fought)
Available May 14 – CD, Vinyl, Ltd Colored vinyl.