CD Review: Sweet & Lynch – Only to Rise

CD Review: Sweet & Lynch – Only to Rise
Frontiers Music Srl
All Access Rating: A-

Sweet & Lynch - Only to Rise 2015
It is 2015, isn't it? Seemingly from a different era, when glam-metal was king and Michael Sweet and George Lynch were lords of the Sunset Strip, Only to Rise is a debut album of towering melodic hard-rock spires from Sweet & Lynch.

While unabashedly raising a toast to the good ol' days, it's Sweet's penchant for yearning, grandiose melodies that makes this set actually seem timeless and not at all dated. Still, in many ways, Only to Rise certainly could be considered a time capsule from the mid-1980s.

Pairing a very busy Stryper front man with the equally hard-working ex-Dokken guitar shredder, Only to Rise soars on clarion vocals, generous hooks and sugary guitar crunch from Lynch, his riffs solid as bedrock, while he solos like a heat-seeking missile – all of it lending these songs the blazing thrust of NASA booster rockets. Adding more force and muscular drive to Only to Rise is the top-notch rhythm section of bassist James Lomenzo (Megadeth, White Lion) and drummer Brian Tichy (Whitesnake), two names that probably deserve some mention on the marquee alongside Sweet & Lynch.

Aside from the dreamy, if slightly schmaltzy, ballad "Me Without You," Only to Rise has big rock aspirations, building skyscrapers out of bittersweet anthems like "The Wish" – suffused with nostalgia for the Hollywood they remember – and "Dying Rose" in a matter of minutes, and doing likewise with "Recover," where Sweet nails difficult high notes like a champ.

With its juxtaposition of smoldering, bluesy verses and radiant, psychedelic chorus, "Divine" opens up the shutters and lets in a stream of light, while tracks like "Rescue Me," "Love Stays" and "Time Will Tell" build to amplified crescendos, flowing together beautifully like wild, swollen rivers that bring arena-rock floods somehow contained by the sandbags of superb songcraft and emboldened by strong, modern production values that bridge the present with the past. Had the '80s produced more of this, that party might have lasted a little longer.
– Peter Lindblad

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