Michael Sweet TEN

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STRYPER frontman Michael Sweet has set "Ten" as the title of his next solo album, due later in the year via Rat Pak Records.

In a brand new interview with Daily Boom, Sweet stated about the upcoming follow-up to 2016's "One Sided War": "It's really great. I always go into a project with expectations and sometimes I meet or surpass them, but sometimes I don't. Sometimes a song might be a little bit of a letdown and not what I had hoped for, but with this album so far, everything is as I've expected and then some. Now granted, I don't have the lead vocals done yet, so the pressure is on me. [Laughs] I hope the lead vocals turn out how I hear them in my head and how I would like them to be, but you never know. You just don't know until you get in there and you start singing and you get it done."

He continued: "So far though, the songs all have incredible energy. I've got Will Hunt playing drums on it and John O'Boyle is playing bass. The rhythm section is phenomenal and the guitar tones are great. I'm going to have a different guest guitar player on every song, with a solo, of course. I've got Todd La Torre of QUEENSRŸCHE joining me on a song and it's just turning out to be a really cool album. I think that it's going to surpass my last solo album and that did really well, but I think this one is going to be even better."

As for a possible release date for "Ten", Sweet said: "I'm still not sure. It's definitely going to be this year. We're talking about a summer release, and I'm turning it all in by the end of April, and so we're probably looking at a July or August release. It depends on how much setup we need with licensing deals worldwide and those kinds of things. But I would say hopefully July-August."

Other guest musicians who will appear on Sweet's new disc include guitarists Joel Hoekstra (WHITESNAKE, NIGHT RANGER), Jeff Loomis (ARCH ENEMY, NEVERMORE), Marzi Montazeri (EXHORDER, PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS), Gus G. (FIREWIND, OZZY OSBOURNE) and Andy James.

Sweet previously stated about his new solo album: "There are old-school, straight-ahead metal ideas à la [JUDAS] PRIEST and DIO, as well as a few uptempo riffs à la [IRON] MAIDEN. There's also a few ballads with a bit of a [LED] ZEPPELIN vibe.

"I'm really excited about the musical direction. I'm bringing back a few of those classic hooks and melodies that some of you have asked for. Ask and you shall receive."

Regarding Hoekstra, Sweet said: "[He] blew my mind the first time I saw him perform with NIGHT RANGER. I've seen him continue to shred with Cher and WHITESNAKE/David Coverdale and I really admire Joel as a player and as a person. One of the best, and I'm blessed to have him on two songs (co-writes and guitars)."

Michael called Todd "the best metal singer going today" and a "dear friend." "Todd is not only an amazing singer but an amazing drummer as well," Sweet said. "And an incredible human being. He will be joining me on vocals for a song (a duet if you will) and it may very well blow minds."

As for Loomis, Sweet said: "Jeff is a monster player who has an incredible sense of melody and technique. He is one of my favorite players today."

Michael said that he first encountered Montazeri a few years ago at NAMM and described him as "one of the nicest and most humble guys that I've ever met. Then I saw him play and I was blown away. He's one of the best. Can't wait to hear what Marzi does."

According to Sweet, Andy James is an "outstanding" guitarist whom he had "always wanted to do something with. If you haven't heard him play, you should," Michael said.

Michael and Gus G. first met a few years ago in Anaheim, California and Sweet was "an instant fan. Feel, tone, style, speed — you name it, he has it," Michael said. "I'm honored to have him as a guest on a song from the new solo album."

"One Sided War" was released in August 2016 via Rat Pak Records. Backing Michael on the record were Hoekstra, Hunt, O'Boyle and East Coast shred-master Ethan Brosh.

In a 2016 interview with The Aquarian Weekly, Sweet said that he enjoyed making solo albums "because it's an opportunity to free myself up a little bit more, experiment a little bit more, and try some things that STRYPER may not be able to try."

STRYPER's latest album, "God Damn Evil", was released in April 2018 via Frontiers Music Srl.

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