STRYPER frontman Michael Sweet has commenced recording his next solo album. The follow-up to 2016's "One Sided War" will arrive this summer via Rat Pak Records.
Among the guest musicians who will appear on Sweet's new disc are QUEENSRŸCHE singer Todd La Torre, 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; and drummer Will Hunt (EVANESCENCE).
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, bassist John 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."