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Sunbomb: Evil and Divine

Old school metal warriors from the 80’s LA music scene unite! This is exactly what we get here as Frontiers Records gives us Sunbomb, a new metal collaboration that finds guitarist Tracii Guns (L.A. Guns) and vocalist Michael Sweet (Stryper) teaming up for the first time on their debut album Evil and Divine. The roots of this project go back a couple of years when Tracii first alluded to this album as “the metal record I would have made when I was 17 years old”. This is interesting because that would put us in or around 1983, the same year he was putting L.A. Guns together. As the music he was writing was leaning in a heavier direction it seemed like a no brainer to bring his friend Sweet into the project. He needed a vocalist and they had in the past discussed the possibility of teaming up. The stage was set to deliver a kick ass, old school metal disc that would highlight classic influences such as Black Sabbath and Judas Priest. The band is rounded out by Adam Hamilton (drums) and Mitch Davis (bass)

The heavier approach here won’t really come as a surprise to anyone that’s heard the last Stryper album Even The Devil Believes or the last two L.A. Guns offerings. Evil and Divine is kind of like a combination of these albums and the overall vibe is established right from the get-go with the first track “Life”. This song has some serious high octane metallic riffing fighting for space alongside Sweet’s killer pipes and banshee screams. From there its straight into “Take Me Away” which is a plodding, doom drenched, dirge that bears a striking resemblance to Black Sabbath’s “Black Sabbath”. Sweet’s vocals on this track are absolutely off the charts and the fact that this dude can still hit these kinds of notes and push his voice to the brink like he does here is just mind blowing. I was so damned impressed with the vocals throughout this album that there were times where I had to snap myself out it and remind myself that Tracii is also unleashing some serious riffage and delivering a shit ton of fast and melodic solos in tracks like “Better End”, “No Tomorrows” and “Born to Win”. The listener gets a brief respite from the metallic pummelling around the halfway point as the ballad “Been Said and Done” cools things off a bit. It doesn’t last long though as “Stronger Than Before” and “Story of The Blind” shifts gears and swiftly launches you back into sonic overload. “World Gone Wrong” is another heavy crawler similar to “Take Me Away” as once again Sweet pushes his pipes into the stratosphere, while Tracii keeps things relatively straight forward riff wise before firing off a brief and melodic solo. “They Fought” wraps up the album and is an all out rocker from beginning to end.

On paper this may have seemed like an odd pairing, as personally Michael Sweet and Tracii Guns might have different ideologies and yet they are good friends. They came up in the Los Angeles metal scene around the same time and share a love of good old fashioned metal. The music that Tracii wrote for this album is heavier and can be compared to the doom sounds that defined a genre with bands like Candlemass and Trouble. You can hear those influences interspersed throughout Evil and Divine and after listening to this album from back to front it just became more and more obvious with each subsequent listen that Michael Sweet was the perfect choice to help him execute this vision. This is without a doubt, a kick ass offering from beginning to end.

Track Listing
1) Life
2) Take Me Away
3) Better End
4) No Tomorrows
5) Born to Win
6) Evil and Divine
7) Been Said and Done
8) Stronger Than Before
9) Story of The Blind
10) World Gone Wrong
11) They Fought

Added: May 15th 2021
Reviewer: Ryan Sparks
Related Link: Frontiers Records
Hits: 1474
Language: english

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