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Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
Artist: Robert Sweet
Label: World Gone Mad
Length: 10 tracks/39:52
Stryper lives! Besides the occasional appearances of the once-bumblebee-resembling metalheads, the spirit of God-rock lives on through former Stryper drummer Robert Sweet and his solo project, Love Trash. Pulling triple duty on all guitars, bass, and of course drums, Sweet deigns to sing and gives that responsibility to Larry Worley, who shines, yet doesn’t quite compare to Robert’s brother Michael Sweet when it comes to rock vox. Although comparisons to Stryper are inevitable, it is obvious that Sweet is taking his music in another direction. While still rock-oriented, Love Trash is a more intimate picture of Robert’s psyche. Having penned all eight songs (the other two tracks are radio edits) and having played all the instruments, one can tell this was a very personal project for Sweet. Still sporting the long, flowing locks of his Stryper days, the cover art includes photos of Sweet surrounded by his instruments as well as his personal notes from each track.
Sonically, there is a modern rock feel throughout, yet it keeps one foot, or at least a toe or two, in the past, paying homage to bands like Nirvana and even White Heart. The title track, “Love Trash” speaks about throwaway relationships to a hard-rocking grind with a killer hook. Another interesting, edgy track that’s sure to raise eyebrows is the boldly titled head-banging track, “The F Word.” Don’t worry, the “F” is for Forgiveness.
Rather than trying to dazzle with finger-busting guitar solos or supersonic voices, Sweet drives his point home with power chords that move around the fretboard like a freight train, incessantly powerful. Who knew this drummer was so talented? Rock fans who never knew Robert Sweet as the “visual timekeeper” of Christendom’s most famous crossover metal band will find plenty to rock to on Love Trash. Longtime Stryper loyalists will also enjoy Sweet’s pet project, which is destined to be a collector’s item. Could Robert Sweet be the Kerry Livgren of modern rock?
Zik Jackson 2/17/2001
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Robert Sweet Feature
Robert Sweet should be a familiar name to fans of Christian heavy metal as well as anyone who watched MTV in the 80's. Mr. Sweet was the drummer extraordinaire of 80's metal band Stryper. With wild looking drum kits turned to the side, and arms flailing in perfect time, Robert established himself as a great rock drummer. That was then and this is now.
The new CD Love Trash is ambitious (Sweet plays all the instruments) but not altogether successful. The guitar work really isn't bad, in a 90's kind of way. The crunch is there but needs a bit more power to bring it into the modern sound arena. The mix and production on the record are also disturbing. More attention to the drum sound from such a great drummer and less bass would be expected, but, in fact, the bass sometimes overpowers the songs.
Then there are the songs. Why name a song "The F Word?" Even thought the "F" word turns out to be forgiveness, it's still just there for its shock value. You also have to wonder about "Love Trash," "Sweet Betrayal," and "I'm ?@#$%&!." ( "I'm Screwed, without you...") hmmm . . .
Still, dig past the questionable production and the strange song titles and you hit a solid rock and roll root. If anything redeems this project, it is that shining root in the form of hooks and rock melodies.
I played the new CD for my friend Kenny, a super Stryper fan (he still wears a Stryper jean jacket) and he enjoyed the record quite a bit. But since this is my review I'll rate it by my ear.
Tony LaFianza 3//8/2001