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Sunbomb “Light Up the Sky” Album Review by Jorge Pozo

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As a longtime devotee of Michael Sweet‘s main band: Stryper, I’ve always found myself curious about the side projects he delves into. Even when the results aren’t exactly what I’ve anticipated, Sweet‘s involvement usually piques my interest enough to keep an open mind. Thus, when I learned about Sunbomb‘s new album Light Up the Sky, I couldn’t resist giving it a listen.

This collaboration between Sweet and Tracii Guns has been an intriguing blend of their distinct musical paths. Following up on their 2021 debut, Light Up the Sky continues to pay homage to the legends of heavy metal with all the weighty riffs and haunting melodies one could hope for. The album opener, “Unbreakable,” immediately sets the tone with its dark, Black Sabbath-inspired riffage, while Sweet‘s robust vocals soar above the instrumental density.

The track “In Grace We’ll Find Our Name” introduces a balance between melodic nuances and hard-hitting depth. Guns‘ guitar work feels comfortably reminiscent of his recent outputs, showing a clear evolution in his style while maintaining the hard rock vitality he’s known for. A particularly standout track, “Steel Hearts,” brings a vibrant, choppy riff akin to Led Zeppelin. It’s an excellent showcase of Sweet‘s versatility as a vocalist, melding seamlessly with Guns‘ dynamic guitar lines.

One can’t ignore the evident influences of Randy Rhoads on tracks like “Rewind.” Here, Guns showcases his technical prowess, crafting an engaging piece that evokes the spirit of Diary of a Madman without feeling like mere imitation. The song “Scream Out Loud” harks back to Sabbath‘s iconic sound, creating a nostalgic yet fresh listening experience.

“Winds of Fate” channels the high-energy riffs of Judas Priest, highlighting Guns‘ precise guitar work. The track’s brisk tempo and sharp leads make it a thrilling addition to the album. Sweet again shows his adaptability, delivering powerful vocals that harmonize with Guns‘ rhythms flawlessly.

Sunbomb takes a softer turn with “Where We Belong,” the album’s sole ballad, revealing a more introspective side to their heavy sound. The acoustic version, included as a bonus on the Japanese edition, adds further depth and emotional resonance, offering a moment of quiet reflection in an otherwise intense album.

“Setting The Sail” wraps up Light Up the Sky with another weighty, dark riff, drawing the listener back into the heavy atmosphere laid out from the beginning. It’s a fitting closure that encapsulates the thematic elements spread throughout the album.

While Light Up the Sky is undeniably solid, it’s not without its shortcomings. Some tracks feel a bit too familiar or derivative, possibly limiting its appeal to those seeking groundbreaking innovation in the genre. Yet, the album’s execution, energy, and respect for its influences make it a commendable effort from Sunbomb.

All things considered, Light Up the Sky is a compelling album that offers a rich blend of nostalgic heavy metal tones and modern flair. The collaboration between Tracii Guns and Michael Sweet, alongside Adam Hamilton on drums, and Mitch Davis on bass, has resulted in a work that stands out for its passion and craftsmanship.

I rate Light Up the Sky a solid 8.5/10.Order your copy HERE

Sunbomb

Tracklist:
1) Unbreakable
2) Steel Hearts
3) In Grace We’ll Find Our Name
4) Light Up the Skies
5) Rewind
6) Scream Out Loud
7) Winds of Fate
8) Beyond the Odds
9) Reclaim the Light
10) Where We Belong
11) Setting the Sail
12) Where We Belong (acoustic version) bonus track Japan

SUNBOMB are:
Tracii Guns – Guitars ‎
Michael Sweet – Vocals ‎
Adam Hamilton – Drums ‎
Mitch Davis – Bass
 
Produced By: Tracii Guns
Studio: Drums Recorded at Palm Ranch Studio
Vocal Editing: Kenny Lewis/Mixed Emotions
Recorded By: Adam Hamilton
Vocals Recorded By: Michael Sweet
Mixed By: Adam Hamilton
Mastered By: Derek Hughes

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