Again with these incredible Swedish bands! I have been a huge fan of W.E.T. since I first discovered them with their 2009 self-titled debut album. For anyone not familiar this great band formed around three talented guys from three separate bands: keyboard player Robert Säll from WORK OF ART, the many talents of Erik Mårtensson from ECLIPSE, and vocalist Jeff Scott Soto from TALISMAN. Each member is great in their own respective bands, but together in W.E.T., they are a force to be reckoned with. The line-up is completed by two other members of ECLIPSE, guitarist Magnus Henriksson and drummer Robban Bäck. Earthrage (out now, Frontiers Music) is the band’s third offering and another magnificent one at that.
Starting off the disc is “Watch the Fire” that begins with distorted guitar and keyboard, until the rest of the instruments join in, building up the anticipation. Erik starts off singing the first verse, Jeff sings the next verse, and then both of their powerful, melodic voices join together for the bridge and chorus making this an incredible opening track. I had goosebumps from just the first couple minutes of this song in anticipation of the album to come.
“Burn” comes out of the gate swinging with the bang of the drums, heavy guitar riffs, and crisp keyboard. This is defining a headbanging track. The guitar solo is out-of-this-world crazy and impressive. “Kings On Thunder Road” follows this heavy, driving theme nicely, keeping the energy going. Bringing it down a notch, “Elegantly Wasted” starts off quite differently than the previous tracks with just the keyboard accompanying Jeff’s voice. The cadence of the keyboard is brilliant and amplified by how well the instruments work with and around it.
A glorious, crunchy guitar tone launches “Urgent,” which is possibly the heaviest track on the album. Everything seems to be turned to 11 on the hard and heavy melodic scale. The flourishing, virtuosic guitar solo fits the heaviness of this track. “Dangerous” is definitely one of my favorite tracks. There is such a strong pulling force with the back and forth motion of the relatively calmer verses coupled with the fast and furious chorus. Plus the harmonies between Jeff and the rest of the band during the dynamic chorus is chill-inducing.
The intensity and longing in Jeff’s voice on “Calling Out Your Name” basically rips my heart out! The passion in this song is very evident in the talent of each band member and how they handle their instrument. The next number, “Heart is on the Line,” follows in nice contrast while still being relatively the same theme. It is so sweet and invokes a strong sense of desire. I am a sucker for ballads like these that, while more subdued, still maintain the dynamic of the album.
“I Don’t Wanna Play That Game” features a sweet guitar riff and astonishing harmonies. Nearing the end, “The Burning Pain of Love” also contains exquisite harmonies, especially when it is only their voices while the instruments are briefly paused. Closing this masterpiece out on a high note is “The Neverending Retraceable Dream,” that seems to invoke a sense of inspiration and makes the world seem brighter.
W.E.T. is a band that has never let me down in the slightest thus far. I am very pleased with this album that perfectly follows their genius musicianship. This is a band that keeps getting better with each release. They are the epitome of melodic hard rock and are a driving force keeping the genre going and bringing in fans.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM