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W.E.T. – W.E.T. [2009]

PhotobucketFinally a great melodic rock album! Without doubt the best year (2009) in terms of this genre concerns…and it should be noted regardless of the sublime vocal work of Mr. Jeff Scott Soto, who proves to be in great shape.
With fresh arrangements that have modern tendencies but preserve the spirit of melody driven music, and excellent instrumental performances, this debut collaboration between Work of Art’s Robert Sall, Eclipse’s Erik Martensson and Talisman’s Jeff Scott Soto is a record that ought to be getting heavy rotation on American FM rock radio stations and features some great songwriting, lots of hooks, huge production and some wonderful melodies and is deserving of mighty bundles of praise. A handful of the songs truly made me “feel” while the others delivered melodic rock with a seasoned feel. The instrumentalists are very talented and Soto has some of the best vocal work of his entire 25 year career, one can argue he gets better with age.
The album did have one song that truly helped elevate it into greatness, and that was the beautiful “If I Fall” and possibly the best song on the album, sounds Journey all over with a very catchy melody. It’s a mid tempo song, faster than the ballads on the record yet not fast enough to fit in with any of the anthems. From a smooth intro goes straight into isolated guitar, thundering drums, tasteful piano and then incredible vocals. The chorus is sensational, the harmonies are some of the best ever done in rock, I’m grinning from ear to ear, the song has definitely done its job. The album opens the bombastic “Invincible”, where Martensson adds a heavier edge on guitar giving this enough to push this release as a whole into hard rock territory. Great sounding guitars, powerful rhythm section, effective keyboard theme, vocals right up in the mix and JSS sounding more melodic that he ever has. The first song seamlessly gives way to the second, “One Love”. Pure melodic rock songwriting brilliance. The verse features some memorable vocal lines, but the chorus soars higher than ever expected and goes right over the top. “Brothers In Arms” is like most of the tracks here, another glorious slice of harmony drenched melodic rock in the finest tradition of the genre. There some great riff-licious moments and changes of direction as the song progress and, to be honest, this one track has more character than many entire albums. “Come Down Like Rain” is a very pleasant mid tempo rock ballad. A soft, sultry vocal whispers over some subtle instrumentation., until two minutes into the song that things blow up. And what a heart wrenching chorus it is. Things turn heavier with a big guitar solo before going completely soft again. The guys are masters of melody and prove it yet again here. Still the result works and makes for one of the album’s biggest highlights and personal favourite “Running From The Heartache”. Smooth, mid tempo keyboard drenched AOR with another killer bridge/chorus arrangements and harmonies through the roof. Again, the chorus will put tears in your eyes and a warm sensation in your soul. Be in no doubt, this really is the top end of AOR/melodic hard rock. The flawless “I’ll Be There” is fast paced and friendly, having a more European feel to it, but is equally melodic. And yes, another bloody huge chorus with a big soaring JSS vocal, reaching into those higher than high ranges again. The song fits in well with any playlist of up tempo rock and roll. The best solo of the record thus far shreds through the speakers halfway through the tune. It’s one of those tracks you’ll like for ages, then suddenly realize it’s one of your all time favourites. “Damage Is Done” is yet another up tempo head bobbing rocker. The sound isn’t far from Eclipse and represents another European twist. The shifts in timing and lush harmonies keep a fresh feel to the otherwise consistent mood of the record. Songs like “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is” prove that the boys in W.E.T. are having a little fun with this album. It’s bluesier with more hard rock roots than the rest of the songs thus far. It rocks hard and has adrenaline coursing through every chord change and lyrical progression. The chorus isn’t as big as some earlier tracks, but the tempo and direction of the track makes it equally infectious. Another ballad comes in the form of “One Day At A Time”. This is the big power ballad of the album and features a chorus with harmonies to hugh I never though I would ever hear JSS sing like this. I love how the twin guitar solo is layered, and how the harmonies are mixed. The song takes nearly a minute to close out, with intense and morose keyboard and bass tones lulling me unsuspectingly into the next song. Time to rock again and the heaviest track on the album is the double time rhythm of “Just Go”. With a pumping riff kicking it off and a raspy vocal throughout, the song powers along while the keyboard is again wonderfully understated. The chorus is furious and the drumming outstanding. It almost sounds like a different band to start with but soon gets back in the standard hard rocking groove. “My Everything” sees the guys step back into pure American AOR. More layered harmonies, backing vocals and a big chorus make it yet another winner. The guitar solo, again, is beautiful and fits smoothly into the rhythm section. Soto’s infections and vocal trademarks are well timed and precise.
W.E.T. might just be the perfect balance of power and melody, emotion and attitude. A dream line up that really delivers their best ever. This is a stunning album and fully deserves a place to any melodic rock collection….

Band Members
Jeff Scott Soto – Vocals
Erik Martensson – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Robert Sall – Guitars track 5

Additional Musicians
Magnus Henriksson – Lead Guitar on tracks 3, 4, 6, 9, 10 & 12
Robban Back – Drums

1. Invincible
2. One Love
3. Brothers In Arms
4. Come Down Like Rain
5. Running From The Heartache
6. I’ll Be There
7. Damage Is Done
8. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
9. One Day At A Time
10. Just Go
11. My Everything
12. If I Fall

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W.E.T. - W.E.T. [2009], 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
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