2018 release from Frontiers Records srl.
Jeff Scott Soto – Vocals. Erik Mårtensson – Guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals. Magnus Henriksson – Guitar. Robert Säll – Keyboard. Robban Bäck – Drums. Thomas Larsson – Guitar (solo on track 5).
Artist Location: Sweden.
5 out of 5 stars rating.
Reviewed by David.
- Watch The Fire.
- Kings On Thunder Road.
- Elegantly Wasted.
- Calling Out Your Name.
- Heart Is On The Line.
- I Don’t Wanna Play That Game.
- The Burning Pain Of Love.
- The Neverending Retraceable Dream.
- Elegantly Wasted (acoustic, Japanese bonus track).
Supergroup is a word that is thrown around a lot in melodic rock these days, sometimes overused and at times it is hard to find the “super” part of these types of groups.
Such is not the case with W.E.T.
If any modern melodic rock band deserves that title it is this band.
Made up of members from three superstar bands, Work Of Art, Eclipse and Talisman (hence the name, W.E.T.), these members, who are no strangers to any fan of melodic rock, include one of the genre’s most well-known and well respected vocalists, Jeff Scott Soto. One of the biggest names in the genre, Erik Mårtensson (Eclipse), and three guys that are continually gaining notoriety in the genre, Robert Säll (Work Of Art), Magnus Henriksson (Eclipse) and Robban Bäck (Eclipse).
There is so much talent in this band it is ridiculous and with a group of artists like this gathered together then expectations for any music coming from the camp are, of course, at the absolute highest point possible.
Envisioned by Frontiers Records president Serafino Perugino, the band released its eponymous debut in 2009 and instantly set themselves up as a major force for melodic rock fans with their smashing debut that showed us just how a real supergroup should sound. Track after track that record continually blew fans around the world away and still stands as a favorite to many.
With a supergroup you never know if you are going to get another album or if it was just a one-off project that will never amount to anything more than one great record.
Rumors bounced around about a possible second record from the group for a while and after a wait that seemed like an eternity then in 2013 our dreams came true when ‘Rise Up’ released.
The problem with releasing such a strong debut is the pressure of having to write an even better follow-up record and I went into that second album with some hesitancy, not sure if they could pull off that same kind of magic again that we heard of the first album.
My fears were unwarranted of course because the guys came out and blew myself and fans the world over away once again. In fact they even managed to present a stronger album that second time around and the record saw the band gaining even more popularity among the melodic rock world.
2014 saw the live release ‘One Live In Stockholm’ but would a third studio album come to fruition?
Thank God it did!
Now here we are in 2018 and after another eternity of waiting, we are just days away from that third studio album dropping.
‘Earthrage’ is the title this go around and it comes on the tails of a very busy time for the members of the band. Soto has just recently released his newest solo record ‘Retribution’ as well as his album, ‘Psychotic Symphony’, with supergroup (another that is deserving of that title), Sons Of Apollo. Mårtensson, Henriksson and Bäck are fresh off the release of the spectacular Eclipse album ‘Monumentum’ (my personal pick for the album of the year in 2017) and Mårtensson also delivered the sophomore release from Ammuniton. Säll has been busy working on producing the new Steve Overland album and is about to start work on the new Work Of Art album, so as you can see, these guys have been busy.
Thankfully they found the time to write and record this new W.E.T. album for us.
So, after much ado, on to the actual record I am reviewing here.
I always try (try mind you, I am not always successful there), to listen to every new album from an existing artist or band based solely on its own merits and not judge it based on what they have produced in the past. Following up two highly successful albums that were so amazing is no small feat and so when I popped this new disc into the player I tried to put all thoughts of those first two records out of my mind and just enjoy whatever was about to come out of the speakers.
Now I had heard the single that was released early from the record and I already knew I quite liked it and that it stayed in line with the sound we all associate with the band, but what about the rest of the record?
Could it deliver?
Oh yes, it delivers, and more!
‘Watch The Fire’ is the first track of the album and it is also the first single that was released. When I first heard this song I was immediately struck at how similar it’s opening notes reminded me of the song ‘Hypocrisy’ from the Nordic Union record, but the comparisons stop there. This song gives us Erik’s sole solo vocals of the record, which I find a shame because I think he and Jeff play well off of each other vocally on these duet style tracks. Upbeat, terrific chorus, fantastic vocals and some great guitar work make this song about betrayal, and one’s just deserts for such, an outstanding opener for the record.
‘Burn’ comes blazing in at track number two. Starting with some prominent keys, blazing guitar and a great beat, the track continues at the same pace as the first song. Another excellent chorus here.
Track three, ‘Kings On Thunder Road’, is my favorite song of the record. Another hard rocking track with one hell of a catchy chorus, I can’t stop listening to this one, I just love it!
‘Elegantly Wasted’ is a mid-tempo track about the hardships of love and using alcohol to dull that pain. A rather short (clocking in at just under three minutes) but solid song that leads us right back to the head banging pace with the excellent song ‘Urgent’, which features a great guitar solo from Thomas Larsson (Baltimoore, Glenn Huges).
‘Dangerous’ comes in at track number six and takes the spot as my second favorite song of the album. Starting out with a simple chord progression on a single guitar before cranking things up and giving us one of the catchiest choruses of the record. I love it!
When ‘Calling Out Your Name’ first starts you may think you are in for a ballad, but the guys change tempos once the chorus hits and we get a terrific upbeat song that does in fact lead into a ballad. The only ballad of the record actually. ‘Heart Is On The Line’ is a beautiful song and one of Jeff’s best vocal deliveries of the album.
‘I Don’t Wanna Play That Game’, ‘The Burning Pain Of Love’ and ‘The Neverending Retraceable Dream’ are all fantastic upbeat songs that never once let up and bring the record to an incredible end that is every bit as strong as it’s beginning.
In typical Frontiers fashion of late, the Japanese import version contains an acoustic bonus track with ‘Elegantly Wasted’.
Putting the band’s previous two records out of my mind prior to listening to this one proved unnecessary as this sounds 100% like the W.E.T. we know and love, and not only do they keep the same sound we know, they have gone and released their strongest record to date! Two excellent albums in their catalogue and then they give us pure perfection with album number three.
I have not stop listening to this since I got the record. There is not a single bad song here, no filler material whatsoever. Every one of the eleven tracks featured on this album are stunning.
It simply does not get much better when it comes to vocals then Jeff Scott Soto. From Talisman, Eyes, Takara, Axel Rudi Pell and many more, the man just always brings his A game and delivers amazing vocals every time, and he seems to never lose a thing vocally! Incredible singer.
Erik Mårtensson is one of the giants of the genre. Does his musical genius know no bounds? He is unstoppable it seems and anyone who knows me knows I am one of his biggest fans.
Robert Säll has been making waves in melodic rock for several years now with Work Of Art and this guy does an outstanding job on this record. Truly a gifted artist.
Magnus Henriksson and Robban Bäck are two of the most talented guys out there and they make their presence known here time and time again and sound terrific on the guitar and drums.
If you like any of the three bands this group is made up from or are a fan of any of these amazing artists other works then don’t hesitate to get this record.
If you are a fan of great music then do not hesitate to get this album.
Catchy, hook laden songs that will have you singing along in no time delivered by some of the most talented artists in the genre ensure that ‘Earthrage’ will not leave your player any time soon.
A definite contender for album of the year.
Just go get the album already!
Highest of recommendations.
‘Watch The Fire’.
‘Kings On Thunder Road’.
‘Calling Out Your Name’.
‘The Burning Pain Of Love’.
‘The Neverending Retraceable Dream’.