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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

W.E.T. ‘Rise Up’ album review

W.E.T. ‘Rise Up’ album review
Released on: Frontiers records.  Release date: Available now.
What a great coup of talent in this project – Hard to call it a true band as such, when each of these guys are main players in their individual ‘main’ bands. – that features Jeff Scott Soto (Talisman, Yngwie Malmsteen, Soul SirkUS, Journey) on vocals, Robert Säll (Work of Art) keyboards and guitars, Erik Martensson (Eclipse) guitars, bass, keyboards and helps on vocals too.
 Also helping out on here are fellow Eclipse members Magnus Henriksson (guitars) and Robban Bäck (drums).
The name W.E.T. stems from the main players previous – in Soto’s case – or current bands.
The ‘W’ is from Robert Säll’s Work of Art, the ‘E’ from Martensson’s Eclipse and ‘T’ from a previous band of Soto’s in Talisman.
This is the unit’s second release, after all the accolades they received from their first release and a pretty nice piece of work it is too!

The biggest problem with no longer receiving physical copies of albums, is you don't know, who's playing what on which track, so whilst I know Jeff is singing throughout, I couldn't give you any clue as to who is playing which guitar solo?!
Sad indeed ...
Opener ‘Walk Away’ is rocking AOR in a similar fashion to say Journey and maybe people will say, ‘Why do you draw comparisons?’ The thing is, when you hear it for yourself, you’ll find it hard not to also!
Great vocals and musically truly gelling as a band of say many more years history would do and pull together, really strong!
 ‘Learn to Live Again’ has elements of that same Journey type sound although I’m really aware of a strong Bon Jovi type vibe to this too - Sorry if that offends?! - from their strong era of writing, NOT the country style they were leaning to with their last album or two.
Again, highly enjoyable and strong in all departments, nicely done!
Title track ‘Rise Up’ is a monster melodic rocker and a very apt title track indeed. I just love it, making this album kick-off with three truly strong and magical tunes!
‘Love Heals’ starts atmospherically before getting into true and classy power ballad territory. Wonderful layering in the song structure, great harmony vocals, simply where needed not overly used.
Next up we get ‘What You Want’ which grows into a monster strong chorus, supported by simple yet powerful catchy power chords and a wonderful bridge, class AOR indeed.
‘The Moment’ comes right out of the starting blocks with no messing and hits the chorus in no time at all, with short snappy verses.
 Great up tempo number, nice solo as well and Jeff Scott Soto is singing better than ever, I swear!
 There is no bad track here at all, nothing average even and with this line up of talent you’d really expect nothing less.
‘Bad Boy,’ is again a very Journey like up tempo number, well-crafted musically, huge vocals throughout, even a nod to Van Halen possibly here and there, just little touches you know. Great track!
‘On The Run,’ seems to start a little darkly perhaps, riff wise but then Jeff’s vocals soon clean that up.
 It seems to have that chug along type vibe through the verses, without chug along guitars. There’s so much going on here musically, a little busy but very nicely done indeed. Nice guitar interaction throughout.
When I saw the title of the next track I wondered if the guys here had taken on the Mr. Mister classic ‘Broken Wings,’ but it’s not. It actually starts sounding not unlike a certain Dare track I recall – 'The Raindance' – I know, I know, shame on me drawing comparisons …
 It soon takes its own direction .., kind of … and is once again another winner, with a great chorus once again. These guys have certainly established a great song writing partnership, of that there is no doubt at all.
Next track ‘Shot’ is without doubt a slightly more edgy riff, if contagious, but it keeps it’s melody with keyboard touches here and that great melodic voice that belongs to the mighty Jeff Scott Soto!
 Very hook laden catchy rocker.
The power ballad returns with ‘Still Believe In Us,’ and it has some simple piano touches which are very effective here and there, that then get replaced by strings further in and it’s a really wonderful track.
The album closes with the rocking ‘Still Unbroken’ a little Bon Jovi like for hooks, but then hits the midpoint, which really takes a nice twist with beautiful guitar solo work and then comes back in to finish strong.
 Yes, this is yet another new album that is very pleasing on the ears from the first time you play it. Very strong indeed, plenty of melody, loads more hooks and yet still rocks out with a passion!
Thank you W.E.T. for a fine piece of work indeed!