Album Title: Retransmission
Label: Frontiers Music
Date of Release: 22 January 2021
A little under three years since the release of their critically-acclaimed third release, ‘Earthrage’, the melodic hard rock ‘supergroup’ W.E.T. return with album number four, ‘Retransmission’. And, as you all know, given my soft spot for a dose of melodic hard rock, it was inevitable that this record would be centre of my radar. After all, as I’ve stated many times before, these guys are at the very top of the pile when it comes to this kind of music.
I’m sure you all know the history of the band by now. But in case you are unfamiliar, W.E.T. is comprised of Work of Art keyboardist Robert Säll (W), Eclipse guitarist Erik Mårtensson (E) and Talisman vocalist Jeff Scott Soto (T). Together, W.E.T. was born. The band is then rounded out by lead guitarist Magnus Henriksson, bassist Andreas Passmark, and drummer Robban Bäck. Since their debut release back in 20xx, they have consistently (if perhaps a little slowly) released incredibly high quality music.
And it is pleasing to report that it is business as usual with ‘Retransmission’; W.E.T. are clearly a band that are incapable of releasing sub-par music.
The album kicks off in typical authoritative style with the lead single, ‘Big Boys Don’t Cry’. It comes out of the blocks throwing punches in the form of big, meaty riffs and a strong groove. Soto picks up where he left off last time with another timeless vocal performance, effortlessly charismatic, and full of power, belting out the lyrics with passion. The chorus is a little surprising in that it is softer than the verses, very AOR-driven, complete with acoustic guitars and vocal hooks to die for. You get the obligatory wailing lead guitar histrionics towards the end of what is a cracking opening salvo.
‘Moment Of Truth’ keeps up the intensity perfectly. After the briefest of moody synth intros, the bass takes centre stage, pulsating like the strongest of heartbeats. The riff that emerges has one foot in the 80s and the other in the modern day. It’s a skill that W.E.T. seem to be well versed at harnessing, further underlined by the vibrant, bright and breezy chorus that sits in between some deliciously chunky guitar riffs.
The acoustic guitar and piano opening to ‘The Call Of The Wild’ is stunning and full of dark drama. Somewhat unexpectedly, the song then develops into a slightly dirty, swagger-heavy affair in the verses. However, the chorus brings back the moodiness of the intro beautifully. It is really strong, with great melodies, but it is also a bit of a grower, almost disregarded at the outset. I love the effervescent lead guitar solo that ends on a gloriously epic wailing note, before transitioning into a final rendition of the chorus that then drops its pace to become even more striking as a result. What a great song.
Whenever I review a W.E.T. album, I end up completing a blow-by-blow, song-by-song write-up. Not this time though, as I want to try to be a little more succinct this time around. And, to be honest, with not one single filler to be heard, I will end up sounding like a broken record and will run out of positive adjectives along the way. It is no lie to say that I have listened to ‘Retransmission’ back-to-back upwards of six times today whist working and I am yet to get anywhere near close to tiring of the material on offer. In fact, if anything, I hear more with each passing spin; be it the quality of a riff, a particular lyric, or the increasing strength of a hook or melody. The fact that some of the melodies are quite insidious in their nature, means that the album is afforded the kind of longevity that isn’t always the preserve of the melodic hard rock genre.
From the vaguely Country-infused ‘Got To Be About Love’, to the altogether more hard-rocking ‘Beautiful Game’, each song brings its own identity to the party. And ‘party’ is a very good word because listening to ‘Retransmission’ is just that – it’s fun, it’s loud, it’s exciting, and it makes you smile and have a good time. Lockdown? What lockdown?
Naturally there are those compositions that I like so much that they deserve a special mention. On that score, I’m a sucker for the enormous ballad that’s ‘What Are You Waiting For’ simply because it has some of the sweetest melodies on the album, not to mention a believable depth and passion. I also adore ‘How Do I Know’, another slow burner that has grown in my affections to enormous proportions thanks mainly to a killer sprawling chorus and a cheeky verse melody, that’s simply irresistible once its hooks get into you.
There’s little more to say, except to tip a nod to the production which, once again, is superb, affording power, crunch and clarity to best showcase the eleven tracks on the record. As with each of the three albums before it, ‘Retransmission’ is simply a masterclass in how to write, perform, and record near-perfect melodic hard rock. As such, there is literally nothing that I can fault about it. Feel-good melodic rock has rarely felt quite this good; ‘Retransmission’ is a joy to listen to and a joy to write about.
The Score of Much Metal: 96%
Further reviews from 2021:
You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here: