Do you remember what you were doing on the 17th January 2013? I know there will be a few fans of Melodic Rockin' six-piece W.E.T. who will be smiling from ear to ear as they recall that fateful evening in Stockholm, in a location called the Debaser Club which was crammed to the proverbial with people experiencing an action-packed audio delight!
Captured for more than just posterity is that very same gig for all of us to wrap our ears around. I don't know many bands who would have the audacity to release a double live album after only releasing two studio albums, but I've now stumbled across one.
Acronyms can be fun word games, and if you're unaware what W.E.T. stands for, the band are very kind to explain this during the tail end of 'Rise Up' on the first disc. One of the key members of the band is called Robert Sall who is known for being in Work Of Art (that gives you the W), Erik Mårtensson is associated with his band Eclipse (that gives us an E) and finally Jeff Scott Soto is known for many good quality melodic rock projects, but mostly known as the frontman of Talisman (giving us the T).
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The material they share in their set list comes from their two studio albums for the most part. There are six tracks from their self-titled 2009 debut album with eight tracks taken from the album they were promoting during the show which was 'Rise Up' from 2013.
For your hard-earned money you also get a rendition of 'Bleed And Scream', the title track of the 2012 album by Eclipse plus 'The Great Fall' which is one of several highlights from the Melodic Rock master-class called 'In Progress' by Work of Art. 'Mysterious' is given the live in Stockholm treatment as well as the guys reach back to 1993 to refresh the groove of Talisman's single from their second studio album 'Genesis'.
So far; so good as we recount what was aired on that winter evening in Sweden. I guess someone might have suggested that as the band only have two studio albums to pillage for their own material, that adding two brand new studio recordings on the end might make this package good value. I personally concur with such a suggestion and what of these two added bonus tracks?
'Poison (Numbing The Pain)' has a serious and dark title for sure, creeping in to earshot and then showcasing that familiar confident melodic presence as it builds in to a chorus that punishes with its driven enthusiasm. I have no hesitation in sharing with your good self that this first studio track is a corker which brings us to the second and final example of studio-based behaviour.
'Bigger Than Both Of Us' sets out its stall as a power ballad. Hand in hand with cheesy predictability and emotive suggestion it soars when the chorus kicks in and crawls along during the verse. I'm partial to some cheese, and this is balanced with the right quantity so I'll give it the thumbs up.
I had a quick thought during the second listening which pondered over these guys finding familiar ground that Foreigner had walked previously regarding a big ballad hit single. Will that ever transpire I wonder?
Live albums can be a little disappointing sometimes, but I can reveal that the sound quality is great on this double set. Vocals are clear and the music is allowed space to breathe overall giving the listener a good chance to digest all that is taking place. Highlights like 'Walk Away' and 'Learn To Live Again' ride the opening audience anticipation beautifully.
During 'Broken Wings' (not the Mr Mister hit single) they have an interesting moment of U2 going on with some audience participation which is quirky. There's a funny call and response moment with the crowd during 'I'll Be Waiting' which is worthy of mentioning plus the grand finale that Rocks my ears in the shape of 'One Love'.
To summarise, I would recommend this live collection for fans of W.E.T. naturally, but those who are partial to Eclipse and Work of Art as well. There is plenty going on during the show to make it entertaining, some respectable hooks are laid out and some cool musicianship to boot if you're that way inclined.
If this double album was a toothpaste, it would be a very refreshing minty experience that brings about a pleasant whitening to the teeth without a horrid after-taste. I was pleasantly surprised, and if you enjoy your melodic rock I suspect that you will be too.
Learn To Live Again
I'll Be There
Bleed And Scream
I'll Be Waiting
If I Fall
Comes Down Like Rain
The Great Fall
What You Want
Brothers In Arms
Poison (Numbing The Pain) [New studio recording]
Bigger Than Both Of Us [New studio recording]
Jeff Scott Soto - Lead Vocals & Keyboards
Erik Mårtensson - Rhythm & Lead Guitar, Backing & Lead Vocals
Robert Säll - Keyboards, Guitar & Backing Vocals
Magnus Henriksson - Rhythm & Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Robban Bäck - Drums
Andreas Passmark - Bass