Review Summary: This album will make you wet. Guarenteed.
The pet project of Frontiers records came alive in 2009 with the release of a debut most fans of AOR and melodic rock consider a modern classic. MedlodicRock.com even went so far as to give the album a 100% rating and claim that basically, WET’’s debut was perfect in every way imaginable. While this album contains some of the best melodic rock you will in the 2000’s, it certainly does not deserve a 100% for anything. For that matter, let’s call a spade a spade: a perfect album simply does not exist in a world populated by imperfect beings. That is not to say, one does not sometimes stumble upon stone cold classics or simply phenomenal material because the proof lies within this album. It’s a great modern slice of melodic rock while still opting for a more metal and progressive side at times. Twelve tracks populate WET’s debut and they sure are nothing to complain about.
I am sure most of you know who and from what other bands the project WET is comprised of but if you must be clued in, this is an accumulation of some of the finest AOR acts of the past decade, namely Work of Art, Eclipse, and Talisman; all of whom sit atop the Frontiers label. Together, drawing strength from each band separately, five men (Jeff Scott Soto, Robert Sail, Erik Martensson, Magnus Kenriksson, and Robban Back) have created a quintessential album of epic proportions. First out of the gate is ‘Invincible’ which takes about thirty seconds before opening up its rockets and shooting to the sky with a chorus of melodic heaven. All members, especially Soto, sound great and spot on. The production value of the album is another strength this group possesses. Every instrument, even the sometimes elusive bass, can be heard in context and shines bright when and where it needs to. ‘One Love’ continues the same emotional verses and chorus, but the band is just warming up as they come to ‘Brothers in Arms’ which was a melodic favorite of 2009. I personally do not find this track to be of such high caliber, but it fits nicely within the track list. At this point we have gone through three strong rockers so we know what’s coming next: a ballad. And a damn good one at that! ‘Comes Down Like Rain’ gives a chance for Soto to be the highlight in an emotional outpouring centered on sex. But in the blink of an eye, the entire layout of the song is ripped to shreds with the best guitar solo this group and probably Robert Sail for that matter have ever written. Yeah, that’s how I like my ballads to end!
It is at this point where we are treated to a steady string of arena-ready rock songs, spanning every influence from Foreigner to Fortune to Shy and back again. After multiple listens, ‘Running from the Heartache’, ‘I’ll be There’, and ‘Damage is Done’ kind of blur together into the same song, which is not such a bad thing considering how strong the song is! ‘Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is’ revs up the speed of the album with ease with Soto sounding like a pissed-off version of Paul Stanley. Then it is time for another ballad (‘One Day at a Time’) which does little and brings little to the table. ‘Just Go’ has some killer verses but ends up sounding forced and incredibly simplistic by the time its chorus takes center stage. Thankfully, the album picks itself up, dusts itself off, and gives the listener the two best songs off the debut, coming in the forms of the rifftastic and bombastic ‘My Everything’ alongside the Journey-esque ‘If I Fall’. Upon hearing this final number, Steve Perry must have been scratching his head, thinking, “Was this off of Escape?” No Steve, no it was not.
WET’s debut is not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination. Far from it, it lacks creativity as some points and innovation to carry some of its songs in others. But cons aside, it is an enjoyable ride through every alley of AOR/melodic rock there is and does boast a considerable amount of talent from all five musicians. But this debut is in the past, meaning the second offering from these guys aptly titled ‘Rise Up’ is soon to be rising on the horizon and unleashed upon the unsuspecting majority. So get your umbrellas ready, WET is about to make it all come down like rain yet again!