W.E.T. – Retransmission (2021)

W.E.T. - Retransmission (2021) full

Let’s put it clear since the beginning: “Retransmission“, the upcoming, fourth release from Swedish wonders W.E.T. will be one of the most important rock records of 2021.
While the first three studio albums from the band were stupendous in their own right, it can be an unfortunate ass-biting situation raising the bar so high for oneself. However, with “Retransmission” W.E.T. goes even further in their journey of continuous self-improvement.

We now find ourselves in early 2021, almost a year into a world where musicians no longer tour, but stay locked inside, ideally working on new material.
While this is a crushing blow to the lifestyle of the headbanging crowd, the silver lining is that gentlemen like these have time for their part-time projects such as W.E.T. Thus, this year, on January 22 we are blessed with “Retransmission,” the big bad ass new album from W.E.T.
We already know previous CD “Earthrage” was a beast – so how does the new record compare?

Right out of the gate, we have the band telling us what 10cc informed us of in 1975, namely that “Big Boys Don’t Cry.” The first and most obvious thing is how huge the record sounds. Great engineering, and brutal musicianship, especially the crunching rhythm humbuckers.
Erik Martensson and J S Soto trade verses, sometimes singing in harmony, and the result is every bit what it was on “Earthrage”. Best of all, guitar leads are provided by Magnus Henriksson (also of Eclipse), so the results speak for themselves (spoiler alert, they are great).

While the opener is a straight-ahead rocker, the second track “Moment of Truth” does a brilliant job of stepping back and forth between rocking crunch and AOR / melodic rock sensibilities. The guitar solo is equally brilliant, demonstrating Magnus has the fingers of Kee Marchello and the heart of Neal Schon.

“Call of the Wild” may be one of the real fun highlights of the album, showcasing retro ’80s songwriting, and cool vocal call-and-response between Soto and Erik. And it even has big old cowbell. The shuffling almost syncopated rhythm guitar in the verses, and a big anthemic chorus, this song really has it all.
Without any doubt, the ballad of the album is “Got to be About Love,” strummy and semi-clean at first, before building to a pleasant medium-crunchy chorus at just the right tempo. Soto’s vocals just soar on this one, and it’s a crowd-pleaser in the making, if we ever have crowds ever again.
Then “Beautiful Game” has a badass mix of guitar riffs and keyboards, with an unrelenting driving beat.

Soto’s old buddy Yngwie Malmsteen once asked “How many miles to Babylon,” and now we ask the same, although in this case it’s “How far to Babylon?” Between the song’s crowd-pleasing anthemic “Viva La Victoria” vibes, and drums equal parts tribal-and-bouncy, it’s a fun little jam to be sure.
The following track, “Coming Home,” is hooky and melodic in a solo Paul Gilbert sort of way. While it dials down the heaviness for a moment, the vibes are terrific, and a nice palate-cleansing segue into the second side of the album.

“What are You Waiting For,” opens with swirly phased/chorused clean guitar chords picked out as single notes, paving the way for a primo JSS ballad. There are a number of contemporary AOR acts trying to resuscitate lighter-in-the-air arena ballad vibes, and this is a case of it being done exactly right.
“You Better Believe It” starts with some really cool digital delay guitar picking before getting down to business in a nice tight bass-and-drums rhythm section verse structure, before pounding into a hearty chorus. The lead guitars are exemplary, and yet do not overstay their welcome.

“How Do I Know,” has all the markings of a grand finale, and yet it is the penultimate track of the album. The main riff is killer, with the song carrying a “don’t mess with me right now” vibe similar to “The Burning Pain of Love,” an outstanding track from the prior album.
Appropriately enough, the final word on the CD comes in the form of “The Last Kiss,” a more traditional melodic rocker with a hook-laden chorus.

We admittedly had some concerns about Erik and Soto siphoning their best ideas into their own respective projects (Eclipse and Soto), and Robert perhaps working hard on his next Work Of Art record.
The fears seem to be unfounded. W.E.T. / “Retransmission” is terrific all the way through.
Unfortunately, mastermind Martensson was born three decades too late to get the credit he truly deserves, and unless he has another trick up his 2021 sleeve, fans of melodic hard rock won’t have a more transcendent listening experience this year.


1. Big Boys Don’t Cry
2. The Moment Of Truth
3. The Call Of The Wild
4. Got To Be About Love
5. Beautiful Game
6. How Far To Babylon
7. Coming Home
8. What Are You Waiting For
9. You Better Believe It
10. How Do I Know
11. One Final Kiss

Jeff Scott Soto – Lead Vocals
Erik Martensson – Guitar, Vocals, Keyboards
Robert Säll – Keys, Synths, Guitar
Magnus Henriksson – Guitar
Andreas Passmark – Bass
Robban Bäck – Drums


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