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WEK - Mystery Award winner

WEK
Mystery
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 07 March 2019, 6:50 AM

WEK is an instrumental, one-man project from Estonia, created by guitarist Kevin Oper. Instrumental music has always been fascinating to me. Done right, you can hear the vocalist in the music, even know there are no vocals. The guitar can simulate what you might expect from a vocalist. Without a lot of information out there on the web, let’s skip the formalities and head right to the music.

“Dusk” leads off the album. Tentative at first, it builds, crashing into a crescendo after a skillful guitar solo, seguing right into the fast-moving title track “Mystery.” The guitars make heavy accents that are echoed in the drums while the melody line fishes its way around the main riff. Staccato guitar strikes create this energy that comes bubbling up from his fingers. “Connection” leads off with a full, in-your-face melody that washes over you like a warm breeze on a cool spring day. Like any good instrumentalist, he tells the story with his guitar notes, rather than racing up and down the fretboard. This is a feel-good track that reminds me of WIDEK. It turns dark for just a few moments and then back to the original melody.

“Powerflow” uses clean guitar moments sandwiched between distorted ones with quite a variety of different sounds here. The heavy grooves are in juxtaposition with the clean notes and the trade-off keeps you on your toes, eager to hear what comes next. After the half way mark, the guitars turn Djenty and hit heavy accents. “Elevation” comes at you in a more straightforward way but with beautiful layers and when it flattens out, the melody is pretty and you find the missing vocals in the guitar work. If you can’t hum that melody line, you don’t understand the song. “The Leader” has a dark edge to it from the start. It’s heavy and aggressive and based on open notes repeated with lead guitar notes sprinkled above. “Difficulties Create Progress” is a great song title—never been truer. Following a heavy opening, the bass guitar thwacks away while the lead hesitates just a bit in a pretty an ambient sound. The two are then joined as interlocking serpents in an angry battle between good and evil.

“Gift of Curse” opens with a lot of energy in a weighted sound where the main riff holds down the bottom end with a chugging riff and the leads provide the melody. The heaviness drops at about the half way mark, with murky clean guitars poking out through the haze. Then the figure materializes and starts slowly towards you. You turn and run, not looking back. “Aspiration” has that Melodic Death Metal feeling in the opening, with harmonic riffing and textures. It might be the fastest and more furious song on the album, relentless in its attack, yet the long-held lead guitar notes are beautiful, above the chaos. It pauses around the half way mark to take in long breaths of air, before returning in a synergy I haven’t heard in a while.

“Tornado” is anything but…opening with a clean guitar cadence that is light and fun. Then comes the fury from his axe as it grinds out deep and heavy. The lead guitar dances above the heavy riff in a playful manner. He really flexes his muscles with a lead guitar passage that shows dominance. “Light” closes the album with an ethereal sound, turned grand with guitars. The slow pace allows you to really feel what Kevin is all about here. The melodies are so easy to assimilate…it’s right in front of your face awaiting your outstretched hands. It builds with layers through the end in a cinematic ending like the sun setting awash with bright colors of pink and purple.

This is a fantastic album. Kevin keeps a fairly constant heaviness throughout the compositions, and shows some dexterous axe-work when it comes to the tightness of his work. Through variated rhythms and strong cadences, he displays a mature sense of songwriting, and his leads compliment the rhythms rather than challenging them. Obviously creative and skilled, he lets out beautiful melodies at just the right times, creating a longing for more. I highly recommend this for fans of instrumental guitar work. But, it’s not another Satch album…this one has depth and character to boot.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Dusk
2. Mystery
3. Connection
4. Powerflow
5. Elevation
6. The Leader
7. Difficulties Create Progress
8. Gift of Curse
9. Aspiration
10. Tornado
11. Light
Lineup:
Kevin Oper – Guitar/Composing/Producing/Programming
Record Label: Independent
     


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