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WETWORK

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • Canada


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Wetwork biography
WETWORK is a technical/progressive death metal band originating from Oshawa, Canada. They were formed in 1994, but it wasn't until 1998 until they released their debut album Temple of Red under Musty Music Productions.

Their debut album is a concept album, meant to be listened to as one song. While it is a rather short album, almost in EP territory, I do highly recommend it for fans of technical death metal. In 2002 WETWORK released their sophomore album titled New Start Human, and it is another impressive work. While it is also a short album, it takes a step forward from their debut album.

While still mostly an underground band, their 2005 album Synod released under Krankenhaus Records was when they began to become more known in the metal community. This is by far Wetwork's crowning achievement as of now, but if they continue down that road they can release a masterpiece.

WETWORK has experienced changes in their lineup, but they have always featured lead singer Kristen Doc Parker in their lineup. The use of feminine growled vocals gives them a unique feel, letting them standout in the crowded technical death metal genre.

WETWORK is recommended for fans of technical/progressive death metal bands similar to GORGUTS and CEPHALIC CARNAGE, but only if you're willing to hear female growls among all of the madness.

WHY THIS BAND IS ON PA:
Approved by the progressive metal team of collaborators.

-Written by J-Man (Jeff)

Wetwork official website

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SynodSynod
Krankenhaus Records
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WETWORK discography


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WETWORK top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.46 | 3 ratings
Temple of Red
1998
2.00 | 1 ratings
New Start Human
2002
1.50 | 2 ratings
Synod
2005

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WETWORK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Temple of Red by WETWORK album cover Studio Album, 1998
2.46 | 3 ratings

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Temple of Red
Wetwork Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Temple of Red" is the debut full-length studio album by Canadian metal act Wetwork. The album was released through Musty Music Productions in 1998. After this album Wetwork would change musical style to a technical death metal style, but that's not at all what "Temple of Red" is about.

On this album we're presented to an adventurous mix of thrash metal, alternative metal and a couple of semi-progressive elements too. While there are heavier moments on the album, there are as many sections on the album featuring clean guitars. Those sections occasionally cast a nod towards goth rock acts like The Mission and the Sisters of Mercy. The vocalist has a voice and singing style that is so close to the voice and singing style of Dave Mustaine (Megadeth) that it's almost eerie and therefore a Megadeth mention is inevitable.

"Temple of Red" is a concept album featuring 14 tracks and a total playing time of 27:56 minutes. Half the tracks are shorter interludes with narration that explains the storyline, which features an anti-religion theme. While the story is as such rather banale and the narration occasionally sounds a bit forced, it's like the concept part of the album has grown on me the more I listen to the album. The relatively amaturish sound production brings my enthusiasm down again, but there is something charming about the album's atmosphere and the musicianship is decent too.

On many parameters "Temple of Red" is an imature and amaturish release and the fact that the band didn't continue down this musical path, is probably further proof, that they weren't very successful with the album. But I'll go against the grain here and say that I personally really enjoy the album. There's something about the dark atmosphere, and the adventurous approach to writing music that's refreshing and interesting. You can't really pin down what genre tags would be the right ones for "Temple of Red". For that it's too diverse. That's of course not a quality on it's own, but there's something irresistibly charming about the unique sound of the album that I greatly enjoy. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.

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 New Start Human by WETWORK album cover Studio Album, 2002
2.00 | 1 ratings

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New Start Human
Wetwork Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
2 stars 'New Start Human' - Wetwork (3/10)

Wetwork is a Canadian technical death metal band, and while they have all of the musicianship as the style might imply, I have never found myself much connected to the music they make. After a somewhat interesting debut with thrash metal in 'Temple Of Red', Wetwork change their style to what they are best known for in their second album, 'New Start Human'. Here, this quartet plays a somewhat odd brand of death metal, dabbling in some mild psychedelic influence all the while being fronted by a female growler. Although technical death metal has never been my thing, I do know what I like, and I'm afraid to say that 'New Start Human' does not meet the standard for me. While their sound has hints of promise, all too much of it is laid waste by shoddy production values, a lack of band tightness, and shallow songwriting.

Likely the thing that Wetwork is best known for is their still-rare status as a female fronted death metal band. Although this particular trend is spearheaded by Archenemy, there are a few bands that do this, although I have rarely felt that the use of a female growler is anything more than a gimmick to pull in listeners with sex appeal. Vocalist Kristen Parker does have a growl to her that's unlike the gutturals of a male, and it does well to give Wetwork a slightly more identifiable sound when they're doing their tech death material. As far as their death metal goes, there are some good, crunchy riffs here, and even slick bass licks. All of these musicians are quite good on their own, but recording together, everything feels just a bit out of sync. It is entirely understandable that an underground act would not have a load of resources to polish up their albums with, but not playing well together is something that cannot really be excused.

As far as the vocals go, they are arguably Wetwork's most defining trait, and also the worst. Parker's growls are alright, not suitable to my tastes in death metal, but I would not call them bad. Where things start to go wrong are these spoken word sections that the band does so often, where she simply speaks words in what sounds like the most contrived monotone imaginable. Sound fun to listen to? It's really not, and by the end of the half hour that this album goes on for, every gimmicks wears thin. In terms of highlights or anything, 'My Poltergeist' is a track that stands out for me, particularly the instrumental build-up ant the beginning. It demonstrates some dissonant work with the bass guitar that I really like, but as a whole, the song never goes anywhere within its six minute length.

I would say I am disappointed, but I have never found myself too impressed with anything Wetwork has done, unfortunately. Perhaps elements of this band's sound such as the female vocals are simply a matter of taste, but the lack of band precision is something that I cannot really excuse.

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 Temple of Red by WETWORK album cover Studio Album, 1998
2.46 | 3 ratings

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Temple of Red
Wetwork Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

2 stars 'Temple Of Red' - Wetwork (3/10)

Before becoming the female-fronted death metal band that they as best known as, Wetwork was something quite different; a cross of grunge rock and thrash. 'Temple Of Red' is the debut album from this Canadian band, and being one those who first heard the band on their latest album 'Synod', it came as something of a surprise to hear the band playing such a different style of music. As I was expecting though, the music is roughly made and lacks much in the way of tact or aim, a weakness that the band has suffered from over the course of their three albums. A very loose concept piece, 'Temple Of Red' is an attack on deistic faith and religion that ultimately bores, and feels like a lukewarm rehash of other bands' ideas, rather than something new.

Although there are fourteen tracks here, half of these consist of interludes, pieces of dialogue that Wetwork have sampled in order to get some sort of running narrative going. Most of these dialogue pieces are from Christian evangelicals, and from what I can tell, I think that Wetwork is trying to underline their hypocrisy, or something. Really, the band's attack on religion feels superficial more than anything, and- need I even say- the whole 'religious criticism' thing has gone a little overboard by this point with metal. All the same, it does create a sense of flow to the album, and it makes it a little better than a mere collection of songs.

When it comes to the music itself, I was surprised, yet very underwhelmed. Parts of this (particularly the track 'Staining The Shine') gave me a Soundgarden vibe, while much of the rest had a distinct Megadeth feel to it, circa their 'Countdown To Extinction' album. The vocalist here (a male, not female) sounds like he's trying to emulate Dave Mustaine's nasal attitude-heavy voice, and while he does it well enough for a listener to easily draw the comparison, the actual singing here is lacking. It takes until the fourth track for there to even be a semblance of metal here, and when there is something 'metal' sounding, it's very poorly produced, and the distorted guitars suffer from a very muffled sound, as if they were jamming a room away from the actual recording equipment. Instrumentally, the most interesting thing here are the clean guitars, which are plain, but functional, and Wetwork uses these cleaner tones alot here. For anyone thinking they were receiving a heavy album here, think again; 'Temple Of Red' probably has more to do with alternative rock music than metal, and uninspired alt rock at that.

Wetwork give a disappointing introduction here, although it is interesting that they made such a drastic change in their sound. All the same, this is quite a weak release, and it fails to strike me in any particularly positive way.

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 Synod by WETWORK album cover Studio Album, 2005
1.50 | 2 ratings

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Synod
Wetwork Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

1 stars 'Synod' - Wetwork (2/10)

Before reading, know that I am a self-professed metalhead, and I am no stranger to extreme metal music in general. Having been around the block a few times in terms of underground metal, I can safely say that there are quite a few albums in death metal that have blown me away. With that in mind however, it's expected that I would run into at least a couple of albums I really don't find much to write home about, and Canadian technical death metal act Wetwork's third album 'Synod' is one such example.

When the average metal fan thinks of death metal with female vocals, the cornerstone is likely to be Sweden's Arch Enemy. Having introduced people to the concept of female growlers, the occurence is still very rare. Considering that Wetwork shares this trait with the aforementioned band, they are instantly distinguished from their peers. However, the overall quality of the music sadly lacks, and makes the album a painfully forgettable experience. Having obviously been influenced by genre pioneers Death to some extent, the majority of the music is an unyielding barrage of heaviness, typical of the genre. There are a few sections in which a more 'mellow' approach is used in the vein of Athiest, but the atmosphere and complexity of Wetwork's jazzier material fails to amount to any worthy comparison.

Instrumentally, the style and musical approach is generic, but functional and skilled in sections. The bass work here seems to rise above the other instruments in terms of enjoyment; as it stands though, there isn't anything horribly wrong with instrumental execution. The fatal problem here is in fact, the same thing that makes Wetwork a somewhat unique group, their female singer. While females probably aren't inately poor growlers, the vocal work of Krysten Parker here is excrutiatingly bad, to the point where it ruins much of the other aspects of the album. Lacking the power or range of the typical death metal singer, the singing seems to rest uneasily in a higher, raspy pitch range. Add in some awkwardly repetitive vocal phrasing and there is enough failure to sabotage the entire album.

While Wetwork may have potential as is heard in sections, forgettable composition and a dreadful execution make 'Synod' a very avoidable album.

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 Synod by WETWORK album cover Studio Album, 2005
1.50 | 2 ratings

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Synod
Wetwork Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by J-Man
Prog Reviewer

2 stars A Flawed Technical Death Metal Release

Synod is an album that got Wetwork some recognition in death metal circles. Being that I am a death metal fan, I had to hear what all the fuss was about. I went into this album being pretty excited; I had read so many great reviews across the web about Synod. Now that I have listened to this album a fair number of times, I'm sorry to say that I don't enjoy this album nearly as much as some other people. I see glimmers or greatness throughout the album, but a few serious flaws ruin my personal enjoyment of Synod.

If you're not familiar with Wetwork, they play a style of technical death metal similar to late-period Death, with some jazzy influences from bands like Atheist and Pestilence. I also hear a bit of Morbid Angel and Gorguts in Wetwork's sound. Unfortunately, Wetwork never reaches the high level of quality that those bands have achieved.

Let's start the major portion of this review by stating the positive parts of this album. The musicianship is pretty great for the most part. Their playing is always tight and precise, and this helps make an enjoyable release. The bass playing is especially notable. It reminds me a bit of Tony Choy of Atheist at times. Another positive aspect of this album is that there are some really great metal riffs. These riffs deserve to be appreciated, even if the compositions usually lack interest, and guitar solos can be letdowns.

Despite the good delivery of the music, one of the biggest issues I have with Synod is the mediocre songwriting. Many of the songs seem forced, and lacking in dynamics and power as a result. There are many good ideas and riffs, but few of the compositions stand out on this album. This could also be because of the general lack of variety on this album. This is mostly standard death metal with little variation musically and from an arrangement perspective. This album has standard death metal instrumentation, which can be a bit of a problem when the compositions aren't very interesting in the first place. By the end of the album their sound becomes trivial and repetitive. Occasionally there will be an Atheist-influenced jazz section that always grabs my attention. I wish that Wetwork would emphasize this technique more often because it works really well.

Despite these huge flaws, my biggest problem is undoubtedly the vocals used throughout Synod. Some of my favorite vocalists in all of music are women. Their voices can possess a form of beauty and elegance that few men can obtain. Well on this album, Wetwork's female lead vocalist growls the entire time. People will ask, "does it work?" My answer is no. I'm not trying to be sexist or anything like that, but I have yet to find a female death metal vocalist that impresses me at all. Growling can be such a powerful technique when done correctly, but when it's done poorly it can be the most annoying thing in the world. This is like a high-pitched Satanic black metal snarl ? needless to say, it doesn't impress me much.

The production of Synod is pretty mediocre. It's not unlistenable, but it sounds dry and lacking in power. It sounds far too organic for a technical death metal album.

Conclusion:

Synod is an album that has never really impressed me much. There are just too many flaws that ultimately diminish my enjoyment of the album. If you are a death metal collector, who can handle (or even enjoy) female growled vocals, this might be worth looking into. For the average technical death metal fan, this isn't really worth your time. The natural rating for such an album would be 2 stars.

2 stars.

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Thanks to J-Man for the artist addition.

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