In 2018, we got a promo delivered that impressed us an awful lot. I'm talking about "The Divide" of the Finnish progressive rock/metal act WHEEL. Following the success of their previously released EPs "The Path" and "The Divide", the quartet of WHEEL is releasing their debut album "Moving Backwards" on 22 February 2019.
Building upon the alternative metal sound WHEEL masterfully crafted during their previous releases, the band add a more prominent progressive edge to their sound. In “Moving Backwards” WHEEL has developed a sound that seems firmly packed between these alternative and progressive metal styles. Is it rock, is it metal? Who know… Who cares? The heavy, down-tuned and complex riffs can easily be enjoyed by any progressive rock or progressive metal fan. Combine this with passionate vocals by James Lascelles, ambitious songs in length, structure, inventive guitar playing, and intricate drumming, you will get all the components of the typical WHEEL sound… A sound that not only reminds of progressive acts like Karnivool, and Tool, but also goes back to grunge bands (think Alice In Chains).
“Vultures” sets the emotional tone for the album straight away, painting the picture of the dark and grim atmosphere society has nowadays, before the somewhat brooding yet quite restrained self-titled song “Wheel” kicks in. Whilst all tracks share the same intensity and atmosphere, the band manages to maintain this momentum throughout the whole album, with a climax in “Up The Chain”, a song inspired by countless politicians, CEOs, and public figures who seem to view the poor with contempt and are only interested in dealing with those who can further their own interests. The band shows a heavier sound in “Where The Pieces Lie”.
In general, throughout the seven tracks, WHEEL manage to draw me in with a set of strong and unique moments in every song, ensuring that you don’t lose focus in any of their songs, even the longer ones. “Moving Backwards” is explorative in every meaning of the word, it reaches new heights, it delves into controversial political topics, and hunts for inventive sounds altogether such as the beautiful rhythmic sections in “Skeletons”. On top of that, the album has an outstanding production, where I definitely am a fan of how well-balanced the album sounds like, and of course, the drums.
I can only conclude with the fact that “Moving Backwards” is an album that needs to be listened to. It’s not the kind of album that you listen to once or twice, and then get the big picture. Every minute you listen to this album you will explore new details in the layered songs, it will take some time to sink in, but the songs will stick with you.
- Up The Chain
- Where the Pieces Lie
James Lascelles - Vocals, Guitar
Roni Seppänen - Lead Guitar
Mikko Määttä - Bass
Santeri Saksala - Drums