First important thing is that there are more bands called Wheel and at least two of them have a new album in the pipeline. There is Wheel from Germany, being very much into doom and epic metal while this review is about the newest achievement of Wheel, the UK/Finland collaboration.
Wheel is the brainchild of James Lascelles, a multi-instrument musician from the UK who moved to Finland for a restart of his musical career. Lascelles founded Wheel with some local musicians, Mikko Määttä, Santeri Saksala and Roni Seppänen. Work on own songs started rather quickly and after having published a very well received EP at the time, the momentum was there for the debut album which saw the light of day in 2019. ‘Moving Backwards’ was definitely a step forward for the band and now it’s up to ‘Resident Human’ to pick things up and lift the bar for a next time.
‘Resident Human’ contains seven songs of musical savvy and emotional depth. A lot of things happened during the past months and years, a lot of inspiration for Lascelles and band to write about. Wheel’s new album is a very reflective one with songs like ‘Ascend’, addressing the desperate approach of harvesting content by ‘copy/paste’. In a way the album is a musical reflection on many things which also includes polarization like in the US (‘Movement’). But also the sci-fi novel series ‘Hyperion Cantos’ by Dan Simmons acted as a source of inspiration for songs like ‘Hyperion’ and ‘Dissipating’.
Next to all the things happening in a global perspective, Wheel also went through a line-up change with JC leaving the band an being replace by Jussi Turunen. Of course it was upcoming pandemic in spring 2020 that led to a change of plans too and all togetherresulted in a situation of postponing work on the sophomore album.
Photo Credit: Ville Juurikkala
‘Resident Human’ will be unleashed in end March and the heart of the album are the three extra long songs, clocking in at over ten minutes. The opener ‘Dissipating’ is exemplary for the album and is one of these epic pieces on ‘Resident Human’. Wheel is a progressive metal band and parallels with band like Tool are not for nothing mentioned. Still Wheel is Wheel and is on the way of sharpening their own identity. Coming back to the opener means to mention the very soulful and calmer moments that are touching. These gentle ear-tickler sequences alternate with heavy outbursts that return more often the longer the 10 minutes compositions unfolds itself. Especially the last third of ‘Dissipating’ is a mighty riff assault with a very strong beat before the song turns abruptly into a gentle acoustic outro, being the perfect counterpart to what was offered seconds earlier.
‘Resident Human’ is a very strong progressive metal album that makes use of a wide range of sounds and intensity. It’s complex on the one hand and at the same time appeals through strong melodies. With details and twists, the longplayer has also a long-lasting entertainment factor. All together shows the beauty of progressive metal that is in this case summarized in a 50 minutes musical spectacle.
- Resident Human
- Old Earth
Label: OMN Label Services
Genre: Prog Metal
Release Date EU: March 26th, 2021