Around these parts, we like to throw the word “Epic” out there quite a bit. Mostly because it’s the best descriptor when trying to accurately express how massive something sounds. And after hearing only the first song off Wheel’s upcoming magnum opus, Resident Human, we’re afraid that that term is going to get overused once again. Sorry?
But I digress.
Wheel is a Helsinki-based quartet making the very best Prog/Metal hybrid you could find outside of a certain legendary California-based outfit known for epic periods of hibernation in between their records. Speaking of Tool, opener “Dissipating” is like the greatest song that band never recorded. But Wheel did! And as an identity-defining track for the Wheel virgins out there, it is simply divine. At almost twelve minutes long, “Dissipating” is large and in charge with vocalist/guitarist James Lascelles sauntering in with broad passages as a guiding light over world-shaking rumbles from Aki Verta’s bass, quake-inducing drumming from Santeri Saksala, and static guitar lines that bite from Lascelles and Jussi Turunen.
“Movement”, on the other hand, is a heavy shredder with a tangled foundation fueled by polyrhythmic prowess while “Ascend” is just a fortifying unifier of conflicting sounds which solidifies Wheel’s place as a Prog heavyweight. “Hyperion” is built from sweeping, hopeful movements contradicted by some serious riffage and the title track is an eclectic auditory journey, spinning an aural yarn that lasts for ten and a half precious progressive minutes driven by Verta and Saksala’s harmonious rhythm section which is both concise and contrasting bringing an ominous air as well as one of om.
Thematically spilling out of “Resident Human”, Wheel’s epic sophomore outing ends with a piano-led track called “Old Earth” which echoes the previous song’s main riff and is akin to the “The Lonely Man Theme” from The Incredible Hulk show of the late ’70’s or some other mysterious score playing (Like Maurice Jarre’s from …Beyond Thunderdome) as Mad Max walks off alone into the apocalyptic wasteland toward whatever new journey awaits.
Resident Human lands on March 26th via Odyssey Music Network. Pre-orders are live now and can be checked out when you head here. For more on Wheel, follow them across their social media pages by clicking here, here, or here.