Vera : While a (significant) part of the world population is still eagerly waiting for a new Tool album, alternatives are popping up like mushrooms. Great music goes beyond boundaries and thus Englishman James Lascelles moved to Finland in order to find some congenial musicians who were able to make his dream come true. That is the spirit! Wheel has released two EPs in the past, The Path and The Divide, but now they are offering us a full length debut album Moving Backwards. It will grandly appeal to aficionados of progressive rock, grunge and cinematic atmospheres. We obviously notice a kind of similarity with Swedish masters Soen and the band will hit the road (again) with them pretty soon, while they supported Amorphis during their Finnish gigs late 2018. Things look bright for them!
It is admirable how Wheel manages to brew their own blend of alternative rock and progressive modern rock in an inventive and fluent manner. One can surely find elements of Tool and Soen in their music, but also artists like Riverside, (early) Porcupine Tree, Karnivool and Radiohead have influenced the musical direction they finally chose to follow. Even post-rock fans should give them a chance. The band itself does not care in which genre they should be categorized, whether it is rock or metal. They just create the music they love themselves and that means sometimes lengthy songs with momentum, cautiously going into crescendo towards mighty climaxes. Next they move in spirals towards introvert, fragile passages. The opening track, already released as single end 2018, Vultures does it in compact format, but next we get two extensive stunners, Wheel and Tyrant, of ten minutes long each. The band has always written lyrics full of social criticism and again they are truly engaged in that matter. As main theme they have opted for the danger that we will be silenced by far-reaching control and censorship in the near future. Lascelles has a captivating way of singing that reminds us of Tool and Soen while in some parts of Wheel a Riverside vibe is reigning. The band plays few to none classical guitar solos, but impresses with fluttering sounds and effects. Thatis why a slightly psychedelic atmosphere can be noticed. They give a lot of space to the vocals, but they are instrumentally a giant force as well, just listen to Skeletons which is a track without any vocals. Bass and drums are regularly mixed in the front, so that the rhythm section has an enigmatic flavour. Together with the Toolish vocals and fetching one-liners, Lacking happens to be an extensive occluding song on an amazing debut album! Top notch class!