WHEEL - Moving Backwards
Album: Moving Backwards
Genre: Progressive Metal
Release Date: February 22nd 2019
Label: Odyssey Music Network
One of my main reasons to use social media is the chance to find interesting new music - And in case of WHEEL, I stumbled over a real gem a while ago. Founded in 2015 by James Lascelles, who moved from England to Finland after having met like-minded musicians in Helsinki, WHEEL released two EP's in 2017 and 2018, followed by their first album “Moving Backwards” in 2019. It needed to grow over several spins back then, but that’s what I love about this kind of music, and in the end, “Moving Backwards” became my “AOTY2019”.
While diving into their music, I went through different phases:
First: Wow, this rhythm section is on fire! (for me the most striking feature). Santeri Saksala delivers a firework of fantastic drumming.
Second: Great riffs and expressive vocals… The power of these guys is mind-blowing!
Third: The lyrics… definitely worth a closer look. They’re thoughtful and critical, about current social themes and personal fights.
The album opens with the impressive “Vultures”. The accompanying, touching video visualizes the lyrics by comparing modern and historical "vultures" in our society.
“Wheel” is one of my favorite tracks, as it brings the above-mentioned elements to the top, especially the rhythmic is fantastic! The lyrics are about the loss of our privacy, and the carelessness, how people deal with it because of convenience and laziness. Not an easy song, but one that didn’t let me go anymore.
With “Tyrant”, they slow down a bit, but it’s still very intense. Musically, you can hear the Tool influence that the band mentions in their biography. The following “Up the Chains” brings in a great dynamic thanks to the varied song-writing, and which supports the message of the lyrics with its ups and downs. “Skeletons” is an instrumental track with a psychedelic feeling: the groovy bass line invites you to drift away for a moment, just close your eyes.
Time to return to the here and now: “Where the Pieces Lie” will bring you back very fast! It’s such a powerful song full of anger and sadness, and the video makes the emotions even stronger. The last track, “Lacking”, starts again with the rhythm section and an awesome groove, on which the song develops over 10 minutes. Thematically, it is about the inner fight to escape the shackles of the past.
“Moving Backwards” is a beast of an album, and highly recommended for fans of sophisticated music. This is not an “easy listening”, but when you allow WHEEL’s debut to grow, they’ll catch you. The music is very intense and gives the lyrics the needed expression. The rhythm section does an incredible job by delivering a fantastic dynamic, guitars and vocals bring in even more power. Crank it up!
And Keep it Wheel...
James Lascelles - Vocals, Guitar
Roni Seppänen - Guitar
Mikko Määttä - Bass
Santeri Saksala - Drums
4. Up the Chain
6. Where the Pieces Lie
The Path (EP) - 2017
The Divide (EP) - 2018
Moving Backwards - 2019