|"Blimey, but Albert Witchfinder has finally reactivated Reverend Bizarre!!"|
This was my first thought when the opener 'The Mills Of God' started to spin on my stereo. Then a few details came into place, the first and more important being that vocalist Arkadius Kurek manage to stray from the path of Witchfinder's typical vocal lines more than a few times. In fact, he has that kind of yearning, crying yet mellow and sometimes croonering voice that makes him like a Doom metal singing Chris Isaak. The band was formed in 2008 with the intention to play Traditionnal old school Doom; and the Great Old Ones are all summoned there, mostly Saint-Vitus when it comes to riffs.
But Wheel could just be another of those hundred copycats of a great bands that you can find on every scene (yes, I'm talking about you Unsilence, among others). For all it takes, they have everything to give a Trad. Doom fan a proper hard-on just by listening to the first few notes of the album. And they quickly manage to display great ideas and a strong personality. They are heavy and progressive at the same time, bordering on Stoner psychedelia but just that : bordering, and never crossing.
Blues influences are also presents, making the band sounding at times more like a 70's Blues-Rock outfit ('Lilith' has an Allman Brothers Band vibe, and this tale about the Mother of Abominations is made even more erotic by the voice of Arkadius). They are as fat, greasy and heavy as one could expect from a band coming from southern California, and never have that distinctive classic Heavy Metal vibe you find in European bands. Considering that Wheel are German, this is a strong point they can pride themselves on.
And then, there's the voice. And finally, most important, the songwriting: pretty much each song of 'Wheel' is an instant classic (favorites are 'Lilith', the pure Reverend Bizarre like 'Only God Knows' and the nearly 12 minutes long epic 'Entrance Into White Light'), and the kind of songs that will get stuck in your head hours after you've stopped playing the CD. A strong debut album, heralding even better things to come, if the band continues on that way.
1. The Mills Of God
2. To My Love Departed
4. Eyes Of The Hydra
5. Ethereal Sleep
6. Only God Knows
7. The Day I Need You Most
8. Entrance Into White Light
Duration : Approx. 54 minutes
Visit the Wheel bandpage.