Wheel - Wheel
Eyes Like Snow
Melodic Doom Metal
8 songs (53'42")
Release year: 2010
Eyes Like Snow
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

I am two for two so far in my recent doom metal stack from the German label Eyes Like Snow. And as much as I was enthusiastic about Chilean Capilla Ardiente, I am even more gung-ho excited about the totally unknown new German outfit Wheel. If you ever thought my doom tastes were similar to yours, if you ever read any of my doom reviews, got an album based upon them and did not regret it, all the more reason for you to seek out this self-titled debut.

Only a couple of years old, Dortmunders’ doom may not be the most depressing or the heaviest. As a matter of fact, it jumps out how non-convoluted and easy to get into Wheel is. Yet, whatever the band gives up in complexity, they more than make up in emotion, the trait which either elevates a given doom album or sinks it into boredom, especially if the aforementioned passion is missing.

Wheel rolls out most of their songs in mid-pace fashion with chord driven riffs, obvious melodies, drums falling as if off the cliff and very active bass guitar. This clear and clean, and at the same time very grounded, music exudes a certain degree of familiarity and has easy time winning a listener over (The Mills of God, To My Love Departed, Eyes of the Hydra, The Day I Need You Most). The pair of tracks from the earlier demo, Lilith and Ethereal Sleep, along with Reverend Bizarre-like Only God Knows, is ostensibly heavier, but just as reserved in their tempo and quite storytelling, bringing a feeling of droopy slumber.

Vocalist Arkadius Kurek, who deserves special mention, is largely responsible for the emotional load Wheel brings to the table. His voice, higher register than what you would normally find in doom, reminds me of Geoff Tate or Tony Taylor (RIP) from Twisted Tower Dire. Caressing, stepping gingerly, Arkadius channels a ton of melody through his vocals, constantly gliding and always on note. In perfect harmony with the rest of the band, he is either reserved with tear jerked sadness in his voice or grows more forceful when the songs reach their pinnacle, which many a cut do on this album. Culmination in Wheel’s terms does not necessarily mean the tempo pickup, the whole of the album probably has one double bass moment, but you know when the zenith is near, be it a sonorous chorus line (Eyes of the Hydra), the final verse (To My Love Departed) or those drum rolls in Only God Knows. If anything, the distinct guitar lines are the only thing lacking on the album, the whole album seeming so harmonious an off line in the lead in Eyes of the Hydra jarring off the foundation.

In closing Wheel slow down to a funeral procession on Entrance into White Light, with a mournful melody to match, the track befitting in its monumental posture Yearning Canticum and Shape of Despair Angels of Distress. The clean melodic doom fans who like the vocals to be a focal point (Count Raven easily comes to mind) will not get enough of Wheel, and this is my solemn promise which will be easily kept. Another good news – the stack of promos still has a couple of albums left in it.

Killing Songs :
The Mills of God, To My Love Departed, Eyes of the Hydra, Entrance into White Light
Alex quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Wheel that we have reviewed:
Wheel - Icarus reviewed by Alex and quoted 80 / 100
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