The third album from Germany’s Wheel is a new epistle in their Epic Doom story.
The band started in 2006 as Eternal Sleep, changing over to the current name three years later. The self-titled album came out in 2010, followed by Icarus in 2013 and a live album the next year. The new record then is the first in eight years and as such it is the culmination of an extended formative process. After a brief lineup shuffle, the band has returned to its early roster: Arkadius Kurek (vocals), Benjamin Homberger (guitar), Marcus Grabowski (bass), and Carsten Jercke (drums).
The music is Doom Metal, leaning toward the Epic Metal thematic arena. The big riff is the primary structure as we might expect, and the speed lurks around mid-tempo (on the doom scale). The tones are heavy and the vocals enlarged creating an expanding sense of scope in the dark landscape of the compositions.
“At Night They Came Upon Us” is the first song and as an introduction to the set it does the job – everything that is to come is signaled from the beginning. There are clever melodies in the guitar lines and vocal harmonies meant to deepen the delivery. There is a reflective slow-down toward the middle and compelling lead guitar instantiations. A charge is mounted near the end before the song finishes as it began. A very satisfying and complete structure.
My favorite tracks are “Aeon of Darkness” and the big closer “Daedalus” because they represent best to my ear the essence of the album. Picking out a couple tracks, however, is not the best way to hear Wheel. The impact is greater if you listen straight through from beginning to end.
Preserved In Time is out now. Gather it up at Bandcamp.