“Life is like a wheel, sooner or later, it always comes around to where you started again”

This wheel isn’t gonna stop turning anytime soon. Finnish progressive metal band Wheel formed when vocalist James Lascelles moved from England to pursue his dreams in music. The name Wheel was inspired from the Stephen King quote showed above; it serves as an important intellectual foundation for the band’s lyrics- highly philosophical like much of the music in this genre is.

Wheel revealed their full length album, Moving Backwards, February of this year- after a series after their two EPs of 2017 and 2018, The Path, and The Divide, respectively. Wheel finally exploded with the release of their singles Up The Chain, an ode to a “success is revenge” story; and Vultures, lyrics providing the listener with a feeling of being mercilessly hunted.

Up the Chain is driven by a sneaking, angry bass, waiting for the song to explode. The drums keep this momentum going as well and excellent bring up tension in each of their songs. Seriously, their self titled song Wheel, is 10 minutes long but this drummer is fantastic at keeping my attention! The drumming is so primal and is nostalgic of something tribal, combined with modern metal.

I love the eeriness of Vultures, I love that its climax are the actual verses, as well as the chorus. The first verse:

They give a vivid image of the speaker being part of the Vultures, and also asking questions to their prey that we don’t understand quite yet. “Was there ever a reason? Are you so eager to burn?”- is something which prompts us to get more context. What reason, what fire?

It seems as if the prey can only “piss on their bonfire” in order to save themselves from being burned after being eaten by vultures! But it really doesn’t matter, they will already be dead. It’s very morbid and haunting, especially the reference to reality as a game, “gamification”- another descriptive element to paint this picture of winning vs. losing, life vs. death.

The twist: the game is just a gamble, there’s no real strategy. It concludes with the chorus once more, and the last two lines imply that the prey, this whole time, will indeed experience the negative effects of karma. I love how this ties in with their band name, and the Stephan King quote. Karma is a wheel.

Vultures is just one of the greats of this album, but the rest of it works to have this same depth, there’s no denying that in my opinion. Check out Wheel while they’re still on the way up in the rock music world!

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