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  • Tuesday, 10 December 2024
  • Lido
  • 19:00
  • 20:00

Veranstalter: Trinity Music

Charismatic leaders. These are the dictators, demagogues and false idols who, around the world... more

Charismatic leaders. These are the dictators, demagogues and false idols who, around the world at this very moment, are stoking division and igniting war in the name of nothing but self-gain. They’re also the unmistakable target of Wheel’s new album of the same name: a seven-song prog metal opus that strives for all things right in a world gone wrong.

Since forming in 2015, Wheel have swiftly grown from underdogs of Helsinki, Finland, to an international tour de force. The angular riffs, unforgettable melodies and adventurous scope of the trio’s 2019 debut, Moving Backwards, was instantly adored by fans of megastars from Tool to Coheed & Cambria. Then, 2021 followup Resident Human received rave reviews from publications across the planet, praising its sonic evolution and bravely dystopian themes.

Charismatic Leaders was meticulously crafted to meet Wheel’s ever-heightening benchmarks. Its songs date as far back as 2020,and recording with engineers/co-producers Daniel Bergstrand and Fredrik Thordendal (Meshuggah) stretched from August to December 2023. The end result, mixed by Forrester Savell, has consolidated all the gains of what came before: singer/guitarist James Lascelles, lead guitarist Jussi Turunen and drummer Santeri Saksala’s third album represents their heaviest and most conscious music to date.

“Normally, ‘charismatic leader’ is a term used to describe the leader of a cult,” Lascelles explains. “I think the meaning is changing, considering how we’ve seen politics evolve over the past ten years. It seems to be less and less about policy; it’s more and more about these cults of personality, like we’ve seen with Boris Johnson and Donald Trump. I started seeing these people everywhere and thought, ‘There’s probably enough information here to do an album.’”

Although not quite a concept album, Charismatic Leaders investigates this idea in laudable detail. “Empire” rages against the multimedia oligarchy of Rupert Murdoch, its impassioned cries and high-octane riffing making it the most invigorating four minutes of Wheel’s career. Meanwhile, “The Freeze” builds an enormous atmosphere to accommodate its more worldly focus, expressing the paralysis and hopelessness many feel as they see atrocities playing out thousands of miles away. Yet, armadas of ferocious riffs still hammer through across the song.

“This is our heavy album,” Lascelles states. “For the people who like metal and are into Wheel music, this is the one for them. It’s not like we’ve become a caricature of the previous albums, but we’ve definitely moved in a more metal direction, and we wanted to make a metal album.”

Already, Wheel have toured the world with such prog metal idols as Epica and Soen, and it’s easy to imagine the irresistible hook of “Disciple” or the explosive guitars of “Submission” only amplifying the excitement of their shows. With an Australian tour alongside Caligula’s Horse and many more concerts already planned for 2024, Wheel’s pulse-pounding cries for justice will never be more widespread. Charismatic Leaders is destined to be looked back on as a manifesto that equally excited its listeners and made them think about the world around them.