Wheelfall’s sound is hardly original but it’s worth looking past the desert rock echoes and taking this album as simply a collection of great, fuzzy jams by a group of musicians who love their chosen idiom and see no reason to reinvent the wheel. Or indeed the Wheelfall (sorry!). It helps that their songwriting seems to have evolved since their last release. In particular, the drums, which sometimes seemed a bit too modern and metallic on the last release, have settled into a more song-based approach. The science fiction theme really helps, at least for me; while I didn’t follow the lyrics, the spacey trappings seem to lend the music a certain interstellar roominess.
The songs on this album get better as they get longer. Which is not to say that their shorter songs
are a slouch: the relatively short ‘Howling’ manages to make every second of its 5-minute span count, moving from an uptempo opening section into a slow, almost doomy riff. ‘Holy Sky’ ups the running time, stretching to 8 minutes and giving its langorous, smoky riffs space to breathe. ‘The Parasite Ravages’ moves between mid-tempo, catchy grooves and expansive passages and packs in some nicely atmospheric lead work. ‘It comes from the mist’ has echoes of Sleep and bands from the Wino lineage, conjuring up darker but still quite laidback atmospheres. The singer’s John Garcia-esque delivery is especially effective here.
The steadily building song lengths had me eagerly awaiting the epic title track, and it certainly gets off to a good start with some chugging, ominous riffing interleaved with more opened-out passages. The dual guitar attack, not really used texturally as much as it could be elsewhere, makes for some effective layering. A rumbling bass interlude ushers in a dynamic second section with the first sung verse emerging at around 6 minutes. At the halfway mark, there’s another switch into a more rapid section with whispered vocals echoing in the distance as the guitar layering slowly builds. There’s a memorable, disconcerting ending section, with riffs slowly decaying into pure texture as agonized vocals intone. However, I’m not convinced that the musical ideas and melodies were distinctive enough to make such a long song stand out. It’s quite likely that Wheelfall is going to create a truly classic epic song some day; in the meantime I think they work best in the 8-10 minute range, which is by no means shabby.
Words by Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Allow me JP to add a few more words to your review, just to precise that this final title track lasts 22 minutes (!); if personally I had a single - but slight - reproach to point out towards this album, that would be indeed the excessive length of this song.
Finally, talking about originality, it’s certain that WHEELFALL didn’t invent anything special in a genre that has revealed 95% of its components with just about 5 albums in the 90’s… but in consistency this album is fairly above the average, plus the correlation between the lyrical thems and the general mood is very interesting.
“Interzone” will be officially released through SUNRUIN rds on November 14th, in digipack with a 12-pages illustration booklet. Pre-orders are coming ths September 10th ! Each pre-order will also allow you to download the entire album IMMEDIATELY !!!
Watch out for it here : http://sunruinrecords.com/