My first encounter with WHEEL was at last year's Days of Doom show in Dortmund. I'm sorry to say, but my enthusiasm remained limited. The reason for this was vocalist Arkadius Kurek, whose dramatic and super emotional style is definitely not my cup of tea. So I was slightly biased when I received the debut album from WHEEL in 2010 which, in the meantime, have been signed to NSP/Eyes Like Snow. In spite of everything, I listen to this album without prejudice, otherwise I should quit my job as a music journalist. And guess what - I like WHEEL's debut better as expected. Of course, there are still moments when the vocals are just too theatrical for my taste, but nevertheless they work well with most of the songs. And when you play epic doom metal, then this kind of vocal style is not unusual.
Different to bands like Solstice or Solitude Aeturnus, WHEEL actually prefer an earthier and minimalist sound with less metal influences. Thus, they somewhat remind me of Saint Vitus, especially in 'Entrance Into White Light', which is also the longest track here clocking in at a running time of almost twelve minutes. Of course most of the eight songs are slow, but fortunately there are moments when they increase the tempo ('Eyes Of The Hydra') so that the album remains interesting and diverse. Another good idea is the use of keyboards as in 'To my Love Departed' what could happen more frequently. It has to be recognized that this band has definitely the skills to create a dreamy and sad atmosphere but in my opinion there would be no harm in making everything more powerful. The vocals are, as so often, a question of taste. Nonetheless, this is a nice start for the German band WHEEL.