Friday, April 12, 2024

Charismatic Leaders & an Empire at the Wheel

Anglo-Finnish progressive metal act Wheel release their third studio album Charismatic Leaders on the 3rd May through InsideOutMusic. Ahead of that, is a video single release for ‘Empire’, taken from the parent album.

“This is probably the most metal song I have ever written,” said vocalist & guitarist James Lascelles. It is intense as all hell when it kicks in and it keeps finding new ways to punch you in the face all the way to the end! Santeri did an incredible job with the drum track on this one and playing it live is really going to take some work in the rehearsal room.

“Lyrically, it is about media empires and the effect they have on wider society – All of us are influenced to some degree, even if we would rather not admit it. Issues that require nuance are presented as binaries and opposing views are made into caricatures – A target for us to rage at that far too often, doesn’t even exist. This is not a new phenomenon by any means but it is one that seems to have been catalysed by the modern landscape of media, the internet and populist politics. As you might be able to tell from the mood of the song, this pisses me off immensely and it was cathartic to vent about it.”

Also featuring lead guitarist Jussi Turunen and, the aforementioned, Saksala on drums; it is said to represent their “heaviest and most conscious music to date”. Engineered and co-produced by Daniel Bergstrand and Fredrik Thordendal (Meshuggah) the recording stretched over a period that ranged from August to December last year, and mixed by Forrester Savell.

Charismatic Leaders clocks in at just under 50 minutes, and will be available as a limited CD digipak (also featuring the Rumination EP tracks as bonus), and a gatefold 180 gramme LP, both featuring artwork from Lucas Mayer (Long Distance Calling, Blackout Problems).

The album features the tracks: ‘Empire’, ‘Porcelain’, ‘Submission’, ‘Saboteur’, ‘Disciple’, ‘Caught in the Afterglow’ and ‘The Freeze’. It can be ordered by clicking here. 

Founded in 2015, Wheel has swiftly grown from Helsinki underdogs to the international act they are today. Debuting with the trio’s 2019 debut, Moving Backwards, that appealed to fans of Tool and Coheed & Cambria alike, in 2021 they followed that up with the dystopian themes of Resident Human, with Charismatic Leaders  imminent.

Wheel will be celebrating the release of their new album with their first ever shows in Australia (supporting label-mates Caligula’s Horse) as well as their first ever North American headline shows. Later in the year the band will return to Europe for further headline dates, including dates in the UK listed below.


19th November – Rebellion, Manchester, UK

20th November – Cathouse, Glasgow, UK

21st November – Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, UK

22nd November – 1865, Southampton, UK

23rd November – Underworld, London, UK

24th November – Thekla, Bristol, UK

Paul H Birch
Paul H Birch
RAMzine Senior Writer - Writer of fiction, faction and fact, has edited several newsstand magazines. He declares himself a hack for hire but refuses to compromise on the subject of music.

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