On their first studio album in eight years, Preserved in Time, Germany’s Wheel delivers seven songs of brooding, emotional doom that promises to be an early 2021 favourite!
Wheel was formed in 2006 in Dortmund, Germany by guitarist Benjamin Homberger, bassist Marcus Grabowski and vocalist Arkadius Kurek under the name Ethereal Sleep. The trio knew each other from previous local bands, namely power metallers Avanitas and thrashers McDeath, but opted for a brand of doom inspired by vintage Katatonia, Opeth and Paradise Lost. However, Homberger’s heart lay with heavy, emotional and old-school doom metal like Cathedral, Trouble and Saint Vitus. When drummer Carsten “Cazy” Jercke joined the fold in 2009, a name — and sound — change was in order. Jercke suggested “Wheel” not only because it was easier to pronounce in the band’s native German, but it also resembled the slowly-grinding mill wheel as heard in the intro of Mills of God on the band’s self-titled 2010 debut.
Wheel released their second studio album, Icarus, in 2013, but then underwent a period of inactivity. The band lost their rehearsal space and real-life events like starting a family and new day jobs took precedence. However, this gave the members of Wheel more time to fine-craft the songs that would eventually comprise Preserved in Time, their first new studio album in eight years and Cruz Del Sur Music debut.
Recorded by Homberger in the band’s rehearsal room and mixed and mastered by Dennis Koehne, Preserved in Time represents a bold step forward from Icarus for Wheel, especially in the production — the album is raw but is heavier and doomier. And, in keeping with that natural feel, the members of Wheel left in minor mistakes and recorded without a click-track. The result is an epic, expansive batch of songs that highlights Kurek’s depth as a vocalist as well as the band’s sterling compositional abilities where each song ebbs and flows in plumes of reflection and misery, set to the charge of heavy, foreboding riffs and climatic melodies.
According to Homberger, the Preserved in Time album title was inspired by the idea that time is a vessel, and all that happened is preserved as long as someone remembers. This theme is reflected on the album’s gorgeous art nouveau-styled cover art featuring a woman holding an hourglass as either a symbol of reverence or burden — that is up to the listener to decide.
In what promises to be one of early 2021’s first significant doom metal releases, Preserved in Time heralds the emergence of Wheel as one of Europe’s finest practitioners of a style that is forever revered.
Preserved in Time releases on April 9th.