24 June 2024

Wheel – Charismatic Leaders

Releasedate:   03-05-2024
Label: Inside Out Music

Wheel ’s latest album, “Charismatic Leaders,” marks a plunge into heavier realms while retaining their signature style. Following the footsteps of their previous 2 successful albums, “Moving Backwards” and “Resident Human,” this album dives deep into societal dynamics, exploring the allure and dangers of charismatic figures.

From the get-go, “Empire” sets a blistering pace with hard-hitting riffs serving as a critique of media oligarchy, particularly aimed at the Rupert Murdoch dynasty. Clocking in at a concise four minutes, it shows Wheel’s ability to pack a punch and deliver a heavy, yet memorable song without wasting much time.

However, it’s with tracks like “Submission” that Wheel truly shines. Stretching over nearly eleven minutes, it’s a mesmerizing odyssey of intricate melodies and rhythmic prowess coming from the drums and guitars. The band’s synergy is palpable here, as they navigate through a labyrinth of musical ideas with finesse, culminating in a climactic finale.

“Saboteur” emerges as another highlight, showcasing Wheel’s mastery of prog riffage. Lasting nine minutes, it’s another of the long ones, even though it’s not as strong as “Submission”, it’s still a testament to the band’s ability to craft intricate and tight compositions.

Some people might find it difficult to endure some of the longer songs, in my opinion these ones might take a few listens to fully appreciate and despite of this, they were the highlight of the album within the first play through. Tracks like “The Freeze” serve as awe-inspiring finales, condensing the record’s attributes into a mesmerising culmination that makes you want to replay the whole song just to get to that finale again.

Initially many compared Wheel’s sound to Tool, with “Charismatic Leaders” Wheel asserts their own distinctive identity. It demonstrates the band’s evolution and their commitment to pushing the boundaries of their sound.

In essence, “Charismatic Leaders” is a compelling addition to Wheel’s discography, offering a thought-provoking exploration of contemporary themes. For fans of modern progressive metal looking for substance alongside sonic experimentation, Wheel’s latest offering is a must-listen.

Line up:

  • James Lascelles – vocals, guitar
  • Jussi Turunen – lead guitar
  • Santeri Saksala – drums


  1. Empire
  2. Porcelain
  3. Submission
  4. Saboteur
  5. Disciple
  6. Caught in the Afterglow
  7. The Freeze