Tuesday, 28 July 2015

WHEELFALL - Glasrew Point (Review)


Release date: Sept 19th 2015. Label: SunRuin Records. Formats: CD/DD

Glasrew Point: Tracklisting

1.I Descend Into the Deep 01:46
2.Dead Eyes 07:53
3.Strangers 03:39
4.Vanishing Point 05:08
5.Now Wakes the Sea 03:47
6.The Drift 13:37
7.Pilgrimage 04:30
8.Shelter 02:16
9.Absence Of Doubt 07:25
10.Shape Shifter 09:10
11.A Night of Dark Trees 03:44
12.The Skeptic and His Shadows 06:41
13.Sound of Salvation 04:17
14.Return Trip 08:34

Band Members:

Niko El Moche : Bass
Florian Rambour : Guitar
Fabien W. Furter : Guitar/Vocals
Niko Elbow : Drums
Thibaut Thieblemont : keyboards, machines, back vox, guitar

Review:

The future looked so bright for Wheelfall. They released a stunning debut album – Interzone – back in Sept 2012 which was noted for its great blend of Kyuss influenced Stoner Metal riffs set against an exciting sci-fi story of Aliens taking over the world. It was one of my top albums of 2012 as it was packed full of great riffs and vocals to stand out from the crowd. Almost 3 years later, Wheelfall return with their double album – Glasrew Point.

If you’re expecting Interzone Part 2 then think again. As this isn’t the Wheelfall that I originally fell in love with. This version of Wheelfall is a cold-hearted, brutal and ferocious beast that has a cold Industrial Metal vibe running through its veins. The Kyuss influences are long gone as Wheelfall embrace Sludge/Post-Metal titans such as Godflesh and Neurosis. Wheelfall have moved from the Stoner Metal world and turned into Sludge/Industrial Doomsters.

Opening track – I Descend Into The Deep – is a short instrumental industrial based track to set up the mood and it’s a cold bleak start to the album. The album finally springs into life with second track – Dead Eyes – which is kind of a mash-up between Wheelfall’s old Stoner Metal sounds given a twisted Industrial/Sludge Metal makeover. The vocals range from clean based vocals to the harsher death based growls. If you’re expecting Interzone style riffs then you’re going to be disappointed as the album twists and turns that it can be very frustrating at times. Dead Eyes has an impressive amount of different styles of music – Industrial, Sludge Metal and Stoner Metal – to name but a few. This track gives you a good indication of what is in store for you. If you don’t like the sound of that then it’s best you look elsewhere.

The following tracks – Strangers and Vanishing Point – creates a more doom and gloom atmosphere with fast-paced frantic guitars with industrial based vocals. There is still a small element of Stoner Metal riffs trying to escape from the background but it’s buried under all this industrial/sludge based noise. I applaud Wheelfall in creating some different. They could’ve easily released Interzone Part 2 but they haven’t. Though they could lose a few fans in the process as it maybe too harsh for some people’s tastes. Wheelfall even venture into Ambient Post Rock territory on the 5th track – Now Wakes The Sea. It’s another instrumental track with different noises and effects that brings back memories of Nine Inch Nails.

The 6th track – The Drift – is my favourite track off the album as it’s an almost 14 minute epic. This is where Wheelfall combine the old sounds from Interzone though splicing it with there new style of Industrial based Sludge/Post-Metal carnage. This song is more reminiscent of Neurosis and Godflesh but there’s a still twinge of Stoner Metal riffs though it can be very hard to detect. Fabien’s vocals have a real nightmarish quality to them as you can feel his pain with each passing second. The instrumental work though brutal once more is pure poetry at times. It’s precise and straight to the point. The ambient sounds can be uncomfortable at times but I can see why the band included them on this song.

The last song on the 1st part of the album is – Pilgrimage – which sees Wheelfall return to their Stoner Metal roots whilst still including a dark industrial vibe. This is the first song that you feel that could be apart of Interzone. It’s a brief glimmer of hope for long-time fans before the 2nd half of the album starts. Wheelfall carry on with their Industrial/Sludge/Post-Metal re-invention with 7 more tales of disturbing and nightmarish riffs.

Tracks such as Absence of Doubt, Shape Shifter and the final epic – Return Trip are the main highlights from the 2nd part of the album as Wheefall create some thrilling and disturbing riffs that make you feel part of the environment. The ambient noises play a more integral part as the mood becomes slightly creepy.

I think it’s good that Wheelfall have released an album such as this. Glasrew Point is a disturbing, frustrating, gloomy and depressing ride into the darkness. It’s an album that has surprised me on so many levels. Yeah, I do miss the band that created Interzone but this album is still an excellent addition to Wheelfall’s catalogue. I don’t know how Wheelfall will sound in the future. Wheelfall could return to their earlier Fuzz/Stoner Metal sound but whatever they do it’s going to be an exciting ride. If you have the time and patience for Glasrew Point you’ll richly be rewarded with an album packed full of intense Sludge/Post-Metal nightmarish sounds that will haunt you for a very long time to come.

Fabien from the band has told me that there’s a 100 page book to explain the themes, stories and messages of the album. Unfortunately the book is written in French. It sill hasn’t stopped me buying the album on CD/Book Package. Maybe its’ time for myself to learn a second language as I would love to know what the book actually says.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Fabien from Wheelfall for the advanced promo. Glasrew Point will be available to buy on CD/DD via Sunruin Records on September 19th 2015.

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