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Preserved in Time (vinyl)

Review by Gary Hill

This recent vinyl album from German doom metallers Wheel would have probably made my "best of 2021" list had I heard it last year when it was first released. I'm reminded at different points of bands ranging from Scorpions to Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and even Greta Van Fleet. There isn't a weak song here. I'd go so far as to say that there isn't even part of a song that doesn't seem just about perfect. This album is just so strong.

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Track by Track Review
At Night They Came Upon Us

This launches in with a riff driven movement that makes me think of Uli Jon Roth era Scorpions. It turns toward something more in line with what you might get if you merged Black Sabbath with Led Zeppelin and Scorpions. This is a powerhouse number that really has a classic metal sound to it. There is  a dropped back section later that almost brings some psychedelia to the table. It fires back up from there to a more powered up version of the doomy metal we've gotten used to by this point. A marching, driving movement emerges further down the road bringing new power and peaks as it does.

When the Shadow Takes You Over
A more contemplative piece, this has a good balance between mellower and more powered up zones. I can make out hints of things like early Scorpions, but I am also reminded a little of more modern acts like Greta Van Fleet. There are definitely some psychedelic rocking elements here along with some seriously epic vibes. I can even hear some Jefferson Airplane elements on the closing section here.
After All
Coming in with driving, riff-laden hard rocking metal that definitely calls to mind early Sabbath, this becomes a powerhouse piece. It doesn't have any rapid changes, instead just growing ever more intense as it marches forward.
She Left in Silence

Here we get another screaming hot doomy jam. It calls to mind early Sabbath for certain. This get very doomy, heavy and intense as it marches forward. This is another that changes mostly be intensification.

Aeon of Darkness

This is a metal powerhouse that is well situated in old-school doomy zones. It has some shifts and turns and is another that at times makes me think of early Scorpions. The more dropped back closing movement calls to mind early Judas Priest a little.

Hero of the Weak
That Roth era Scorpions thing is definitely in place on the opening to this. The cut shifts toward a more driving metal jam after that introduction. This gets more modern and even a little extreme at times. Yet, it's still rooted in old-school doom. It's a real powerhouse.
A cool metal groove brings this into being. It drops down to mellower, doomy, psychedelically edged stuff for the entrance of the vocals, but powers back up after the verse. We get into a pattern of mellower verse and powered up jam after as this continues. This continues to evolve, though, and there are some seriously powerhouse sections as it drives forward. This is very much an epic piece, moving in a number of different directions.

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