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High Wheel - Back From The Void CD (album) cover

BACK FROM THE VOID

High Wheel

 

Symphonic Prog

3.20 | 24 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

hdfisch
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Six long years after "There" which was a quite solid album HIGH WHEEL releases with "Back From The Void" a really excellent work that should actually get paid more regard to as it gets IMHO. I can only think of the admittedly poor vocal capabilities of their singer to be the reason for the rather low ratings this band gets. Apart from that fact musicianship, instrumentation and compositional qualities are really flawless and noteworthy. There was an obvious gradual improvement in their releases starting from their weak debut back in 1993 and what they're presenting here should let prick every prog fan's ears actually. Six well elaborated intricate compositions, the last one being a 30 minute mini-opus sub-divided into 10 parts each of them selectable as an individual track. We get to hear plenty of vintage-styled keyboards,, a right measure of oddity, a powerful rhythm section, some pleasant folksy acoustic parts and a touch of prog metal-alike guitar riffing.

The opener "Try An Error" already jumps right out of the speakers with a powerful drum intro, dark Hammond sounds and a strong pumping bass play. I've got to admit the rather oddly sounding vocal harmonies following might need a couple of spins to get used to. Again the band's only problem: the vocals! Nevertheless a great opening track exhibiting in not more than five minutes the full bandwidth of their potential from mellow lyrical parts to ecstatic and powerful ones. Next track "The Screamer" starts in its first part more in an acoustic vein with guitar, some keyboards and the minstrel-type vocals are fitting here quite well I've to say. Part 2 continues in an up-tempo vein, more driven by electric guitar and some oddly sounding choirs. Last part of this song is quite a contrast to the second one starting with church organ followed by soaring electric guitar. "Sleepless" is a rather quiet acoustic ballad and probably the most conventional song on here. Vocals are sounding quite nice on this one. "Void" is the most rocking track showing a touch of Progmetal with vocals that sound partly distorted but well-fitted to the music and some singing with several voices later on. With "Dark" the band returns into a more folksy, medieval vein presenting an ancient traditional on acoustic guitar and flute. There's a quite odd and interesting contrast between the music sounding almost cheerful and the highly serious lyrics which are about death. After this "little highlight" comes the real one of this album, the magnum opus "Blind Archer". That's really an ingenious and haunting piece of work and worth alone the money for this album. Some oddly sounding vocal harmonies and choirs as well here but in some way perfectly fitting. "Intersphere" and "Globes" are both a bit more dominated by keys which is quite exceptional since overall this album is rather focussed on guitar.

Finally I just can say that I'd like to recommend this album to anyone who doesn't mind some odd (but not ugly) vocals in his symphonic prog. It's an excellent and certainly best work by this highly underrated band.

(Edited 8/8/2006)

hdfisch | 4/5 |

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