Concert Reviews

The New Death Cult / Wheel Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     April 09, 2020    
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The New Death Cult / Wheel - Rock City Beta, Nottingham (UK) - 08 February 2020

I was asked if I wanted to see Wheel, and my first reaction was 'Who?" So I did a bit of research, and it said that they were a Prog/Metal band. OK then, and off we went.

What made it a little more interesting though, was when I saw who the support band was. I had reviewed their album only a couple of months ago, thinking before I listened that it would be one of those growling and screaming bands, which was really not for me. But I was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case, and they were quite good.

The Beta stage at Rock City is what used to be called the Basement, before it was all spruced up. But it is still a small venue, with a relatively small stage, and it was not full when the band from Norway, The New Death Cult, went on, complete with skeleton masks and brightly coloured, luminous paint dashes across their foreheads, which glowed ominously in the light from the UV lights strapped to their mic stands. Even more effective were the two orange marks on vocalist/guitarist Alpha's (?) eyelids, which made him look like he had two glowing eyes. They played six songs in their half hour set, and they were good, but I was more able to make that assessment as I was somewhat familiar with their music. To be fair, at the beginning the vocals lacked a little in volume, but that was soon corrected, although we did get a little feedback creeping in here and there. Nevertheless, it was an entertaining thirty minutes, in which we got a brand new song titled 'Alive' which sounded really good, and the audience, which had swelled a bit while they were on, appeared to appreciate them also.

Set List:- Blood, True Eyes, Zeitgeist, Moon, Alive, Light Spills, Home.

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I was at a total disadvantage here, thirty minutes later, as I knew nothing about Wheel and their music. Progressive Metal was all I knew, but it became obvious fairly early on, that the Metal came before the Progressive. A little bit heavier than Threshold or Devin Townsend now, closer to Devin with Strapping Young Lad, the band is Finland based, and mostly from Finland, as guitarist/vocalist James Lascelles moved there from England to "progress" his music career. It was quite dark and mysterious as they all arrived wearing hoodies, getting straight into it, and it reminded me of the first time I saw Rush (which was the first time anyone could see them live away from home) at Sheffield in the seventies. I didn't know any of their stuff, but I was aware that there was a lot going on in their music when they were playing. Guitarist Rani Seppänen was the first to drop his hood and reveal, eventually followed by the others. There were obviously people there who knew the band quite well, "singing" along and cheering loudly after every song.

The music is described as orchestral, but there were no keyboards so that was not evident tonight, and the last song, which I later found out was titled 'Wheel', reminded me in parts of 'Jazz Oddysey' by Spinal Tap. I have to mention the young lady controlling the lights here, as she was jumping and dancing all over the place, even climbing onto her stool, where she continued to rock. James Lascelles thanked the audience at the end, saying that they came on the tour not knowing what would happen, but were overwhelmed by the support they had received.

Having picked up what I had from the night, it was good to see that strong, new music is still popping up here and there. I will be keeping my eye on both of these bands, and will have to check out Wheel's recorded work, to take in what I didn't manage on the night.

Set List:- Lacking, The Path, Tyrant, Vultures, Up The Chain, Skeletons, Please, Where The Pieces Lie, Wheel.

Andy B.

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