Steve Wheeler’s return this month brings a chaotic and powerful collection of compositions that feel undoubtedly fit for the cinematic world. Fusing classic strings and otherworldly bursts of electronica – something like industrial drum and bass during the early stages – the EP’s title track kicks things off in a mighty way.
Not for the faint-hearted, and likely not the sort of playlist to turn to if you’re looking to wind down at the end of the day. These are some of the most creative and hard-hitting neo-classical tracks of recent years. Stormseeker is everything the title promises and more.
Seas Of Blood follows the opener and drives with an overwhelming sense of anticipation. The march of the drums keeps the pace high, the sound of the bells rising up adds a feeling of oncoming drama, then the tribal rhythm later on leads you into a completely unexpected moment of Celtic delicacy. Rather than being perfect to accompany a movie scene, this feels like a short film in itself.
Destroyer Of Worlds is a somewhat terrifying composition that places the listener at the centre of a near-deadly surge of energy. The intensity is unimaginable for most, the pace of the strings alongside of the voices creates a mesmerizing level of contrast and leaves you feeling as if you’re falling faster and faster into the heart of a manic war.
Things calm down a little with the warmth of the aptly titled By The Fire. Talk it over, what you’ve been through – get involved in this medieval soundscape and moment of togetherness. The tribal elements return after the intro and this quickly becomes an addictively interesting piece of music, with a comforting groove and some wonderfully upbeat layers of colour.
Unearthly Mover surprises further and brings through a heavy metal aura among a brilliantly bold and compelling thread of humanity and classical depth. You can envision the various stages of this taking place before you, likely an experience unique to each listener – the imagined live show is explosive and energizing, impossible to turn away from.
The Call Of The Gallows redirects the mood, keeping arrangement as a crucial point to be considered. Spacious synths float by and echo out in the distance, a fragment of a riff guides you through this blissful calm – the title keeps your mind on the likely direction of the journey though. As the track nears its finish, the sound disconnects – moves further away, becoming distorted and perhaps quite cleverly representing the concept in question.
The final composition on the project is Until The Light Leaves Their Eyes – a ten minute epic that seems to provide its own experience independently from the rest of the album. Wheeler takes his time here, space and quiet are essential steps in the process, lightness and weight appear intermittently. Your mind wanders where it will and again this is something the individual will have as purely their own. Listen well though, for the full effect.
Steve Wheeler has poured endless passion, time and skill into this music. The detail and the overall rush the album gives you is breathtaking. This is a timeless collection and clearly the work of a creative at the top of his game.