Progressive metal reaches a new standard – review of Wheel’s third album “Charismatic Leaders”

Author Benedetta Baldin - 22.4.2024

Three is my favorite number for many reasons. Not only because I was born in the third month of the year or because it is considered the perfect number (although mathematically speaking that is an incorrect definition), but mainly because the third album has been my favorite for many artists and bands I listen to. I’m always eager to review and listen to third albums, it’s quite intriguing. The first one is the debut, the second is the challenge, and the third one is the confirmation.

And Wheel are, for all intents and purposes, confirmed as progressive masters. So far, we’ve been delighted with two singles from “Charismatic Leaders”, which are respectively the first and second tracks of the record (I like this approach). “Empire” and “Porcelain” are two wonderful songs, but the rest of the album is just as spectacular, if not more. There is creativity in songwriting and composition, there is a sophisticated touch in song structure and melodies, and there is clarity and excellence in the mastering, production as well as in mixing.

Three is also a number that symbolizes growth, curiosity, and understanding. So it’s not a coincidence that these aspects are present in “Charismatic Leaders”. The band has reached a new standard, and they are telling us they are here for the long run. My only desire would be that they gave more range to James Lascelles’s vocals because I am confident that he could provide so much more in terms of expressiveness and feeling to the songs.

My favorite track has to be “Disciple“, which shows the true progressive and metal essence of Wheel, highlighting each member’s skills and qualities. But let’s not be sad about what we are missing; let’s rejoice in what we have. When talented artists like Wheel produce such a high-quality product like “Charismatic Leaders”, we must not fear for the future of music. We’re in safe hands.


  1. Empire
  2. Porcelain
  3. Submission
  4. Saboteur
  5. Disciple
  6. Caught in the Afterglow
  7. The Freeze