When Wheel debuted in early 2019 with Moving Backwards, their website contained the quote, “While we wait for that next Tool album, we thought we’d just make what we’d want to hear!” They weren’t joking: their vocals, crescendos and shifting time signatures all echoed prog-metal’s big daddies with little shame or embarrassment.
Two years on, little has changed. Resident Human is packed with the same crawling prog metal as before, neatly dividing its songs between wonky four-minute anthems and much longer, more climatic epics. Movement condenses angular riffing and snappy breakdowns into a bitesized lead single. Meanwhile, the 10-minute title track gradually escalates like the prior album’s Wheel and Lacking. Singer James Lascelles remains as Maynard James Keenan-esque as before; his roar over Hyperion’s polyrhythmic climax is reminiscent of that on Tool’s Schism.
All this makes Resident Human feel like more of a twin to its predecessor than a proper successor. It won’t win over the naysayers, but those who want more of what brought Wheel to the dance should be satiated.