While approaching the review of the newest SUNWHEEL album called “The Iron Age of Strife” I’d propose the readers to take a shorter excursion unto the past of this notable Polish Black Metal formation.
This musical entity was born in 1998 under the name of SWASTYKA and originally featured current SUNWHEEL members Piaty (KATAXU, GONTYNA KRY) and Aranath (KATAXU) along with other underground fames like GORGOROTH’s live guitarist Paimon (ex-VELES, ex-THUNDERBOLT) and Slavonic Pagan Dungeon Synth master Wojnar (ex-SALTUS) and assisted through whole their history by the session drummers from the world-famous mainstream Metal bands (like BEHEMOTH, DIMMU BORGIR, HATE et c.).
The first demo called “Prophecies of Aryan Moon” released by Stellar Winter Records back in 2001 already featured the finest of Polish Black Metal of late 90’s / early 2000’s and gained a huge interest and intrigue in whole radical Black Metal underground of those days and was re-released later a few times both on CD and tape. This title was later followed by EP’s “Monuments of the Elder Faith” released by Supernal Music (the original discoverers of DRUDKH and HATE FOREST) in 2004 and two fullength albums “Industry of Death” 2010 and “I am the One” 2018. After doing a great show on Asgardsrei fest 2018 SUNWHEEL get noticed by Militant Zone label mafia (owned and operated by M8L8TH members) and this leads us to the release of the brand new album.
The album starts with the alarming intro called «The Clouds of War Gather”, followed by one of the albums highlights named “Solar Path of Power” – extremely fast, charismatic and energetic blend of warmongering Black / Death Metal echoed with aetherial cosmic keyboards and bearing a few war industrial overtones. The song is dedicated to the awakening of the Sun God. “For those who did not answer my call – fear not to kill, they are already dead to me!” – is the ultimate motto of this song and of the whole album. Other basic (and based) tracks of the album include: “Word of Secret Light” haunted and ghostly at its start, devastating like the panzer division at its epic end, “Scepter of Destiny” – the apocalyptic slaughter blockbuster (“The war is not over as far as we are concerned!”) and certainly “Taniec Run” (“The Dance of the Runes”) – the albums absolute culmination and its crown with the razorblade cold guitar thorns evoking the ancient spirits of nostalgia over both the best years of Polish NSBM scene (back in late 90’s early 2000’s) and the best era of Swedish Black Death Metal scene (MARDUK’s “Opus Nocturne”, DISSECTION “Storm of the Lights Bane”, DARK FUNERAL “Secrets of the Black Arts” et c.).
Adorned with the brilliant artwork by WildeJager (whose genuine and conceptual paintings accompany each and every of the tracks on this Digipack CD), this albums stands out among everything produced by the “scene” today. It possesses the most excellent musical quality, mad drive of a roaring warmachine and refined performer techniques of the most prominent exoteric overground Polish Black / Death Metal monsters of today like HATE, BEHEMOTH and others, while the same time being deeply rooted in esoteric concepts of Ariosophy and European Traditionalism. Ultimately provoking and controversial, this album is one of the most notable releases of 2021 so far.