Always striving to explore new horizons and work with an expansive sonic palette is a valuable motivator for versatile musicians. Composer-producer Steve Wheeler is one such resourceful performer, whose eclectic vibes are rooted in such diverse styles as rock, jazz, hip-hop, concert band, metal, techno and musical theater. As a result of his distinct approach to writing and mixing compositions, his songs have been a major part of the soundtrack for CBS Sports, as well as the hit virtual reality game, Farpoint.
The Cape Cod bred, Orlando based studio powerhouse is now proving that his passion for all genres can be taken to the next level with the release of his latest solo project. After creating his own niche in the realm of 21st century classical, symphonic and epic music, he unveiled his seven song debut full-length classical-rock-metal-EDM album, ‘Stormseeker,’ on November 18. The distribution of the record comes after the musician released his initial solo project, the stellar symphonic EP, ‘Terminal Velocity,’ this past summer.
Like his last set of tracks that were featured on the EP, the sweeping, melodic and densely percussive sound that’s highlighted on Wheeler’s new tunes perfectly emphasize his signature style. Each entry feels like it tells its own unique story, which are all artistically woven together to create an epic journey. The musician once again proves to have an uncanny ability to create an overall melody that’s epic in scope.
Wheeler’s debut solo record begins with the gripping title track, ‘Stormseeker,’ which immediately sets the tone for the remaining six songs. Driven by soaring strings, the composer crafted a intense sound on the album’s best tune. The overall engaging and epic introduction stunningly flows into heavy drums and saxophone. The entry’s surprising mix of mainstream and EDM beats with its cinematic composition would serve as an intriguing classical rock movie score. He further proves his talent with the eclectic and prolific switch in instrumentation at the song’s half-way mark, which hones in on the orchestra’s lively grandeur in its jazz, EDM, dubstep and high intensity rock elements.
The title track then delves into the album’s sophomore entry, ‘Seas of Blood.’ The song initially thrives on its pulsating pace, which evokes the feeling of confrontation on the high seas. The track eventually eases into a compellingly blend of serene, soothing and Celtic instrumentation. The unique mix clearly emphasizes the musician’s epic blockbuster film influences and experiences, and his enjoyment of composing for larger ensembles. Overall, the tune would be the ideal accompaniment for an important action-driven scene in an adventure blockbuster.
Another noteworthy entry on ‘Stormseeker’ is its penultimate song, ‘The Call of the Gallows,’ which also features a soothing, calming and lighthearted melodic flow. Its overall sentimental vibe makes it the perfect score for a more emotional movie scene, as Wheelr clearly drew from his deep internal strength to compose the captivating track.
‘The Call of the Gallows’ is followed by ‘Stormseeker’s final tune, ‘Until The Light Leaves Their Eyes,’ whose sprawling, sweeping finale easily makes it one of the highlights on the record. Even though the inspired and passionate strings only piece takes its time building its dramatic and classical musical narrative, the musician clearly proves one last time that he knows how to beautifully compose an instrumental album.
The seven songs on ‘Stormseeker’ powerfully stand alone from the other work that Wheeler has created throughout his career. His growing experiences and knowledge in such diverse genres as sportscasts and video games have allowed him to freely and creatively express his emotions and ideals, as well as push boundaries and enjoy the opportunity to stray from his usual compositional comfort zone. The studio powerhouse is also proving that his passion for all genres can be taken to the next level. The sweeping melodies on his debut EP are the perfect introduction to his own distinct niche in the realm of 21st century classical, symphonic and epic music.