Steve Wheeler: Stormseeker Review: Polarizing and Different

There is a sense of love and whimsy in the artistic tracks of Stormseeker, the debut instrumental album by award-winning composer and producer Steve Wheeler. With his work on the musical Lanza!, Steve Wheeler’s ability to create a mood and through music is undeniable. Stormseeker sees this talent in full-swing and the audio world-building is cinematic in scale with each track bringing its own personality to the project. In spite of all of this, Stormseeker is more an experiment above anything else.

The titular track Stormseeker is easily the most engaging and standout song on the album. It feels almost like an all-encompassing pop culture music adventure on its own, with an epic Game of Thrones style intro that seamlessly flows into heavy drums then into sax and even some EDM is thrown in. The surprising mix of mainstream beats with cinematic composition puts Wheeler’s talents as a producer front-and-center without mistake. It is a track you will listen to over and over again.

After the first track, however, the album as a whole seeks to set scenes and weave stories for the listener. Seas of Blood undoubtedly evokes a very “Pirates of the Caribbean” or “Treasure Island” high-seas feel while maintaining a heart-pounding pace. This is followed by the extravagantly-named track Destroyer of Worlds which evokes the feeling of confrontation, much like a final boss from a video game or the theme of a movie’s antagonist. Each track feels like it tells its own unique story which can stand alone or can be listened to in sequence to feel like an epic audio journey.

Though the individual tracks, by themselves overall lack nothing in the aspect of personality, the album itself is polarizing, with a bevy of soundscapes featured. Of all the tracks on the album, the title track of Stormseeker is the most fleshed out and interesting track of Steve Wheeler’s debut as it takes your ears on a ride that you will make you want more. Unfortunately, this never happens, as the rest of the album feels like the soundtrack to a movie I’ve never seen or a video game I’ve never played. With the titular track being it’s most standout and so radically different from the others in both feel and theme, it can be jarring to be taken away from such an interesting concept, only to be put into an album that may make you feel more like you maybe should have just watched your favorite fantasy action movie instead. But that seems to be the point, as Stormseeker serves more as a sample of what Wheeler can do overall and not an instance of one particular theme.

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