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Wind Rose - Wintersaga Award winner

Wind Rose
Wintersaga
by Martin Knap at 28 October 2019, 8:40 PM

Italians make great Power Metal, there is no two ways about it. The icons of the genre are still going strong – the new Lucca Turilli record will definitely land in one the top five spots in my end of the year’s list, but there is also a considerable number of up-and-coming bands that put out great albums (check out my SKELETOON review for this website that came out earlier this year, also NANOWAR OF STEEL made quite a splash with their new album). WIND ROSE have have been clawing their way out of the underground since 2009, they had a breakthrough with the song  “To Erebor” from their third album, which got streamed quite a bit on popular video-sharing platforms. Hence perhaps a record deal with Napalm Records, which is releasing their latest album. And the label seems to have put its bet on the right horse, one single from “Wintersaga” has already reached almost seven million views on Youtube before the album was even released. WIND ROSE seem to be a hardworking band (“Wintersaga” is their fourth release since their formation ten years ago) that demonstrates professionalism but also delivers hit songs.

A few words about the band’s sound: they could be simply described as a Folk influenced Power Metal band, but their songwriting is much more interesting then adding Folk melodies and acoustic instruments to a Power Metal basis. WIND ROSE take cues from bands like TURISAS and WINTERSUN – there are not just the symphonic elements, but also a bit of the expansive songwriting approach – and also from folky Melodic Death Metal a là ENSIFERUM (you’ll hear the occasional blast beat or a crunchy Melo-Death riff in some parts of the songs). Of course their over-the-top catchiness and penchant for the theatrical can be compared to their compatriots RHAPSODY – the melodramatic is in their  blood I guess – but their songs can also be pretty rowdy and silly, a page taken from ALESTORM‘s book. The album’s run-time is fifty minutes and there are eight tracks on it, one of which is an intro; except for the closer, which is nine minutes long, the songs her are all medium-length.

The intro sets the fairy tale-like atmosphere with mining sounds, shouting, a vivacious synth melody and a dramatic orchestral buildup. The first half of the album is very  thunderous and upbeat, the songs have driving rhythms and melodies (often carried by fiddles and flutes) and gung-ho chants. All the songs have some interesting parts that bring development and complexity into the song, the title song, for example, has a bridging section with blast beats and faster riffing, “Drunken Dwarves” is a super upbeat end energetic, but it has a melancholic bridging section between chorus and verse. “Diggy Diggy Hole” is of course a hit song, it’s kind of silly but pretty damn entertaining, an orchestral break brings some variety into the song. Songs on the second half of the album including “Mine, Mine, Mine! ” (track number 5) march forward in a vigorous way but can have a more solemn vibe, they often shift between a slower, subdued  verse and an anthemic, sometimes even upbeat chorus. The chorus of “There and Back Again” is soothing and uplifting, the chorus of “The King Under the Mountain” has a driving, folky melody and a vivacious, ENSIFERUM-like riff. Some of the more solemn parts have beautiful, “ethereal“ orchestral arrangements  - like “The Art of War” or the closing epic song “We Were Warriors” – but Melodic Death Metal elements (blast beats, the typical crunchy riffs) are present as well.

All in all, “Wintersaga” is an album full of catchy but also well written songs. This music is obviously is created for escapist entertainment (but what popular music isn’t?) and might be deemed silly by some, but this is true only superficially. The artistry is definitely there and that’s what makes this record not only incredibly entertaining but also an engaging listen. This is escapism at its finest and I can surely diggy diggy dig it.

Songwriting: 9
Memorability: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Of Iron and Gold
2. Wintersaga
3. Drunken Dwarves
4. Diggy Diggy Hole (Yogscast cover)
5. Mine Mine Mine!
6. The Art of War
7. There and Back Again
8. The King Under the Mountain
9. We Were Warriors
Lineup:
Claudio Falconcini - Guitars, Vocals (backing)
Federico Meranda - Keyboards
Francesco Cavalieri - Vocals
Cristiano Bertocchi - Bass
Federico Gatti – Drums
Record Label: Napalm Records
     


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