WIND ROSE is a power metal band from Italy that I had actually never heard of. I went back and listened to their first album, 2011’s Shadows Over Lothadruin, prior to receiving the new one. While I wasn’t blown away, I also wasn’t bored to tears, the way some power metal that doesn’t really stand out can do. So, I was curious to see how their follow-up outing, Wardens of the West Wind (out now on Scarlet Records) would fare with my jaded power metal ears.
“EREBOR! EREBOR!” This chant sucked me in completely the first time that I listened to this album. The group chants and choruses are a major highlight of the whole thing. On the other hand, there are so many of them that they start to lose their novelty. Francesco Cavalieri has an amazing voice – like a young Russell Allen with SYMPHONY X– and I would love to hear more of him, but there are just so many huge, swelling choruses that you almost have to pick your spots to focus on his voice in between. When he shines through, it’s hook city. I found myself waiting with anticipation to hear his gruff yet amazingly smooth vocals.
The music is basic power metal fare – nothing too challenging, nothing out of scope. There’s no real innovation to the music, but that’s fine. The focus of this album is the huge vocals, and the guitar, bass, and drum work is solid and consistent. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, however, and the same consistent riffing over and over really does nothing to set this album apart from the crowd. The keyboards do stand out on occasion, but it’s nothing you’ll hear and be dying to hear again and again.
Overall, it’s a solid performance. It’s a good album, and it’s a nice step up from the first disc, but there’s a bunch of room to take that next leap forward and really hit a home run. WIND ROSE reminds me of SABATON in their early days – fairly boring musically, with a good overall sound, and they’ve steadily improved from year to year and release to release, and they’re now one of my favorite bands.
I look forward to great things from WIND ROSE in the near future!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Age Of Conquest”, “The Breed Of Durin”, “Skull And Crossbones”, “Spartacus”