Wind Rose have come roaring back with their brand of “Dwarven Metal” in Wintersaga, the follow up to Stonehymn, and have further pushed their brand of epic metal to the masses.
While the band has been around for now over 10yrs, the Italian natives Wind Rose, have really come into their own with the release of Stonehymn in 2017 and the brilliant move of releasing a video for their cover of the Minecraft-inspired song “Diggy Diggy Hole”, which last I checked was approaching 9 million plays on YouTube…crazy large numbers for any act, let alone for some Italians signing metal songs of fantasy and looking like Vikings. To show that the success of “Diggy Diggy Hole” was no fluke, their video for “Drunken Dwarves is well over 1 million plays as of this review. The band itself has certainly worked its way up to this point, releasing eps and albums since 2010 and touring Europe with the likes of Wintersun, Epica, Ensiferum, and Eluveitie. In 2017 for Stonehymn the band had signed to Inner Wound Records, but after that jumped to the well-known metal label Napalm Records for Wintersaga.
Stonehymn was one of those albums as a reviewer that makes you ask yourself how you ever missed this band. At least that’s what is was for me. Wintersaga is everything Stonehymn was but really taken up to another level. There’s more bombast, more bravado, more chants, more choruses and more chances for a reviewer to use the word “epic” in front of every description of the album. Certainly, things can get a bit cheesy, but it’s all so much fun, one can’t help but be pulled in. “Diggy Diggy Hole” is one of the catchiest tunes going and in true Wind Rose style, they’ve added the folk and symphonic elements to the underlying metal rhythm and done so in a way that supports the chants one can’t help but join in., and eight million plus views support all this.
Songs like “Drunken Dwarves” show the band bringing more intsruments to the forefront and letting the metal really take more of a supporting role but the guitars and really fast drumming add so much to the song, with nearly all the instruments really supporting the great gang chants and vocals, something the band used expertly on Stonehymn as well.
I feel as if the band veered a bit further from the metal aspects on Wintersaga compared to Stonehymn but for me, the songs still retain that ancient rhythm feel and of course “epic” nature with the real attraction for me are the vocals. The forcefully shouted, deep and full chanted vocals are real stars here and the traditional instruments and strings coming in to support those works and adds another dimension to the songs. The beginning sections of songs like “Mine Mine Mine!” and “The Art of War” show some piano and strings coming in to the folk/traditional intros and add an almost Celtic feel .
The arrangements, mixing, and production on the albums is of the flawless variety. All of the instruments are clearly heard in the mix which itself is very clean. Vocals, which are one of the stars here, are full and deep and most are not just Francesco Cavalieri by himself, but are from what sounds like it must be an army of large men with flowing beards most likely hoisting giant tankards of ale.
“There and Back Again” is one of the more different songs on the album, as it features mostly unaccompanied vocals by Francesco Cavalieri at least for the verse sections with the gang vocals not coming in until later. Different in another way is “The King Under the Mountain” with its breakneck pace, set by some very fast guitar riffs and drums which veer near blast beat for a bit showcasing some of the instrumental prowess of the band on an album where the metal instruments are not the real stars.
Wind Rose have built on their success in songcraft and genre-creating from Stonehymn and brought it to its fullness on Wintersaga. Even though the guitars and drums really take a secondary role in the overall sound, this is undoubtedly a metal album from the fantasy nature of the songs to the forceful vocals, and feel of comradery in the songs where it seems as if an army, likely of dwarves, must have been present to create the larger than life sounds. A win for metal and non-metal fans…
Written by John Jackson
- Of Iron and Gold
- Drunken Dwarves
- Diggy Diggy Hole
- Mine Mine Mine!
- The Art of War
- There and Back Again
- The King Under the Mountain
- We Were Warriors
Francesco Cavalieri – Vocals
Claudio Falconcini – Guitars
Federico Meranda – Keyboards
Federico Gatti – Drums
Cristiano Bertocchi – Bass
Release Date: 27 Sept. 2019
Record Label: Napalm Records
“Shadows over Lothadruin” (2012)
“Wardens of the West Wind” (2015)
“Stonehymn” (2017) [review]
Video for ‘Drunken Dwarves’
Video for ‘Diggy Diggy Hole‘