Wind Rose – “Wintersaga” (Napalm Records)
Battle Helm Rating
‘…we don`t write songs, we smith them against the anvil…’ – indeed, true to Tolkien’s dwarf warrior inspiration, this Italian pagan power metal band hit as hard as a hammer but with beautiful light of the Arkenstone itself! Formed a decade ago, Wind Rose have already made their name across Europe thanks to 3 prior albums and tours with Ensiferum and Wintersun and now comes the heroic breakthrough in “Wintersaga”. With 9 tracks dripping in blood red epic glory, unbelievably catchy folk melodies, pagan choirs and most of all, huge amounts of passion that have created some of the most heart stirring – not to mention singalong – songs you’ll ever hear this year, Wind Rose bring the magic – and then some! From the title track ‘Wintersaga’ with its wicked fiddle immediately grabbing your soul as the macho vocals grab your other areas, ethereal pipes offer a momentary ambience before the saga unfolds amid multiple vocal styles both gruff and soulful as double bass drums drive yet more energy into the unfolding fiery passion – wow. Speeding up into a full knees up boogie is ‘Drunken Dwarfs’ with its electric folk melody roping you into the joviality and merry dance complemented by loads of raucous chanting and even more irresistible keyboard melodies that come into their own on ‘Diggy Diggy Hole’, although this time it’s a more bombastic affair with heavy harmonies and even more stirring riffs all leading up to the absolutely massive singalong chorus of yes…’Diggy Diggy Hole’! Already impressing with the more expected stuff, Wind Rose show their measure even more on the lengthier tracks like ‘We Were Warriors’, mixing plenty of epic glory with pagan splendour in the form of big, big choirs both male and female, not to mention a moving lead guitar riff that never ceases to entice you into their mystical world – superb. Ensiferum, Alestorm, (early) Manowar, they’ve done it before but now comes Wind Rose to take the best of what they’ve done and hone it into a hoof beat of their own!