Dwarven power metal force Wind Rose returns with a new album called Warfront, a collection of mighty battle anthems, set for release on the 10th of June via Napalm Records.
Wind Rose formed way back in 2009. The band released four albums prior to Warfront but really started taking off with the album Stonehymn. It featured the single To Erebor which scored millions of views on YouTube and Facebook. A trend they continued comfortably with their next release, 2019’s Wintersaga. An album that really pushed them to the forefront especially thanks to their Minecraft track, Diggy Diggy Hole which pretty much blew up online and clocked over 30 million YouTube views alone to date.
Wind Rose are labelled as dwarf metal, but are really just a nice mix of folk/power metal, often using Tolkien Dwarf lore as the basis of their lyrical content and their costumes.
The five-piece hail from Pisa, Italy and are Francesco Cavalieri on vocals with Claudio Falconcini on guitars. Federico Meranda is on the keyboards while Cristiano Bertocchi is on the bass and Federico Gatti is on drums.
Warfront sees Wind Rose deliver 10 tracks of catchiness that is sure to have your head banging, your feet moving and your fists being thrown skywards. It all gets underway with Of War and Sorrow, a suitable power metal album opener if ever there was one. Orchestral arrangements play off with gentle folkish sounds. Its the opening credits to an epic fantasy movie, at least that is the feeling it gives off. As the track builds in feeling, you wait for the transition into the next track, Army of Stone and they don’t disappoint.
Leading directly into it, Army of Stone sees the instruments jump in with power and force. Catchy drums and soaring leads take control. It picks up in pace further with the drums and keys leading the way through an energetic melody. The vocals join in, strong and deep, delivering lyrics at pace in line with the instruments. As you would expect, it leads into a catchy chorus with plenty of backing vocals to add extra depth and epicness. A little drop off into gentle folkish melody is a perfect stop to allow the return chorus to feel even more powerful. It’s a good, energetic stomper to get the album underway properly.
Tales of War follows and keeps the stomping speed and energy up but wow, the delivery, the harmony in the verses is superb. Instantly catchy, instantly stuck in my mind. It’s Wind Rose at their hook filled best. I really enjoy the speed of it, the drums sounding impressive and the vocals tracking the same speedy delivery with no room for breathing between lines. Fellows of the Hammer is another banger stuffed full of folk melody and catchiness. The vocals are impressive again, they always are and the chorus is absolutely massive. It is a long one, at over 6 minutes but flies by in seconds in a flurry of wonderful melody and stompy beats. Warfront is so easy to listen to so far feeling wonderfully polished yet still having that expected Wind Rose punch.
Speaking of punch, Together We Rise brings us in with a cracking, crunchy riff that gets joined by a bit of gentle choir backing. These guys know how to get your adrenaline flowing. It has a real battle feel to it – shouted vocal lines sound the advance which then leads into a fast and thumping verse. The drums are impressive again, combining with the bass to create a deep and rich sound. They keys and guitars add the flair and the vocals act as an instrument tying everything together to create a fantastical sound that transports you to the battle.
Gates of Ekrund starts with a deep and mournful violin before the drums, keys and guitars join in to elevate the track to something a bit more glorious. It’s a huge, grand start with a catchy prechorus that builds into a punchy chorus full of shouts and backing. I really love the use of violin on this tack and the way the occasional roared shout permeates the wall of melodic power metal. Chants of “Fight” and “Fire” will surely see crowd participation. Yet another banger on Warfront that would be phenomenal live. One Last Day keeps the quality at the highest with an absolute corker of an intro. Gentle melody leads into foot tapping brilliance with a catchy drum beat and keys melody.
As good as Warfront has been so far, this is probably my favourite so far. the flow of the verses, the way it builds up to the amazing chorus. The chorus really is something special, as good as anything they have ever written, in my opinion. We head into epic length territory next with 2 tracks, back to back that are over 7 minutes in length each. Wind Rose start this section off with The Battle of the Five Armies. Again that Tolkien reference, telling stories of their dwarven history with The Hobbit. In a way, it is almost exactly what you would expect but that isn’t necessarily a negative. It’s a really strong 7 minutes full of catchy keyboard melody, plenty of depth and heaviness from the drums and riffs.
It flows really well and the vocals are delivered with barely a break. The chorus doesn’t quite hit the heights of some of the previous songs but is still good. There is wicked little folk instrumental in the middle of the track that leads into a folk chanting verse. When the song returns for this section, it has taken on an new vigour with a very emotional feel. It’s amazing what a little melodic break can do to a song as nothing has really changed, it just feels different having come back from such a beautiful melody. The second of the long ones is I Am the Mountain.
I Am the Mountain is the real epic, that song you come to expect on a power/folk metal album. It feels absolutely huge, feels emotional and just hammers you repeatedly with glorious melody, impassioned vocals and has a huge chorus. It is a phenomenal track. We close Warfront on Tomorrow Has Come and it is a proper ending to an epic battle album, mostly melodic and acoustic in nature, it gives the feel of a battle ended, perhaps wounded warriors sitting in fields of blood and glory. It closes out a very good album in a subtle and intelligent way.
Warfront is a great album. It is so fun, yet packs a punch, so full of catchy riffs and melodies. The drums are phenomenal, the composition and structure of the songs is impressive and the production is exactly what this style of music requires. It’s a really strong album and should help to cement Wind Rose’ position as a leader in this genre of metal. If there was a negative, I guess it doesn’t really progress forwards from Wintersaga. Maybe as an overall album, it feels a bit more complete. It also certainly hasn’t regressed, feeling more like it’s more of the same. That’s not as negative a comment as it maybe sounds like when that “same” is really strong, catchy and memorable music. An album that is going to get plenty of replays from me.
Grab your copy of Warfront from Napalm Records, here.
Warfront by Wind Rose (Napalm Records)
The Final Score - 9/10