Wind Rose – Wintersaga

Band: Wind Rose
Album: Wintersaga
Release Date: 27th September 2019
Record Label: Napalm Records

After their first viral “Dwarven Metal” video a few years ago featuring single To Erebor, I had been following the Wind Rose journey. They headlined the Thursday of Warhorns Festival 2018 at Eggborough Power Station, and it was a great party. However, I have only ever been a fan of individual tracks, and never really been a fan of either Wardens of the West Wind or Stonehymn as a whole.

Then Wind Rose released their cover of Yogcast’s Diggy Diggy Hole, and then a second single, Drunken Dwarves. Both these tracks had me intrigued and I just had to give the lastest release, Wintersaga, a proper listen.

We are led into a down a dwarven mine, with a mystical and triumphant feel to the instrumentals. A mine Of Iron and Gold awaits. There are sounds of mining all around, with dwarven chants as they work. There are keys and strings, and a choir as the music builds up to lead straight into the title track, Wintersaga. More of the metal instruments come into play now, with group vocals and even a bit of harsh vocals in there which is personally something I haven’t heard from Wind Rose before. There are flute interludes, and it’s a great energetic track to get a jig on to.

The second single to be released before the album Drunken Dwarves is on of my favourite tracks at the moment. It’s a happy, fast drinking song and pretty much perfect for a good old dance pit. It’s a song I can easily listen to on repeat. And if you wanted a rest for a few minutes, Diggy Diggy Hole will not give you that. This power/folk STD will have you singing “I am a dwarf and I’m digging a hole” for days, or weeks… I’ve even created a few memes from it, “I am a Dawn… ” works so well! It’s a really catching track with even more dancing.

With a more traditional folk feel, and a drop in the pace for those who are now out of breath from all that dancing and jigging, Mine Mine Mine! is there for you. There’s more strings and solos in this one, but even with the slower pace it’s still catchy. I can picture myself with a line of friends swaying to this one. The Art of War has an almost ethereal introduction, and then a fiddle comes in to take up the track. There’s a increase in the tempo again when the full band kicks in, and again there’s a more folky feel to it. There’s even a tavern style interlude, perfect for topping up that pint of ale!

There And Back Again is a tale of two halves, there are some orchestral sections and ballad sections perfect for those lighters (or torches) to be raised in the air, and then there are some sections were there are almost some blast beats in there. Not something you often hear in folk metal but it works here.

The last two tracks are where I feel the album doesn’t quite hit the mark for me. The King Under The Mountain and We Were Warriors are still good tracks, but personally they don’t have that same power and feel to them as the rest of the album. The Kind Under The Mountain has a slower beginning, with a dwarven chant and a fist in the air feel. Again the harsh vocals come in a little bit, and there is a faster pace as the track goes on. The final track, We Were Warriors, in principle is a great final track. There are choral vocals with a build up of the instrumental, and a string melody. When the main body of the track kicks in, there is great opportunities for headbanging and jigging. The track ends with a long string section and a melody which goes on for just a bit too long for my liking. It spoils the ending a little bit for me.

Despite the last two tracks not being quite my thing, Wintersaga is by far my favourite Wind Rose album to date, and it will be one that I will return to over and over again. Wind Rose have capitalised on the aspects of their previous successful tracks and created an album based on those themes. With two tracks I don’t think I will ever get tired of (Drunken Dwarves and Diggy Diggy Hole), and the majority of the album being absolutely spot on, I look forward to seeing Wind Rose at the sold out Gloryhammer show in Manchester along with Beast in Black, and I hope I get many more opportunities to see them live in the future. I’ll definitely be keeping a closer eye on their adventures in the future!

Wind Rose – Drunken Dwarves

Verdict: 8.5/10

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