Released By: Napalm Records
Release Date: June 10th, 2022
Genre: Power/Folk Metal
Francesco Cavalieri – Vocals
Claudio Falconcini – Guitars
Cristiano Bertocchi – Bass
Federico Meranda – Keyboards
Federico Gatti – Drums
1. Of War and Sorrow
2. Army of Stone
3. Tales of War
4. Fellows of the Hammer
5. Together We Rise
6. Gates of Ekrund
7. One Last Day
8. The Battle of the Five Armies
9. I Am the Mountain
10. Tomorrow Has Come
It’s always satisfying to see a once-promising band fully figure out their musical direction, as well as find a way to stand out among the pack. Some bands can pull it off quickly, while others sometimes take a few albums or more to do it. For Italian power/folk metal band Wind Rose, they started to show signs of it on their fourth full-length release Wintersaga, and now with their fifth release Warfront, it’s more clear than ever before they’ve fully established themselves as one of the best bands in their genre.
Admittedly, Wintersaga was their first album that didn’t feel like a big step forward, instead of feeling like a continuation of their previous album Stonehymn, where their previous albums each had a different feel, but at this stage in their career, it’s clear they’ve fully figured out their sound and are ready to go full speed ahead in that direction. Warfront is easily their most cohesive album to date, and while it doesn’t quite impress me as much as Wardens of the West Wind or Stonehymn on a personal level, it’s probably their most well-crafted release to date and is consistently amazing from track to track.
It feels like the massive success of “Diggy Diggy Hole” has had a huge effect on the band, because much of Warfront is in very much the same vein as that track. Despite being a cover song, the band managed to fully transform it into the kind of symphonic/folk/power metal hybrid they excel at, and much of this new album feels very similar to that, with most tracks having a blend of folk melodies, big symphonic arrangements, and an overall power metal feel, to go along with some heavy riffs and pounding drums.
Anyone familiar with the previous two Wind Rose albums should have a good idea of what to expect, though even more than ever it feels like the band has managed to incorporate the three genres fluidly together on nearly every track, which often results in a rich soundscape where there’s a lot of stuff going on musically, somehow it all comes together wonderfully, and everything meshes perfectly together. While there isn’t much in the way of flashy solos or the like, the instrumental work is excellent throughout, with the folk instruments and symphonic arrangements being the stars of the show, while the guitar work is suitably heavy and intense throughout, and the drumming is often furious, keeping up nicely with everything else. Sound production is also excellent as always, and Francesco Cavalieri’s deep, powerful vocals are as smooth and entertaining as ever.
Warfront is a tough album to review on a song-by-song basis, because while the songwriting is consistently excellent throughout, many of the tracks fall into similar territory, so I’ll simply give an overview of the album, as well as briefly mention some personal highlights. Following a brief intro track, the album kicks off with two fast-paced tracks “Army of Stone” and “Tales of War”. Both are heavy, full-speed power/folk metal tracks with some epic symphonic arrangements, and both do an excellent job of immediately engaging the listener and hooking them in. While both tracks are excellent, the latter in particular stands out, marching along at a comfortable pace during the verses, before picking up momentum for an extremely epic, cinematic feeling pre-chorus section, and then when the chorus itself kicks in, it somehow feels even more epic and intense than anything preceding it, being a glorious war anthem, that stands out as easily my favorite power metal chorus I’ve heard all year.
I mentioned it already, but most tracks on Warfront feel like slight variations on the formula the band used for their “Diggy Diggy Hole” cover, and considering that track now has over 30 million views on Youtube, you certainly can’t blame the band for wanting to keep going in that direction. Tracks like “Fellows of the Hammer”, “Together We Rise”, “Gates of Ekrund” and “One Last Day” all belong in the same territory, largely being mid-paced anthems, with occasional bursts of speed and heaviness, but for the most part they rely on the cinematic symphonic arrangements, epic folk melodies, and big singalong choruses. All of these tracks are fantastic in their own right, and having them together helps make for a very cohesive album, even if I do sometimes wish for a bit more variety. I’d say out of the bunch “Fellows of the Hammer” is probably the most memorable, though all of them are fantastic.
Following that stretch, “The Battle of the Five Armies” and “I Am the Mountain” are also fairly similar, though I find them to be slightly heavier and more intense than the preceding four tracks, with the former in particular having some epic speedy sections that help separate it from the pack, while I Am the Mountain is perhaps the most complex track on the album, going through many different phases, with it chorus standing out as another big highlight.
Closing out the album is the acoustic folk ballad “Tomorrow Has Come”, a very beautiful track, with some excellent vocal melodies, and it allows Cavalieri to show a warmer side to his voice, which matches the mood of the track perfectly. I find ending an album with a ballad to be a hit-or-miss ordeal, as sometimes it fits well while other times it can kill the momentum right at the end, but this album is a case where because there are so many similar-sounding tracks throughout, ending the album with a more relaxing track is a perfect fit, and the track itself is excellent in its own right, so it ends up being an excellent ending to the album
After my first time listening to Warfront, I was a bit disappointed by the lack of variety in the songwriting, but over time the album has grown on me and become one of my favorites by Wind Rose. It’s clear the band knows exactly what type of music they excel at, and at this point, they seem happy to double down on that sound. Fans of their previous two albums, in particular, should know exactly what to expect from this album, and they should be very pleased, while newcomers would also be well advised to start with this album, as it feels like the best representation of what kind of sound the band is going for, while also being their most cohesive album to date.
Written by: Travis Green
My Global Mind – Staff Writer
Travis Green is a Canadian based writer for My Global Mind, with a particular passion for power metal, as well as an interest metal in all its forms.