In for a penny, in for a pound, right? And sometimes that dividing line between success or failure is just how far you’re prepared to take things. Power Metal, with its origins heavily rooted in the extravagances of Yngwie and embracing and taking the more bombastic elements of symphonic music and film scores, is often guilty of not going far enough, playing the safe game mixing Europe with Helloween and churning out decent, if standard, fast-rock fare. On their second album, Wardens of the West Wind (Scarlet), Wind Rose follow in the boot-prints of countrymen Rhapsody by ramping things to the max, and to some effect.
See, where Rhapsody made a name for themselves was by being brave enough to make their music and songs epic; as grandiose, as pompous, as couldn’t-give-a-fuck-what’s-cool as possible, and to think outside re-writing Blind Guardian licks to wanting to create something monumental, something cinematic, something befitting of the grandest of stages. Wind Rose have produced a stirring, rousing album in the vein of Symphony of Enchanted Lands (Limb) that sets them apart from the majority of the others who sit in the Power Metal bubble by taking that chance to do something different. The movie that Wind Rose are tracking is more nautical than Rhapsody’s swords-and-dragons fantasy, as if a hero quest head-on collision of Pirates of the Caribbean and Waterworld was sound-tracked by a collaboration of Symphony X and Luca Turilli.
Attack is another area where Power Metal bands stand or fall, and Wind Rose bring the energy of a thousand marauding pirates fuelled by rum and the promise of treasures great hidden under an X. Francesco Cavalieri’s voice leads the quintet and is another competitive advantage, capable of drama, authority and melody, and making sense of the grandiloquence going on around him, pulling the power and the might cascading around him into strong, viable songs.
In a field that consists of a handful of giants and many who will struggle to achieve a status above mediocrity Wardens… positions Wind Rose as one to watch. If their live show can re-capture the exuberance on record, we will have a new name to light up the European scene.