Wind Rose is an Italian Prog Metal band that started in 2007 as a Dream Theater, Symphony X, and Blind Guardian cover band. Along with these influences, the band also sites Turisas, Angra, Avantasia, Ensiferum, Adagio, Howard Shore, Fairyland, and Opeth as main influences.
Shadows Over Lothadruin is the first full length album (the band released a Demo EP in 2010) and is a concept album set in the fantasy land of Lothadruin. The album plays almost like a musical or rock opera, with narrative scenes in between many of the tracks, to aid the listener in understanding the story. The plot revolves around a young man named Meador, the son of a king named Hagan, who lives in the secret court of Gyalon. Their citadel is threatened by the shadow enemy, who is working to spread his shadow empire throughout the land. The king's brother, Garosh, had given the enemy information on a way into the hidden citadel of Gyalon, and the hero Meador saves himself and a few others, going on to raise an army to defeat the enemy and avenge his homeland.
Musically speaking, the album is a somewhat enigmatic combination of Symphonic, Power, and Progressive Metal, in a way that makes it hard to figure out which of the three this band would fit best in. Vocal harmonies, almost choral sounding, are prominent in the style. There is a cheese factor present that is somewhat typical of the three genres I mentioned above, but to me it seemed that this was presented in a way that made it endearing rather than off-putting – although I would critique (a small critique that seems minor to me) that the narrative cut scenes could've used better acting as I felt a little unconvinced in that area. Though the band did not list them as an influence, the combination of the music and story, and the way they were presented, reminded me of some of the Rhapsody (later to be renamed Rhapsody of Fire) concept albums. But the Progressive influences of Symphony X seem to be heavily present as well, especially in songs like "Majesty." This band has a very good sound, with a rich layer of the guitars and keyboards combined with the heavily harmonized vocals. And it seems there is great crossover appeal present with the Symphonic, Power, and Progressive elements that are scattered throughout the album, as well as some Celtic elements in some places. This is a wonderful debut that leaves me excited to see what this group will do next. And I cannot close out this review without at least mentioning the cover art – what a fantastically rich album cover that gives fuel to the imagination, complimenting the story told throughout the album quite well!
Originally written for www.seaoftranquility.org