Album Review: Shadows Over Lothadruin by Wind Rose

The debut album, Shadows Over Lothadruin, by the Italian Symphonic Power Metal band Wind Rose is an interesting listen.  On one hand I found myself quite captivated by the rich melodies, huge symphonies and orchestrations, and huge guitars and vocals.  On the other I kept slipping into the ‘been there, done that’ state of mind.  Now, I don’t think having your musical influences shine on a record is necessarily a bad thing and it has led to many great albums.  But, when I’m listening to a record and find myself constantly going, ‘oh, that sounds just like Symphony X, Dream Theater, Blind Guardian,  etc.’ it pulls me out of the experience some when it happens enough times.  But I really like those bands, so what’s the problem?  You see how the angel and devil are pulling on both sides here.  But all in all, when I reached the end of Shadows Over Lothadruin, I found myself satisfied with the release.

The record kicks off with one of the many spoken word interludes which serve to deliver the narrative of the medieval concept and story of the record.  It’s not bad and the orchestration melds in nicely and builds a great atmosphere.  The first real send off come way of “The Endless Prophecy” which begins with a heavy Train of Thought era Dream Theater-ish riffing.  It’s not bad and has good energy, but like I stated before, the stark wearing of influences on their sleeve tend to detract from the music.  Luckily, some cool symphonies and orchestrations work their way in and it turns out to be a pretty good track.  The next song proper, “Siderion”, was the track that first grabbed me and really commanded my attention of the music.  While there are some influences of Rhapsody shining through, they band weaves high fantasy, medieval folk melodies wonderfully into the song and the outcome is something unique.

On “Son of a Thousand Nights” is where Wind Rose’s influence obsession really starts to show.  Now, in my opinion, one of the best bands out there writing great power ballads is Symphony X, they just have a real knack for it.  So why not take inspiration from the best.  While the song itself is well performed and structured, I can’t help but feel like I’ve already heard this done before.  I could just go pop in one of my many SX albums and get the original done better.  Unfortunately, my engagement in the tune ran out quickly as I soldiered through the rest of the song.  “The Fourth Vanguard” hangs out in the SX land like its predecessor does, but differently, opting to show homage to the heavier side of the band.  While the ballad fell short in its execution and felt more like a rip off, this song does it’s tribute much better.  While you’ll hear blazing fast riffing and lengthy keyboard vs. guitar solo Wind Rose pulls them off with exceptional grace and passion which ultimately leads to them making the sound all their own on this tune.

“Majesty” is another interesting song. While I was thinking of “When All Is Lost” by Symphony X meets Dream Theater the whole time, Wind Rose adds enough of themselves to the tune to make it really stand out and remain memorable after I finished listening to the disk.  I especially liked the proggy suite at about the 6:30 mark (which sent thoughts of “Home” through my brain).  Here they were able to call from their influences and make something unique sounding.  “Oath to Betray” follows this formula and is also successful as well as the succeeding “Led by Light”.

“Moontear Sanctuary” brought thoughts of Blind Guardian meets Dream Theater meets Symphony X.  However this blend works well and I thoroughly enjoyed this medieval tinged power ballad with prog tendencies.  The aptly titled “Close to the End” is a decent closer but lacks a certain punch needed to really seal the deal for me often starting with something cool like a folky section and ending it way to short to go repeat the same thing again with another kind of style.  If they maybe chopped a couple of sections and used the time saved to explore other regions the song could have been much stronger for it.  But in the end, it’s not a bad track.

Since this is a debut record I find it forgivable that Wind Rose stuck so close to their influences instead of pushing to explore their sound.  I’d like to hear what these guys do as they expand their sound.  If they can ween themselves away from paying homage to their musical heroes (and I’m just assuming that Symphony X and Dream Theater are heroes of theirs) and focus on creating their unique sound they have plenty of skill and potential to pull off some great records. Fans of the bands I referred to throughout the review or power prog in general may find something to enjoy in Shadows Over Lothadruin and I say give it a shot, you could do a whole lot worse.

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About atleastimhousebroken

Just takin' it easy for all you sinners.

Posted on August 7, 2012, in Album Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I have given this album a few spins. It’s an easy listen and I also hear many influences thoughout. I like their spoken word/sound bit thing in between every song. It gives the album a bit of depth and storytelling. They are definitely on to something and maybe with future releases they will break away from the influences; they definitely have the talent for that.

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