Band : Wintersun

Album : Time I

Genre : Epic Metal

Release Date : 19.10.2012

Record Label : Nuclear Blast

Wintersun is a metal band from Helsinki, Finland. The band was formed as a side project by Jari Mäenpää, who was the vocalist/guitarist of the Finnish folk metal band, Ensiferum back then. Wintersun’s style can best be described as “extreme majestic technical epic melodic metal” since the songs feature elements from every genre of the metal described above.

In 2003, Jari culled together the songs that he had been working on since 1995.  Although he planned to perform and record all the songs by himself, he still needed a drummer back then so he asked Kai Hahto, who was the bandmember of the band Rotten Sound back then, to become a session drummer. Kai later joined the band as the temporary bandmember. Mäenpää and Hahto recorded songs like “Winter Madness” , “Death and The Healing” and “Beyond The Dark Sun” together and sent the demos to the record label Nuclear Blast. Meanwhile, in 2004, Mäenpää parted ways with Ensiferum because of the tour dates of Ensiferum that conflicted with the studio time that Jari booked to record the Wintersun album.

The current line-up of the band consists of Jari Mäenpää, Kai Hahto , Jukka Koskinen and Teemu Mäntysaari.

Wintersun has released two albums so far. The first album Wintersun was released in 2004 via Nuclear Blast Records. 8 years after the release of the first album, Wintersun has released the first part of the Time album, Time I on 19.10.2012 via Nuclear Blast Records.The band decided to split Time into two parts so that they can tour more and that the fans can enjoy two albums rather than one album.

Album Review

Time I starts with the song „When Time Fades Away“. I am sure the listener can feel the eastern atmosphere in the song easily and as a matter of fact, it is quite surprising to hear that atmosphere in this short but powerful intro song. I especially loved how the song starts really slowly and peacefully and it gets faster and stronger each second. This song is also like a door to another dimension (at least that’s how I feel whenever I listen to the song) ; it warms up the listener to a great journey that is Time I.

The song leads to the second (and probably the most epic) song in the album , “Sons of Winter and Stars”. I think it is important to mention that this song is divided into four parts. I personally don’t know what to write about this song; it’s just so epic and amazing that one has to listen to understand and feel it. Furthermore, listening to “Sons of Winter and Stars” once will not be enough. I think everyone needs to listen to this song a few times to truly understand the beauty of it. Apart from its beauty, “Sons of Winter and Stars” shows us that Wintersun changed their technique with this album; in their previous album “Wintersun”, the guitar solos were more in the foreground whereas this album is all about layers of melodies and orchestra. Personally, this made me appreciate Wintersun even more; I think recording an album like “Time I” should not be easy and I am sure that the band even gained more fans with this album. Surely, guitar riffs are always there when we are talking about Wintersun but they get lost in the melodies which is truly amazing!

I mentioned before that the song is divided into four parts. I think this will make the fans assimilate this song even more. I have listened to this song many times and I have to say that each time I got different feelings and vibes from it. My favorite part of the song is the third part which is called “Journey Inside A Dream”. This part is when the song slows down and the frontman/mastermind Jari Mäenpää switches from growls to clean vocals. This part has the best lyrics in the album. What I like even more is how Jari sings this part ; I can almost feel that he sings with his heart and soul. Although the third part of this song is my favorite, I cannot help but mention how epic and powerful the fourth part “Sons of Winter and Stars” is. I especially love the combination of the sadness of the third part and the power and hope in the fourth part; they make a great combination. It’s also great that legendary musicians such as Sami Hinkka (Ensiferum) and Mathias Nygard (Turisas) are a part of the choir for the chorus of the song and the fourth part; it adds another flavor to the whole song.

“Sons of Winter and Stars” can be considered as the fastest track of the album and the fast rhythm of this song is balanced with the only slow song of the album, “Land of Snow and Sorrow”. Surely, this song is not so complex like “Sons of Winter and Stars”. Nevertheless, I fell in love with the lyrics of this song. This song also shows the melancholic side of the album. I personally felt like I was walking in the woods in a Finnish forest while listening to this song.

The magical journey ends with “Darkness and Frost” which is the intro of the song “Time”. Just like “When Time Fades Away” , “Darkness and Frost” is an amazing intro to another great song. The duality of the album catches my attention once again ; the first intro “When Time Fades Away” is really slow and peaceful whereas “Darkness and Frost” is all about movement and excitement. Once again, the listener will surely be amazed at the arrangement and melodies of this song. The same melody of the intro continues with the last song “Time” . The combination of the sadness in the lyrics and the fast rhytm of the song amazes me once again. Although this song might not be my favorite from this album, it is technically beautiful and really dynamic. At one moment, the listener will feel the melancholy and in the other moment, the dynamic vibe of the song will surprise the listener. I also loved the ending of this song ; a piano solo starts after the song and then the song finishes with that eastern vibe again.

Generally speaking, I don’t know how to write my feelings about this masterpiece. Time I is probably the best metal album of 2012. With this album, it becomes clearer that the mastermind/frontman Jari Mäenpää is a genius. The melodies, the guitars and the lyrics are really successful. Considering that this album took 8 years to be finished, I can say that it was worth the wait. We should also keep in mind that Jari learned the mixing process by himself which must have been quite a challenge. When these things are taken into consideration, this album is beyond my expectations. It is not an ordinary album but a dynamic one; at one moment it’s melancholic and really sad and then Wintersun surprises us by fastly switching from that mood to another mood, which made me fall in love with the album even more. The lyrics are also beautiful; at most times I felt like I was in Finland, lying in the snow while listening to the songs. Time I is also proof that the second part of the album, TIME II, which is going to be released next year, will probably be as beautiful and breathtaking as this album.

What more is there to say? Time I will take the listener to another dimension and it will push the limits of the listener’s imagination. When listening to this album, be prepared to lose yourself in the words of sadness and hope and take a journey inside the melodies and the guitars. That’s what this album will do to you. Thank you,  Wintersun, for creating this masterpiece!

Rating : 10/10

“Time I” Tracklisting :

1. When Time Fades Away

2. Sons of Winter and Stars

     i. Rain of Stars

     ii. Surrounded by Darkness

     iii. Journey Inside A Dream

     iv. Sons of Winter and Stars

3. Land of Snow and Sorrow

4. Darkness and Frost

5. Time

Wintersun is :

Jari Mäenpää – vocals, guitar, keyboards

Teemu Mäntysaari – guitar

Jukka Koskinen – bass

Kai Hahto – drums