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On disc: Wintersun

Wintersun - Stephanie Malin - 8 stars
Time I - Stephanie Malin - 10 stars

Time I

(Nuclear Blast - 2012)

Time I is a complete change of direction for Wintersun. The atmosphere and nature of the album is terrifying. It opens with a short instrumental track (When Time Fades Away) which is beautifully oriental in its sound and worlds apart from the music of the previous album. The metal kicks in with Sons Of Winter And Stars, which is truly a monster of a track. It is the longest on the relatively short album, though every minute is packed full of creativity and imagination. Similar problems to the last album are noticeable, however, particularly the mixing of the vocals which at times could do with some improvements. All of the instrumental mixing seems fine though; not perfect, but certainly more than listenable. The rhythm is complex and interesting, which is to be expected of Wintersun, and the acoustic sections are fantastic, if not a little at odds with the general ambience of the album; the tonality can be bizarre at times, and one short section is almost reminiscent of a child's music box from a horror film. The choir on this track is phenomenal considering that it is really only made up of a couple of people. Land Of Snow And Sorrow moves away from the oriental tonalities and returns to a more familiar western sound. The orchestration is beautiful and the rhythm is still occasionally baffling. The acoustic sections of the song are used extremely well in this particular track and everything seems well balanced; the vocals are, once again, unrestrained, and something about the guitars on this track is simply mind-blowing. Darkness And Frost is another magical instrumental track, then the fifth and final track on the album, Time, takes you to a whole other world of majesty and splendor. Perhaps the most well-produced track on the album, Time is a ballad of epic proportions, with angelic lyrics. The mystical piano solo is absolutely out of this world, though disappointingly short. Time I also contains a hidden track, which is really just a short snippet of orchestral music and what sound like studio shenanigans. Time I is one of those albums that is nice enough to listen to the first time round, but it seems to get better with each new hearing.

10 stars

Stephanie Malin



(Nuclear Blast - 2004)

Jari Mäenpää's project Wintersun started with this self-titled (or title-lacking) album. It opens with Beyond The Dark Sun, which as a song lays out the foundations for the band's sound. Winter Madness is, perhaps unsurprisingly, madness: the sound quality could be better, especially with regards to the vocals. However, the instrumental aspects of the song, and Wintersun's conflicting sound, are definitely worthy of merit, and the talents of Kai Hahto and Jari Mäenpää are brought into the limelight. The next song, Sleeping Stars, is more lilting and melodic than the previous two songs. Wintersun's superior sound appears to blossom with this track as well, showing the band's diversity. Jari's vocals are still, as always, a wonderful contrast to the instrumental compositions. Battle Against Time seems to be the epitome of a lot of Scandinavian metal, with its signature keyboard melodies, fast-paced guitar solos and aggressive vocals, also laced with excellent symphonic elements. Next is Death And The Healing, a hauntingly beautiful piece with clean vocals and unforgettable riffs; it lasts for over seven exceptional minutes, but that manages to feel too short, somehow. A lot of thought appears to have been put into the lyrics and the solos. The superb Starchild is the next song, with its ridiculously catchy chorus and lightning speed. Beautiful Death carries on in much the same vain as before, with only small portions of the song standing out in particular, though the song in general has a slightly ambient feel to it during parts. Although this relatively long song has a lot to offer, it is often overshadowed by repetitive guitar work. The final song on the album is the epic, ten-minute-ish Sadness And Hate, which alongside Death And The Healing is probably one of the best songs on the album. The rhythms are far more controlled, the guitars and keyboards are clearer, the singing is epically fantastic and those ten minutes just seem to fly by. Although it is difficult to pin down a particular section of the song which is memorable, just listening to the song gives an almost unlimited feeling of awe and wonder, and the outro only intensifies this and drags out these feelings to the very last second of the track. Wintersun is, on the whole, a fairly average metal album, though some of the more creative and exceptional tracks make up for this.

8 stars

Stephanie Malin


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