Wintersun – Time I
text: Basak Gunel
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 to become their drummer.
Wintersun has released two albums so far. The first album “Wintersun” was released in 2004 via Nuclear Blast Records. Eight years after the release of the first album, Wintersun releases the concept album ‘Time I‘. 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.
Opening with “When Time Fades Away“ Wintersun mixes an Eastern atmosphere with powerful metal. The listener will enjoy the way the song is build up, from a slow and peaceful begin, unfolding it faster and stronger each second. This song is the door to another dimension, the beginning of a journey.
The song leads to probably the most epic song in the album “Sons Of Winter And Stars”. The song is divided in four parts, what makes it harder to give a description. I strongly recommend to listen to it more often before judging about it. It shows that Wintersun changed their technique drastically. In their previous album “Wintersun”, the guitar solos were more in the foreground whereas this album is all about layers of melodies and orchestra.
Recording this second album wasn’t easy, showing a more complex song structure and it will gain them more fans. My favorite part of the song is the third part which is called “Journey Inside A Dream” when the song slows down and singer Jari Maenpaa switches from growls to clean vocals. It has also the best lyrics on this album I believe.
Then the fourth part is epic and powerful “Sons Of Winter and Stars”, a strong contrast after the sadness from the previous part. Hope and power are the end of the song, what makes it hopeful. 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 less complex. Nevertheless, it 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” was 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 like during the piano solo.
‘Time I’ is probably the best metal album of 2012, mostly because of frontman Jari Maenpaa. The melodies, the guitars and the lyrics are really successful. Considering that this album took eights years to be finished, I can say that it was worth the wait. 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.
Wintersun delivers an dynamic album, switching from melancholic to power parts. It creates high expectations for ‘Time II’ that is going to be released next year. The musicians managed to create a new dimension, and push the listener’s imagination to the limits. Be prepared to lose yourself in the words of sadness and hope and take a journey inside the melodies and the guitars!