Saturday, August 17, 2013

Album Review - WINTERSUN


Wintersun – Time I
Nuclear Blast, 2012
8/10


Time I is the first of a two-album project from this epic, symphonic metal band from Finland led by former Ensiferum guitarist Jari Mäenpää. While comparisons can be drawn other like-minded bands such as Epica and Therion, Wintersun brings enough of their own ideas to make this a notable effort. As a whole, Time I encompasses covers an enormous amount of musical ground. Kicking the affair off is the orchestral instrumental “When Times Fades Away”, which leads into the four-part suite “Sons Of Winter And Stars”. The first part, “Rain Of Stars”, is a brutally fast composition that blitzes along with lightning technical speed and has Jari swapping vocal lines with opera singers. “Surrounded By Darkness” slows it down a little, more to an aggressive power metal style. The third part of the suite, “Journey Inside A Dream”, is a short acoustic interlude before “Sons Of Winter And Stars” closes the 13-minute epic with soaring melodies that picks up at the end for a grand closing. “Land Of Snow And Sorrow” is a slow, drab number that would have been better left off the album. Following another short acoustic instrumental, “Darkness And Frost”, the title track “Time” closes the album and leaves you longing for the impending follow-up album. Overall, Time I is a brilliant album of intense complexity and depth that demands your attention through multiple listens. Keyboards are used liberally throughout; this, as well as the grand scope of the album, remind me a lot of the sole, mind-blowing album from Norway’s Mundanus Imperium (The Spectral Spheres Coronation from 1998). The brilliance lapses here and there, most notably on “Land Of Snow And Sorrow”, but this album should be at the top of any fan of epic, symphonic metal.

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Wintersun will perform tonight Saturday, August 17 at The Oxford Theater in Eau Claire with support from Fleshgod Apocalypse, Arsis, and Starkill.

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