ALBUM: Wintersun -“Time I”
LABEL: Nuclear Blast
GENRE: Symphonic Melodic Death Metal
RATING: 9.0 / 10
I love the first Wintersun album and purchased “Time I” as soon as it became available. It hasn’t arrived yet, but I’ve been listening to a digital copy a few times now and I really want to write down what I think of it. You see, it’s finally here. The “Chinese Democracy” of (Finnish) metal (the Swedish comparative is Satariel‘s “White Ink”).
I wasn’t too well-read upon facing this album. I have seen the track list a few times, but never reflected on the fact that two out of five tunes are actually instrumental. So, in reality, you get three songs on this disc. Still, it measures a good 40 minutes in length. Personally, I hate intros and outros on albums, but the first track on “Time I” is so good an instrumental that it really feels like a real song. One problem strong-armed! I suppose everyone doesn’t have the same references as I do, but to me “When Time Fades Away” sounds like an Asian influenced movie soundtrack. More specifically it sounds like the soundtrack to the PlayStation game “Shadow of the Colossus” and American anime series “The Last Airbender”. After the three minute break it turns more bombastic and some Nordic folk melodies are put up front. Nordic or even Irish and a little like “Pirates of the Caribbean”. If this is your thing you really should check out the band Wuthering Heights, also in reference to the choruses on “Sons of Winter and Stars”, the song that is the real gem of this album.
The two tracks I have liked the most on the debut is “Beyond the Dark Sun” and “Battle Against Time”. I have always been a whore for speedy riffing and blasting drums and these two tracks could have sustained me on a deserted island for a decade! “Sons of Winter and Stars” takes its recipe from these songs and adds epicality and bombasticness (yes, I like creating new words) and what we get is a +13 minutes of wondrous symphonic metal. There isn’t much blasting on the album, but Kai Hahto sure shows his abilities in this song and even though it’s long it’s perfect for a sing-along. And with Wintersun, that’s not cheesy. “Rise!”
Next up is “Land of Snow and Sorrow” which is a ballad. An 8:22 minute ballad which is perfect for a cosy evening in front of the fireplace when you snuggle up with your glass of 21 year old scotch. There isn’t much going on in this song, but it’s well written and really smooth. I like it a lot.
The next instrumental song, “Darkness and Frost”, comes next and I guess it’s supposed to act as an intermission before and intro to the epic closer, the title track. Well, it does.
“Time” was just too much at first though. There is so much going on at times. You have modern electronics and classic orchestral arrangements put together with keyboards and guitars and the drums are really off-center sometimes so the bombasticality that Mr. Mäenpää has worked so hard on (hehe, “hard on”) drowned. It’s complex, but give it some time and it will start to grow (hehe, “hard on”). The album is rounded up by it fading out for three minutes with an Asian instrumental part again and I’m left with a feeling of wanting more. “Time II” doesn’t have a release date yet, so I have to play this album from the top instead. Which I will.
40 minutes pass by so fast.
Review by: MJ