WINTERSUN – TIME I
Label: Nuclear Blast
Release Date: October 29, 2012
I’m just back from what seemed like a rejuvenating journey that apparated me to a time where the winter ruled our earth. Long story short, this is the best way I could explain my voyage of listening to the Finnish metallers’ much awaited new album, Time I.
This album is Wintersun‘s second full-length album, originally scheduled for release in November, 2006 but then delayed six whole years because of its “complexity” and it took vocalist and guitarist Jari Maenpaa eight whole years to finally slam this masterpiece on the table. Needless to say that Maenpaa doesn’t hesitate one bit, to experiment in this album and oh boy, does he succeed!
With Kai Hahto on drums, Teemu Mantysaari on guitars and Jukka Koskinen on bass, the album contains five tracks with the second track having four subdivisions. It starts off on a high note, excelling in setting your hopes up sky-high for the rest of the record. “When Time Fades Away” begins with a soothing, and endearing symphonic intro and delivers a great atmospheric feel to the listener. It makes you feel like the band is playing amidst a series of waterfalls and you’re among them. Just when that symphonic intro seems to nurture your ears, a drum roll kicks in with a theatric feel to it. The song then gets a tad bit heavier just to descend back to its tranquil feel. Yet again, it’s like you’re lost in the Finnish woods, like in a movie. Just, phenomenal.
The second track, “Sons of Winters and Stars” is basically divided into 4 parts, “Rain Of Stars”, “Surrounded By Darkness”, “Journey Inside A Dream” and “Sons Of Winter And Stars”. The song starts off with yet another symphonic intro that is knocked off with some sudden in-your-face mix of symphony, Melodeath, and haunting theatrics. Like Jari said, each song has about 200 tracks in itself! Now 200 might just be a bit too much but its close enough! The song faces another transition into a rising riff, that riff when you know that something big is coming, and just then some pure Wintersun material is blasted in your face. Its like you’re running into a brutal blizzard and the riffage feels like the strong, frozen wind blowing against you. Jari impresses you with some very commendable harsh vocals. About half way through the song, it descends into an acoustic passage with some magnificent clean vocals by Jari, with a symphonic fill here and there. As expected, it rises back to the heavier side of the song and the immensely connective atmosphere created by the band makes you want to sing along to, “We are the sons of winter and stars! We’ve come from far beyond time!”. This song is quite different from the predecessor as it makes you feel like you’re in a Finnish war in the freezing winter! Soon enough, some incredible lead by Maenpaa and Mäntysaari hits your ears, something which most of us would be waiting for, moreover, but it remains just a flash in the pan. Nevertheless, the song ends on a high note with a totally brutal assault of an amalgamation of extreme metal, symphony and melodic death, something the band is known for.
The third track, “Land Of Snow And Sorrow” begins with a slow rising riff that is greeted with some symphony and then the mighty drums kick in. Maenpaa‘s new found harsh, clean vocals are blended well with some operatic vocals in the background. This song too, has the tempo changing suddenly and the song drifts away swiftly into a partially acoustic passage, midway through the song.
The fourth song, “Darkness And Frost” is more like a bridge to the album. Like a warm, heavenly massage you get after a long day’s work. It is a small snippet with some amazingly intricate acoustic guitar work. The drums kick in, but moderately enough to balance out things equally. It’s a perfect song for a victory celebration, like after a war. You might just think that this one deserves to treat you in the end, rather than in the middle.
The fifth and the last track of this 40-minute escapade from reality is “Time I”. The song begins with a melodic riff, delicately carved to fit into the socket of some beautiful symphony. It gets heavier with the benchmark Maenpaa‘s scream which later on free falls into some bloody impressive cleans. The song then progresses to catapult itself to the heavy side with fast drum rolls, double kicks, and swift piano parts. It will surely make you stand up and scream along to, “Time fades away!”. Halfway through the song, a much awaited guitar solo sets in and its short but long enough to amaze you. The guitar solo turns to its alter-ego, to pleasure you with a breezy and fast piano solo. The song drops into silence for a few seconds in the end, just to treat you with some peaceful, serene, Finnish folk tunes.
As you must have observed, this album was quite literally a roller-coaster ride that has covered all the aspects required in a masterpiece. From the slow, pleasant parts to the fast, frost-bitten brutality, the album has covered it all! It is so multi-genred that you simply cannot narrow this record down to one genre. Another important factor about the album is Hahto‘s drumming, which has surely raised the bar with his aggressive, brutal patterns. He executes each and every complex drum line with ease. On the other side, Mäntysaari lead and rhythm guitar lines sound chaotic. The only setback would be lack of emphasis on bass, because the rest of the members seem to have unanimously put in effort, Maenpaa obviously being the stand out performer. Apart from the well above exceptional instrumentals, it was pretty amusing to see Maenpaa come out and sing cleans, be it harsh or operatic! What a talented musician!
If you’re one of those people who always wanted to visit Finland, don’t worry, because Time I is here to take you on a magical trip to yonder land! This obviously doesn’t mean that the rest of them shouldn’t listen to it though, because you’ll be missing out on one hell of a ride! This album must be heard by the world, not just us metalheads. That is the magnitude of this album.
Hauskaa matkaa hevarit!