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Wintersun - "Time I" (CD)

Wintersun - "Time I" CD cover image

"Time I" track listing:

1. When Time Fades Away (4:08)
2. Sons Of Winter And Stars (13:31)
i. Rain Of Stars
ii. Surrounded By Darkness
iii. Journey Inside A Dream
iv. Sons Of Winter And Stars
3. Land Of Snow And Sorrow (8:22)
4. Darkness And Frost (2:24)
5. Time (11:45)

Reviewed by on October 21, 2012

"With hype in check, what Wintersun created is both sweeping and majestic, filled with soaring multilayered emotions all evoking metallic pride."

TIME: Eight long years. Seems like an eternity since Finnish symphonic metal band Wintersun released the debut self-titled LP and stormed upon the scene in 2004. That debut was a shining example of near perfection mixing power, symphonic, and black metal style in a then-unique blend of metal that grasped the attention of a fan base that salivated for all this....

TIME: The ironic name chosen by the band for its sophomore LP. In May of 2006, the band entered Sonic Pump Studios to record the then second LP, tentatively entitled “Time.” The complexity of the songs was such that each was composed of some 200-300 tracks. Yet “Time” was delayed by “time,” having been pushed back to August of 2007, when in October of 2006, the band released a statement about recording delays. Then “Time” was extended further when in April 2007, vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Jari Mäenpää issued a statement about hardware failures pushing the album to August 2007. As “time” moved further that year, more delays in “time” ensued causing stress and frustration. This wasn’t the end, because.....

TIME: ... would not be on the band’s side. In June of 2008, drummer Kai Hahto announced the “time” delay would be indefinite, citing issues with computer hard drives lacking sufficient RAM to allow Mäenpää to compose orchestrations in real time. The band’s label purchased him a new laptop. In 2009, technical difficulties persisted...and this time Mäenpää would stress to the point of writer’s block. All shows were cancelled. Then, in spring of 2012, the band announced not only one album, but two, both entitled “Time.” It was finally....

TIME: With nothing but having passed since we last heard Wintersun, would the album live up to the unattainable expectations built up by the band’s rabid fan base. Early reviews of the album had placed an even more extraordinary level of hype, but the fans were still faced with another period of “time” to wait for release. The album seemed destined to never come out leaving your writer to resort to humor that the band would release drop dates purposely with no year. But now it was definitely....

TIME: With hype in check, what Wintersun created is both sweeping and majestic, filled with soaring multilayered emotions all evoking metallic pride. The only drawback from the album is its lack of “time," clocking in at a mere 40 minutes. Granted 2013 will see “Time II,” but the end of this chapter did leave me wondering, “After all this ‘time’...I want more.” The album opens with an instrumental intro (“When Time Fades Away”) and a similar instance prior to the album’s concluding title track (“Time”), the instrumental “Darkness and Frost.” Though both mood setting and amazing, it’s another 6:31 of "time" taken from full tracks. So what about the....

TIME: ...of the three tracks with full band participation? For those, Mozart himself would be intrigued. The orchestration and beauty is everything I expected. Jari utilizes much more of a clean vocal style here, which will leave some of the more extreme fan base a little disappointed. However, it is not nearly all lost, the balance being one of my favorite features. My first reaction to “Land of Snow and Sorrow” was “when did Wintersun decide to become Turisas?” This was before I realized that the “Sons of Winter and Stars” choir consisted of a “who’s who” of Finnish metal greats, including Olli, Mathias, and Jukka of Turisas, Heri of Týr; Sami and Markus of Ensiferum; and, Mikko of Kiuas. There is little doubt that “Time I” draws its symphonic, power, and Viking elements from all three of Finland’s finest bands and one of its up in coming ones. So what about whether it was worth all of this....

TIME: The answer is yes. Though the lack of “time” is annoying after such a long wait, knowing that there is another impending release on the way puts my final judgment on hold until I take the two in tandem. The material presented on “Time I” achieves some of the highest musicianship and production values I have heard. The songs are slow and sweeping, atmospheric and airy, but lack more of the extreme side found on the band’s debut LP, which is more of an informational adjudication and not a complaint. However, part of the band’s uniqueness has been lost though “time,” and Wintersun finds itself trying to catch up with so many other acts just from the band’s own homeland. Despite the loss of “time,” the effort is still stunning.

Highs: Symphonic and sweeping melodies evoking metal glory.

Lows: Lacks more of the extreme side from the debut. A little lacking in "time."

Bottom line: Though lacking in "time," Wintersun is still the king of grandiose.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)