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Wintersun - Wintersun CD (album) cover

WINTERSUN

Wintersun

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.76 | 103 ratings

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Xanadu97
4 stars 4.5 stars.

I'd certainly not thought of WINTERSUN as a Progressive metal band before noticing the band's inclusion here, but after a fair bit of thought I began to see it. This music follows on nicely from Jari Maenpaa's previous outfit, the well regarded folk/viking metal band ENSIFERUM. This album follows a more "melodic death metal" approach but keeps the music in a heavily epic direction and retains much of the Scandinavian folk influences left over from Jari's previous band. These influences take more of a back seat though, and "come and go" within the songs based on when Jari presumably feels they fit.

It's not a hugely technical instrumental workout, as prog metal is often associated with being but manages to be pleasantly complex with many well developed recurring themes defining each song. The main format of each song involves setting down semi catchy (I say this because they can take several listens to "reveal" themselves, but once they do...) melodic themes to define each song and that are then elaborated into the flowing and rich forms the songs take. Although maybe a cliché to use, it really does create a cold feel of winter through its use of melody and "icy" vocals which are of the raspy growl/scream hybrid often used by viking/folk bands. To achieve such a genuine and diverse feel, WINTERSUN has gone that little bit further to subtly weave a complicated and exploratory tapestry full of overwhelming atmopshere that just pushes it over the border into prog metal territory. Dynamics and shifts are also more well developed and studied than in many other similar bands.

It doesn't initially appear to be too far removed from the majority of existing viking/folk and melodic death metal scenes, but persistent listening will prove rewarding as the effort put in to make this one a little different becomes apparent. The start of the album is deceptive as the few shorter numbers do give way to its main focus on slower burning tunes with lots of atmospheric build ups that will certainly be more appealing to a progmetalhead. It's not full on prog by any means, but still may be very much of interest.

Xanadu97 | 4/5 |

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