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Wintersun - Wintersun CD (album) cover

WINTERSUN

Wintersun

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.63 | 80 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Draith
3 stars 3.5; A very decent debut album!

Like others on this site, I never would have really expected to see Wintersun here, but as I think about it and analyze the music a bit, I can definitely see it as progressive music. Basically, it is a good blend of power and folk/viking metal with black metal vocals (and not much else being black metal, really). This album was forged through the efforts of two very competent and skilled metal musicians, Jari Maenpaa (former Ensiferum member; he did folk/power metal with them as well) doing literally all of the writing and playing all of the instruments, save the drums covered by Kai Hahto, aka The Grinder. And man can he grind! But yes, the folk element is quite prominent, and unlike other folk-power metal bands, the folk elements are blended quite well with the power, which all blend nicely with the black metal vocals.

This album is probably best thought for it's individual tracks, which I noticed are in order of song length from shortest to longest, and that would seem intentional, probability-wise. As well, the songs, in my opinion, get better as the album spins (except for Beautiful Death, which isn't too great), the first few not being all too pleasing to me, building up to some great songs. However, the entire album, from start to finish, is all very well written, and some songs came out much better than others in the end. There are great melody lines abound throughout (some are simply incredible - especially in the lead guitar), as well as decent guitar solos and riffs, and the keyboard adds a lot to the folk atmosphere, as well as the viking chants. The musicianship is astounding, especially considering everything but drums is being played and recorded by one person! The weakest thing in that department is probably Jari's clean vocals, which are at least decent.

I feel everything good in this album (besides Jari's quality black metal vocals) can be found in Death and the Healing, easily my favorite song on the album; powerful folk elements with the chants, keyboard and lyrics, and the melodies are absolutely amazing, and work perfectly with the guitar riff underneath. It really is a magical song, and Jari uses clean vocals throughout the song. Starchild and Sadness and Hate were both excellent songs too. Some have commented that this album is best when it is on the softer and especially the slower parts, and I'd be very inclined to agree with that. It seems like in the faster songs get overbearing in their noisiness; what I mean is the combination of really fast and heavy guitar, combined with the black metal vocals and double bass drum all going faster than anything even Dragonforce has made give the sound a very harsh timbre (especially with Winter Madness, which is still a decent song), one of the main reasons for the rating. That could easily be my own musical taste though.

While I feel this is quite a strong album by an obviously strong artist, I would mainly suggest this album to those with a taste for (speedy) power metal, harsh vocals, and anyone in the metal department who is dying for something quite interesting, fresh, and well produced. I could see a decent prog music collection without this album easily, but it is definitely a good addition nonetheless. I think this is a band with a lot of potential and may come out with some killer albums in the future, which I very much look forward to.

Draith | 3/5 |

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