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Wintersun Wintersun album cover
3.76 | 104 ratings | 14 reviews | 36% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Beyond the Dark Sun (2:38)
2. Winter Madness (5:08)
3. Sleeping Stars (5:41)
4. Battle Against Time (7:03)
5. Death and the Healing (7:12)
6. Starchild (7:54)
7. Beautiful Death (8:16)
8. Sadness and Hate (10:16)

Total Time: 54:08

Line-up / Musicians

- Jari Maenpaa / vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards
- Kai "The Grinder" Hahto / drums

Releases information

CD Nuclear Blast Records (2004)

Thanks to AtLossForWords for the addition
and to ProgLucky for the last updates
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WINTERSUN Wintersun ratings distribution

(104 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(36%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (13%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

WINTERSUN Wintersun reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The new band by the former frontman in the finnish metal band Ensiferium Jari Maenpaa is quite the experience. A very symphonic euro power/ black metal album. The speed and rawness in the vocal department of black metal and the symphonic and classical inspired elements from european power metal. The raw vocals ( there are clean ones too) are not too bad though, they remind me of Jeff Walker from Carcass.

The album is basically split between fast ( and I mean really FAST) songs and slower bombastic ones. Fans of Rhapsody/ Rhapsody of Fire or Dragonforce that can tolerate death/ black vocals will love this record. It´s just as grand and majestic as anything from those bands. Nothing is subtle or hinted at in these songs. You get a massive wall of sound when you put on Wintersun. Lots of things go on in every song, in that respect you can also compare Wintersun to Blind Guardian´s A Night at the Opera.

I don´t think fans of black metal will find it very enjoyable though, as it is probably way too soft and melodic. The prog metal tendencies are mostly in the structure of the songs as the overall sound is still that of power metal.

All instruments are played by Jari Maenpaa, except for the drums which are played by Kai "The Grinder" Hahto. Both do a spendid job and deserve recognition as technically brilliant musicians for their playing on this album.

All in all this is a Power metal album gone black. I enjoyed it tremendously, but I do get a little tired of the style after a while, so this is a solid 3 stars album( 3.5).

Review by CCVP
2 stars Cheese, permafrost and metal

This album is boring as hell, but it has its moments and that is why i am giving it a two star grade instead of an one star grade: i like to worth everything that is in an album. However this one don't have too many qualities to number, but an one star seemed unfair anyway. Actually, i have never thought i would have been so turned off by an extreme metal album ever.

Before i start my review i like to be clear about 1 thing: i like extreme metal and power metal (well, at least good extreme metal and power metal) and this album seems to bring the worst of the two worlds: the repetitive riffs of black / death metal on a 5 minute song that should have only 2-4 minutes top; the 'epic' overdubbed vocals (à lá Blind Guardian) are completely out of place and the raw growling vocals easily outshines the 'epic' vocals in most tracks; the restless and aggressive black metal drums also ruin the 'epic' feeling. This album feels like a bad mixture of Blind Guardian, Dragonforce and the Immortal album At the heart of Winter.

As i said before, there are good things. The clear tracks (the ones that are not 'extreme'), like Death and the Healing and Sleeping Stars are really good power metal inspired songs. Maybe if they kept the 'clear' songs and threw away the more 'aggressive' songs this album would have been much better. Also the keyboards do a great job creating an atmosphere, a feeling to the songs.

After all, this band is actually the side project of the finnish musician Jari Mäenpää and should be faced as one: an album destined to fans of Jari Mäenpää. Its even hard to believe that this kind of music made its way to the archives, when its really melodic death / black metal with an epic touch, and bands alike did not. Listen it only if like this genre of metal, with an epic touch.

Best tracks are: Death and the Healing, Sleeping Stars and Sadness and Hate. If you listen to these tracks you will see that there is potential here, but they are the exception and not the rule.

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars WINTERSUN's first and only album wears its influences with pride. But it's anyone's guess if the mixing of two different worlds into one sonic experience will please most fans of both power/symphonic metal and extreme/black metal.

On one hand, WINTERSUN sounds a little like a power-metal band, straight from the land of groups like RHAPSODY OF FIRE: fast songs with even faster guitar solos, lots of keyboards and thunderous double- bass drums. The album has a certain epic feel to it that definitely makes the link with power-metal even stronger. But for fans of the genre, a word of caution has to be said: this is not power metal. It has many elements of it, it's been influenced by it, but this is, primarily, something else.

On the other hand, the vocals will immediately tell any listener that this record has a strong connection with black metal, with high-shrieking guttural vocals that reminds us of bands like IMMORTAL. The black-metal-side of the music is definitely even more evident than the power-metal side, as not only the vocals but also the music, with tremolo-picking sections and really heavy passages, takes us directly to Scandinavia. WINTERSUN, being from that part of the world, carries the extreme-cold sound in their veins. A band I was constantly reminded of was a Swedish black-metal band that should've been more famous than it was when it was active, DISSECTION. But for fans of the genre, caution again: the music, dark yet inviting, evil yet heroic, is not your typical black-metal. Add some AMORPHIS to the mix of ingredients that I've given you and by now you may start to have a clearer idea of what WINTERSUN is and if it may appeal to your taste.

The musicianship is excellent. The album was recorded by just two individuals: Kai Hahto in drums, doing a terrific job, and mastermind Jari Maenpaa on every other instrument, shining in all of them especially in the guitars where he manages to evoke the virtuosism of master-shredders like Luca Turilli. It's a good thing that, on the musicianship-side of things, WINTERSUN owes more to the virtuosic school of European power metal than to the as-raw-as-possible-style of Norwegian black metal.

And it's that ingredient what ultimately makes WINTERSUN an album worth getting and hearing. By combining the good elements of two in theory very different genres, Jari Maenpaa has created music that should appeal to any prog-metal and metal fan. For those in the extremes, though, this will be harder to swallow, as it will be too-extreme for a power-metal band and too-heroic for a black-metal one.

4 stars. I hope we can hear more of Maenpaa's music in the future, as only one album of this good music is not enough.

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Wintersun' - Wintersun (7/10)

Arising to the attention of the metal world for his work in folk metal band Enisferum, singer and multi instrumentalist Jari Maenpaa already had a loyal fanbase before 'Wintersun' was released. With little idea what they would receive, the fans eagerly anticipated. While Wintersun is certainly more than a meager extension of the previous band, there are definately many of the things here, that gave Enisferum their fierce fanbase to begin with. Folk and power metal abounds here, with a little bit more heaviness than a typical metal fan may expect of either genre. What makes Wintersun and this debut so noteworthy is that it melds styles that surprisingly rarely cross in the metal scene.

While melodic power metal is generally thought to be something that's left to the whims of operatic dropouts and screechers in the style of Rob Halford, Maenpaa takes the speed and technical considerations of the aforementioned style, and couples it with many traits one might expect from black metal. Blackened screams and heavy-as-hell guitar riffage seems to work magically with the generally lighter lead playing and harmonies.

The album flow of 'Wintersun' seems to be very much relient on a 'shortest-to-longest' format. Over the course of the album (which almost hits the hour mark) one begins to notice that the songs get longer and longer, going from a vicious two minute introduction to a drawn out and frostbitten epic finale that tops the ten minute mark. While this might be an interesting gag, it can make for an uneven feeling of flow along the way. However, 'Wintersun' is the sort of album that is better based on the quality of the songs themselves rather than the overall product.

Besides the drums, this is Jari's show completely. He writes all of the music, and performs all of the instruments except the percussion, which is played skillfully in a black metal style by Kai Hahto. For anyone that is not a fan of speed in heavy metal, it is better to skip by this one. 'Wintersun' blows the doors off in terms of tempo, and more often than not, things are racing by at lightspeed with blastbeats, and fastly picked guitar melodies. This is an area of the music that is completely subjective however. The transitions from the heavy to lighter portions of music can be very rough at times, but the band's emphasis on heaviness in their power metal blend is very refreshing to my ears.

While it is enjoyable to listen to such a powerful and energetic album, it can feel at points like there should be more variety. Throughout, it feels like very similar riffs are being used; and Maenpaa (while being a gifted metal guitarist) is pulling out the same tricks over and over again and expecting it to be just as impressive. All things considered however, this is a very competent debut album, and with a new highly anticipated Wintersun album arriving to shelves late in 2010, the sound of great potential is heard even more in this music.

Latest members reviews

5 stars "Nothing can never take away, what I've seen with these tired eyes" The idea of capturing the cold and darkness - of a country that sees less light and more cold winters than others - is an appealing endeavour. Most Norwegian black metal bands have gone to hell and back to acquire this essence, b ... (read more)

Report this review (#1370407) | Posted by paragraph7 | Thursday, February 19, 2015 | Review Permanlink

3 stars There are only a few bands that already have a legendary status after their debut album. The stunning legacy and mystery that already surrounds the band's future output "Time" that has been delayed over and over again and seems to be a very one of the most epic, complex and complicated albums tha ... (read more)

Report this review (#508384) | Posted by kluseba | Wednesday, August 24, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This being originally a side project from Ensiferium nut job, Jari Mäenpää, it was suprisingly better than most of Enisferums stuff (sorry guys haha). This album was suprisingly incredibly epic, with some amazing vocals, pheonomanal instrumental work and drumming from the depths of hell. And it ... (read more)

Report this review (#294266) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Thursday, August 12, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Wintersun is a pretty interesting album from a metal standpoint. While it combines the speed and melodicism of power metal with the harshness and intensity of black metal, it also manages to twist in a few folk-influenced melodies and a couple progressive flashes. However, for fans of purely p ... (read more)

Report this review (#220876) | Posted by topofsm | Saturday, June 13, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A brilliant album by Jari Maenpaa and Kai Hahto. Perhaps one of my favorite albums, Wintersun offers a great deal the the extreme prog metal genre. Wintersun combines folk and power metal with progressive atmospheres. In this album Jari shows off his technical abilities, such as exceptional sk ... (read more)

Report this review (#218797) | Posted by Wintersun | Friday, May 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 vo ... (read more)

Report this review (#178384) | Posted by Draith | Tuesday, July 29, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is an amazing album. This album is a prog masterpiece, and a masterpiece of melodic death metal. The music is technical and beautiful. The lyrics are anything but shallow, and are also beautiful. As soon as you turn the album, you are instantly assaulted by the brief yet amazing Beyon ... (read more)

Report this review (#177298) | Posted by Proggg | Saturday, July 19, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 4.5 Stars This album is the brainchild of the former Ensiferum front man Jari Maenpaa, created singlehandedly, except the drums by Kai The Grinder Hahto. Many have compared the band to Children of Bodom or Ensiferum. Many fans of those types of bands would enjoy Wintersun, but few proggers woul ... (read more)

Report this review (#177134) | Posted by Skoojoo | Thursday, July 17, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#149548) | Posted by Xanadu97 | Thursday, November 8, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This IS Winter Madness Wow, I did not expect to see Wintersun in the Prog Archives, let alone that no one reviewed them. I might as well start my reviewing career on this one. This is an amazing album that is full of power, beautiful melodies, and a dark, wintery feel. It's neat that as yo ... (read more)

Report this review (#107744) | Posted by KC_Kid | Wednesday, January 17, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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