Wintersun - Wintersun
Nuclear Blast
Blackened, Epic, Folk Influenced, Power Death Metal?
8 songs ()
Release year: 2004
Wintersun, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Jason
Album of the month

A few months ago I was blessed by being introduced to one of the best albums I had ever heard. No sooner than 2 weeks later, news arrived that Ensiferum’s front man, Jari Mäenpäa, had parted ways with the band in order to pursue his own side project titled Wintersun. How disappointing, I thought; and began to ask myself the kinds of answerless questions that people in despair usually holler on their knees while pounding their fists to the sky. “Why! why must musical masters recede into darkness or suffer major lineup changes while bands like Metallica or Hirax stay alive and continue to defecate in our ears!!” I thought to myself. Right when I thought the sound of blackened Viking metal to caliber of Ensiferum would be no more, Jari Mäenpäa saves the day by unleashing his newest piece of mastery upon the world: Wintersun.

Wintersun’s music is a mean punch of so many Metal styles out there. Categorizing this band was perhaps the hardest thing to do for this review as there’s little that their music doesn’t have. Hair-raising drumming and blast beats, finger-blistering solos with a small neo-classical touch, riffs so solid that they give At the Gates a run for their money, twists that jump out at every corner, and soaring emotional opuses. Having done the programming himself and recorded every instrument on the album minus the drums, Jari’s multi-talented musicianship should be worshipped. Armed with one of the most powerful blackened rasps I’ve ever heard, its amazing that Jari can shred both the guitar and the bass so diversely and effortlessly. Kai Hahto’s drumming shouldn’t be ignored either. Hahto makes his presence felt through killer rolls and blastbeats while making drumming look like child’s play by flowing seamlessly through the endless beat change-ups. Though one will immediately notice the strong resemblances between Winersun and Ensiferum for obvious reasons, it won’t be hard to notice how Wintersun is mainly melancholic and focused on pummeling intensity, while Ensiferum’s songs are slower, more melodic, and have more of a heavy folkish flavor.

Pushing play on your CD player will first bring you to Beyond the Dark Sun. The tune is absolutely relentless as it simply bursts into an inferno of pure fast-paced Metal that will have you thrashing like there’s no tomorrow. Clocking in at a mere 2:38, this is by far the shortest tune on the album and leaves you begging for more. The video for Beyond the Dark Sun can be seen just by visiting the Nuclear Blast site.

Track 2 titled Winter Madness is even more relentless as it explodes with a blastbeat that will have you thrash until you melt. Excuse the cursing, but this tune is fucking stellar. In all the metal songs I’ve ever heard, I’ve never ever heard such a diverse last 2 minutes. Exactly 2:47 into the song the tune suddenly twists from intense thrashing into a short, heavily synthed and progressive interlude, then twists again into a Powermetal guitar solo with the rhythmic double pedals in the background. The solo itself then takes a twist into a Neo-classical one and as soon as that’s over, an off-beat rock-solid riff takes control which only 15 seconds later seamlessly flow back into the initial pulverizing blastbeat. Hard to imagine? Well believe it.

Since this album is based on Jari's life, feelings, emotions, hallucinations and dreams, no album with a melancholic feeling would be complete without an epic and slow-paced tune or two. Sleeping Stars and Sadness and Hate are the two slow pacers that really give the album a gloomy ambience. The lengthy Sadness and Hate’s plodding tempo and Viking sound also features some clean sung vocals and clean guitars that serve as change from all the destruction.

Another absolute killer track that deserves recognition is Star Child. The tune begins fast and melodic but shortly erupts into frenzy of intense palmed riffs that would turn any concert audience into a hoard of rabid beasts spazzing in the mosh pit. The song slows down around half way through and listeners are serenaded with can be best described as a melodic chant which once again flows into speed and destruction.

This album is undisputably one of the best albums of 2004. The sound is impeccably clean and tight, Jari Mäenpäa’s musical skills are truly awe inspiring, and you’ll be banging your head until it falls off. So get off your knee’s, stop hollering like a baby at the clouds, unclench those pounding fists and get this album with whatever means possible!

Killing Songs :
ALL!!! But Beyond the Dark Sun and Winter Madness are just stellar
Jason quoted 96 / 100
Chris quoted 97 / 100
Jay quoted 93 / 100
Alex quoted 81 / 100
Other albums by Wintersun that we have reviewed:
Wintersun - The Forest Seasons reviewed by Andy and quoted 74 / 100
Wintersun - Time I reviewed by Chris and quoted 97 / 100
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