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3.87 | 29 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 2004

Filed under Power Metal


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: 54:11


- Jari Mäenpää / Vocals, Guitars, Bass and Synths
- Kai "The Grinder" Hahto / Drums

About this release

Nuclear Blast
September 13th
Drums recorded at Tico Tico Studios in January 2004 by Ahti Kortelainen
Everything else recorded at Sundi Coop Studios in April by Tuomo Valtonen.
Mixed at Sonic Pump Studios in May by Nino Laurenne
Mastered at Finnvox Studios in May by Mika Jussila
Produced by Jari Mäenpää
All music and lyrics written by Jari Mäenpää

Thanks to bartosso, adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Conor Fynes
'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.
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 is very impressive that everything was done just by 2 guys.

Now, their second album Time, has been been in the process of being made, and to be honest, I don't think it will be released at all, and if it is released, it'd just be another Chinese Democracy (which I thought was a pretty decent album, no doubt)

1. Beyond The Dark Sun - This is the song that got me into this band, especially the video. I learning how to play that arrpeggio section, I was so proud of myself. Just amazing. 10/10

2. Winter Madness - Outstanding instrumental work. Great kick ass song. The instrumental songs make this song what it is. 9/10

3. Sleeping Stars - A slower and more melancholic mood. Quite eerie but surprisingly beautiful. 8/10

4. Battle Against Time - What fierce drumming. Great frantic riffing and an epic chorus. 9/10

5. Death & The Healing - This is actually the keyboardist of my band's (her name is Cathy, remember that) favourite song. I remember listening to this song with her on a bus to Belfast one day. The instrumental sections remind me of early Satyricon. Great chorus and beautiful lyrics. Love the japanese influences. This song does have some amazing guitar work. 10/10

6. Starchild - The vocals remind me of Devin Townsend. What an epic song. Best song on the abum. The instrumetal work is flawless as usual. Amazing chorus. 10/10

7. Beautiful Death - Almost sounds identical to Children Of Bodom. You can tell that he's playing an Ibanez and has put in onto the middle pick up (I get the same sound on my Ibanez). Amazing ending. 9/10

8. Sadness & Hate - Very Enisferum (I wonder why). Great build up, very battle metal. 8/10

CONCLUSION: Just a great album. Can't wait for Time (but I will have to wait, a very long time, haha)
Wintersun is a fairly interesting album from a metal standpoint. While it combines the speed and melodicism of power metal with the harshness and intensity of black and death metal, it also manages to twist in a few folk-influenced melodies and a couple progressive flashes. However, listeners might find their minds wandering a bit. No doubt that there are plenty of good elements in the album: The songs are clearly structured beyond standard songwriting and there are a couple of time signature changes that are used to spice things up in plenty of power metal, along with sharp and speedy guitar lines. Virtuosity aside though, this release is pretty standard.

There are tons of good points to the album though. For one thing, the energy is pretty constant through the album. Even in the more ballad-esque tracks that are pretty standard in power metal releases the drums keep the track flowing and the melodies keep moving. One of the better examples being "Death And the Healing", which really is a haunting ballad with a simply excellent guitar solo that builds and builds and never goes overboard (well, maybe it does a bit). Jari Mäenpää, the guitarist and central focus of the album keeps his guitar blisteringly fast, another good example in the wonderfully energetic "Winter Madness" and his vocals are either a woeful black shriek or a bellowing and haunting clean tone reminding the listener of the sorrow and melancholy feeling of winter. All in all, the elements combine to create an enjoyable work.

As an extreme power metal release, Wintersun stands as an good choice, and many fans of extreme and melodic metal will be sure to come across it. However, many songs sound the same, yet branching out is not the point of the album. It is the biting yet melodic metal to portray the bitter atmosphere of a dark winter in the blistering cold, which Wintersun excels at.

Members reviews

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 that have ever been created in the metal universe is comparable to the story of Guns 'n' Roses' "Chinese Democracy". That's why I wanted to take a closer look on this band and I must admit that the hype is exagerated.

"Wintersun" deliver dark and very epic folk metal and their album goes from the shortest to the longest track. The musical and lyrical directions in general remind a lot of the Finnish metal legends "Ensiferum" and other folk metal bands like "Tyr" while the epic constructions are inspired by older bands with epic sounds such as the inventors of Viking Metal that are "Bathory" but they also take some bits and pieces from rather modern epic melodic death or folk metal bands such as "Children Of Bodom" or "Equilibrium". ´

While this mixture is not truly original or innovating, the band proves that they are great and ambitious musicians and create diversified mixtures of all those influences. The main prioblem in here is that they exagerate a little bit and put sometimes too many overwhelming elements in their sound which is also a problem I have with bands such as "Blind Guardian" or "Rhapsody Of Fire". Instead of remaining and focussing on a great melody they put too many ideas in one single song and that's sometimes a little bit hard to digest and asks several tries and a lot of attention. Technically, this band is brilliant and honours their multiple influences but the songwriting could be starighter and more coherent. Sometimes, I'm losing them in the longer songs and they don't get down to earth and to the point even if every song has some good ideas from long and epic narrative passages to violent melodic death metal parts.

This diversity only works completely well in the shortest piece of the record which is "Beyond The Dark Sun" and the band already puts ideas in this short and sweet song of two and a half minutes that other bands would put in three songs of about five minutes: power metal guitar riffs and keyboard interludes that remind of "Stratovarius", epic narrative passages that remind of "Bathory", catchy death metal vocals that remind of "Children Of Bodom", slight folk tale melodies that use abnds such as "Equilibrium" and a general atmosphere that is similar to the first two albums of "Ensiferum". The track is though shorte nough top remain catchy and addictable which isn't the case for the longer and longer tracks that put three times as much ideas in almost ten minutes of music.

There is one single exception on this album which is the last song called "Sadness And Hate" that takes some time to focus on an epic and majestic atmosphere, simple but addicting melodies and a fascinating story with interesting lyrics. This best song is a great closure for the record and I hope that the band will create more epic songs in that style on their fortchcoming record.

In the end we have a very ambitious, epic and diversified record here that aims very high but that is too overwhelming, creatiev and megalomaniac at some points. While every song is interesting and has great passages, the tracks as a whole are sometimes hectical, confusing and simply frustrating. The shortest and the longest track represnet the two extremes and how the band should and could work in the future to create catchier tunes. Sometimes, less is more and structure and patience is better than exagerated intellectuality and pressure. For the next record, the abnd took a lot of time and I hope they trained their focus to elaborate their songs slower and further at the same time. Nevertheless, anybody that likes the bands I have all mentioned above will appreciate the record at least as much as a critical person like me and probably even more so that I can only suggest to give this record a try. This is surely on a way better level than other folk metal bands such as "Alestorm", "Swashbuckle" or "Eluveitie". If you happen to like epic folk metal but you find this stuff too hard I can suggest you to try out the latest albums of "Tyr", "Turisas" and maybe "Heljareyga".

Ratings only

  • Psydye
  • MorniumGoatahl
  • Necrotica
  • starlessabstract
  • serenitypaintedeath
  • powermetal2000
  • DippoMagoo
  • Primeval Scum
  • 666sharon666
  • adg211288
  • fzoulman
  • Zargus
  • IMPF2112
  • Anster
  • Le username
  • sauromat
  • bartosso
  • luanpedi
  • Wilytank
  • Metallica999
  • shriiimp
  • Sleeper
  • NorseGangsta
  • The T 666
  • Zarahuztra

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