WINTERSUN
Power Metal / Symphonic Metal / Melodic Death Metal • Finland

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Founded by ex-Ensiferum frontman Jari Mäenpää, Wintersun is a Finnish Metal band with an array of influences ranging from Power Metal, Folk Metal, Melodic Death Metal and even Progressive Metal (although the exact genre is debatable).

Jari has spoken about the genre of Wintersun's music, and says "Well it´s difficult to put into a certain genre, cause there’s lots of variation. But to describe it, I would say something like: Extreme Majestic Technical Epic Melodic Metal." He has also stated "But it's really not death metal. It's very difficult even for me to label it, but if somebody would put a gun on my forehead, I would probably say something like Extreme Melodic Majestic Metal."

The first Wintersun album, "Wintersun" was scheduled for recording early in 2004 a time frame which clashed with the Ensiferum European tour. Jari Mäenpää was forced to choose between his booked recording time for
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The Forest SeasonsThe Forest Seasons
Nuclear Blast America 2017
Audio CD$6.09
$9.75 (used)
The Forest Seasons green w/ mint green splatterThe Forest Seasons green w/ mint green splatter
Nuclear Blast America 2017
Vinyl$29.42
$31.83 (used)
WintersunWintersun
Nuclear Blast America 2012
Audio CD$8.95
$10.59 (used)
Time I (Deluxe)Time I (Deluxe)
Nuclear Blast America 2013
Audio CD$10.49
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WintersunWintersun
Extra tracks · Import
King Japan 2004
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Forest SeasonsForest Seasons
Import
SONY 2017
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Time I by Nuclear Blast Int'lTime I by Nuclear Blast Int'l
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WintersunWintersun
Limited Edition · Import
Nuclear Blast Records 2008
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$20.55 (used)
Forest SeasonsForest Seasons
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SONY 2017
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Live at Tuska Festival 2013Live at Tuska Festival 2013
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UNHOLY rapture ORIG 1998 AVANTGARDE MUSIC-agalloch,alcest,wintersun,alcest,kvist UNHOLY rapture ORIG 1998 AVANTGARDE MUSIC-agalloch,alcest,wintersun,alcest,kvist USD $19.99 Buy It Now 15 days
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SACRIVERSUM sigma draconis ORIG 2004 METAL MIND-alcest,wintersun,agalloch,kataxu SACRIVERSUM sigma draconis ORIG 2004 METAL MIND-alcest,wintersun,agalloch,kataxu USD $14.99 Buy It Now 16 days
SACRIVERSUM soteria ORIG 1998 SERENADES RECORDS-alcest,wintersun,agalloch,kataxu SACRIVERSUM soteria ORIG 1998 SERENADES RECORDS-alcest,wintersun,agalloch,kataxu USD $19.99 Buy It Now 16 days
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ORPHANED LAND the beloved's cry ORIG 1999 M.D.M.A REC-agalloch,alcest,wintersun ORPHANED LAND the beloved's cry ORIG 1999 M.D.M.A REC-agalloch,alcest,wintersun USD $19.99 Buy It Now 17 days
The Forest Seasons by Wintersun. The Forest Seasons by Wintersun. USD $44.56 Buy It Now 17 days
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WINTERSUN Discography

WINTERSUN albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.96 | 27 ratings
Wintersun
Power Metal 2004
.. Album Cover 3.86 | 22 ratings
Time I
Symphonic Metal 2012
.. Album Cover 2.77 | 3 ratings
The Forest Seasons
Melodic Death Metal 2017

WINTERSUN EPs & splits

WINTERSUN live albums

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live at Tuska Festival 2013
Symphonic Metal 2017

WINTERSUN demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Winter Madness
Power Metal 2004

WINTERSUN re-issues & compilations

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Forest Package
Melodic Death Metal 2017

WINTERSUN singles (0)

WINTERSUN movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live at Summer Breeze 2005
Power Metal 2006

WINTERSUN Reviews

WINTERSUN The Forest Seasons

Album · 2017 · Melodic Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Necrotica
The forest is teeming with darkness.

I love the four seasons and the way they can change our understanding of the world. Every time they shift, it’s as if our moods and perceptions are shifting with them. And as such, they can each bring out a beautiful variety of emotions and vivid imagery in their wake. That’s why baroque violinist and composer Antonio Vivaldi had such great success with his famous composition The Four Seasons. With every season, certain stylistic deviations were introduced to signify its characteristics; for instance, the sprightly and festive feel of the legendary “Spring” movement of the piece. Now, before I go any further, I’m not against someone in 2017 presenting us with a modern-day update of a timeless classic with a timeless theme. But when I heard that one of metal’s premier musicians and procrastinators Jari Maenpaa was behind the project with his primary project Wintersun, my eyebrow was more than raised… and not in a good way, really. I once loved Wintersun, a band whose first album was among my favorite modern metal debuts and provided a glimpse to a once-promising future for the band. But between the gradual dip in quality and the waiting time between albums, Jari seemed to be an artist who could only answer high expectations with false promises. But I’m always ready to keep my mind open and think positively, so I’m ready to dive into this new piece with open ears. Let’s go season by season, shall we?

Spring - The Season of Genre Cliches

We plunge into Spring, a bright and colorful season. But in the world of Wintersun, the skies remain as gray as ever. The cheap keyboards give a mood of cheap dollar-store melancholy, and the shameful production values seal the deal before the experience gets off the ground. I don’t even want to hear the rest, but I press on. The season of spring is apparently devoid of its usual life, and its generic cookie-cutter riffs are as recycled as they were on the last album. The percussion sounds like the drumset was wrapped in a giant paper bag to siphon it of all its power, then beaten senselessly over and over in the same two or three tempos. There are some “creepy” (I use this word hilariously lightly, hence the quotation marks) spoken word parts, I suppose in an attempt to enhance the atmosphere. But it’s remarkable how little Jari’s evolved as a singer, pretty much using his most familiar cleans and growls in the most predictable ways. The more I dig into the band’s discography, it seems ever more evident that Wintersun are only capable of conveying the season of their namesake (even then, not in very interesting ways). I only hear cold, distant, passionless blandness. If this is the sound of spring, I want to skip the season altogether.

Summer - The Season in Which Experimentation Meets Redundancy

At least there’s a bit more effort as we approach the season of Summer. There’s a decent acoustic guitar buildup in the intro, even though it bears a bit too much resemblance to “Sadness and Hate” in the notation and guitar tone. The tempo is more Opeth-like and the anthemic clean singing is neat, but there’s not enough to differentiate this season from the one preceding it. That is, except for the admittedly nice folk interlude in which folk and sitar sounds are integrated to add some atmosphere. Still, there isn’t nearly enough of a “wow” factor to any of this to excuse a 12-minute running time, and that’s a criticism seems to run through the entire recording. For the record, the lyrics are also a load of garbage. Check this out:

"In the dark ruin the grey mountains sing A sad song of winter and the howling wind Visions of the past in the haunting dreams Under the dead sky, under the withered trees"

If that cliched nonsense is Jari’s idea of high art, then my high school alternative rock band was full of Shakespearian poetry.

Autumn - The Season of Brooding, Brooding, and More Brooding… and Dark Riffs!

We kick off Autumn with some dark tremolo riffs to give an evil, black metal-oriented sound… spooky! Too bad the thin production makes the blast beats sound like trash. Beyond that, the mixing is so horrible that the drums overpower any of the riffing or other guitar licks we’re supposed to make out. I’m glad we’re finally listening to a song that comes a little closer to representing the weather and feel of its chosen season, but I’d like to actually hear the songwriting too! Granted, it’s nothing special. The keyboards are still bland and gimmicky, and the melodic death metal-inspired riffs are just as meandering and unengaging as ever. Somewhere around the middle, Jari uses a deep spoken word vocal style that makes him sound like Dani Filth… it’s somewhat interesting, but mostly seems like a means of distracting us from the boring 6/8-time riff and its directionless lead guitar work. The solo that follows is just some generic shredding too, so it’s really not very interesting. Just trust me: Autumn may try to sound sinister, but Jari’s not inspired enough to convey this properly.

Winter - The Season Wintersun Knows

We finally come to our final season, the season of Winter. And, lo and behold, this is actually the best piece in the collection. There’s some nice buildup in the icy synths, generating a mood both eerie and depressing. The actual title of the track is “Loneliness,” and the doomy tempo is a fine demonstration of such an emotion. The vocals are a bit melodramatic at times, but at least I’m hearing something other than the bland growls that have dominated the other seasons. Jari sounds more anguished and desperate here, fitting the theme of the composition and its blustery vibe like a glove. Alas, not everything is perfect here either. The tune seems to stick to the same tempo for most of its duration, making it a slog to sit through to the end. As usual, there’s not enough experimentation or new instrumental perspective on this season to justify a 13-minute closer to an already-overlong mess of an album. Also, the production is still pretty atrocious, but now I’m sounding like a broken record.

The forest is teeming with dread.

The four seasons can be open to such fruitful depictions and fantastic musical avenues, but Wintersun manages only to produce a small handful of these. Whenever I hear The Forest Seasons, I don’t hear the sound of fresh ground being broken. I don’t hear an exciting new aural adventure of both aggression and beauty. I don’t hear a band displaying a new or interesting take on a promising concept. I hear the sound of dread. I hear a project that has long passed its expiration date even after just three albums.

Most distressingly, I hear thousands of loyal Indiegogo funders being fucked by one egotistical Finn.

WINTERSUN Time I

Album · 2012 · Symphonic Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Kev Rowland
Wintersun’s debut album came out in 2004, but it took until 2012 for the follow-up from band leader Jari Mäenpää (vocals, guitars, keyboards, ex-Ensiferum) and drummer Kai Hahto. This was more of a band album that the debut with Teemu Mäntysaari also on guitars and Jukka Koskinen on bass along with various others making up the choir. One problem with reviewing music is how to convey what is being listened to so that someone reading the words can get an idea. Jari helpfully has described the music “Extreme Majestic Technical Epic Melodic Metal”, but what does that actually mean?

If you were going to take some musical reference points then start with Devin Townsend, throw in Nightwish and Opeth and then mix it all up and start to layer it. Then add some more layers, and then some more. It’s just as well that the production is as good as it is as otherwise this could easily come across as a bucket of mud, the number of tracks being used is incredible. The person mixing this must have been an octopus in a previous life, even with Pro Tools. This over the top use of instrumentation is one of the delights of the album, but also one of the downfalls. At times it is possible to get somewhat overwhelmed by all of the aural delights being thrown, almost as if the piece of chocolate cake is too much as it is so rich. That is somewhat mitigated by the length of the CD which is much more like an old vinyl album at 40 minutes long.

There are lots of musical ideas being used, as the music moves from full-on over the top bombastic symphonic to plain and simple oriental ideas then we get loads of death metal elements thrown in for good measure. I enjoy it while I am playing it, but always find that when the album finishes and the next one starts that it is like a breath of fresh idea. Overall a good album, but best sampled in small doses. www.nuclearblast.de

WINTERSUN Time I

Album · 2012 · Symphonic Metal
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Warthur
The second Wintersun album was a long time coming, and what we get on this release is very much Jari Mäenpää's show, with his distinctive keyboard style being a key feature of the album. It's not that the keyboards dominate the album's sound exactly - although they are quite prominent in the mix - so much that the approach to playing them is so different from other symphonic metal bands that the sheer novelty of it rather distracts from everything else that's going on. With plentiful influence from Japanese music acknowledged by Jari Mäenpää creeping in, it sounds like a symphonic metal band trying to do a soundtrack for a high fantasy anime series - and if, like me, that sounds like an awesome idea to you it might be worth checking this one out for at least a cursory listen. That said, to me it seems somewhat overproduced, with bombast standing in for an absence of depth, and Jari's long struggles to get the album finished and released don't seem to have yielded results commensurate to the effort put in.

WINTERSUN Time I

Album · 2012 · Symphonic Metal
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kluseba
"Time, what is time?" once asked Blind Guardian on their legendary Power Metal release "Somewhere Far Beyond".

Sometimes, good things need some time to be done but this is not the case at all for Wintersun's new output that has been released eight years after their first strike following many complicated recording sessions, lots of strange announcements and wrongful promises and more and impatiently growing expectations from critics and fans. The difference between Guns 'n Roses' "Chinese Democracy" and the new Wintersun record is that nobody really expected anything special coming from the one man project of Axl Rose but the record turned out to be quite decent without being a masterpiece while in the other case what has become a one man project of Jari Mäenpää was expected to be a masterpiece and is nothing but a big deception. After all the dramatic events over the last years, they could only fail. In the end, couldn't one have seen this coming?

"Only time will tell." realized the British Heavy Metal flagship Iron Maiden on its dark "A Matter Of Life And Death" release.

Jari Mäenpää announced in fact that his new material was so complex that it needed new and revolutionary recordings procedures. This complexion led to a quite predictable result as the new overhyped record turns out to be completely overloaded. The guitar riffs feel lackluster and are buried under a too big amount of symphonic elements. Despite the length of the single tracks, they show no progression whatsoever. The calmer moments lack of emotions, the louder parts lack of energy and the productions is without dynamics.

"We got a little time to make up our minds." stated the pioneer band of European Power Metal Helloween on the first part of their legendary "Keeper Of The Seven Keys" trilogy.

During the whole process of that difficult birth that Jari Mäenpää gave to his new baby, he seems to have either worked too much on the tracks as they feel very complicated and inaccessible or not worked enough on them as they lack of consistency. The whole record has no catchy moments even though the same patterns are heavily repeated. Apart of the instrumentals, all songs vary from calm ambient or folk rock introductions to extreme symphonic metal or melodic death metal parts to calmer folk metal sections before the entire circle is repeated again and again and soon starts to get quite predictable. The few new elements such as the Japanese folk parts are overused in the genre and don't fit at all to the topic of ice and snow. That being sad, the song titles lack as much of originality as the tracks themselves do.

"I've been here before, was it all just wasted time?" questioned the German power metal band Edguy on their "Rocket Ride" release.

In the end, there is nothing left to say but that this record collapses under its own pressure and feels directionless and overloaded. Maybe the sound would have been more mature and natural if the release would have taken less time. I can understand that the band finally wanted its material to be released but maybe they should have worked on something completely different and new as time went by. The plan to make two records out of one is a good commercial idea but artistically, it just stretches the whole chapter and people like me are not looking forward for the second part of this release at all. But maybe time will change things again and the band will actually revise its initial decision or work on their songs to make them sound more natural. As most of the reviews on here are surprisingly positive, they though surely don't feel the need to improve so that my expectations are very low for the upcoming release.

"Tears of time ? just an illusion." concluded the legendary German gothic metal band Crematory on their well entitled "Illusions" release.

WINTERSUN Time I

Album · 2012 · Symphonic Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
J-Man
Unless you simply haven't been paying much attention to the metal scene recently, it's no secret that the wait for a new Wintersun album was long and torturous, to say the least. After initially being scheduled for release all the way back in November of 2006, a series of setbacks and recording issues delayed the album for nearly six years. What this meant is that fans of Wintersun's unique and masterful debut album had to patiently wait eight whole years to hear its successor in the form of Time I, the first release in a two part saga. Fortunately, Wintersun has returned with a triumphant observation that stands as one of the year's most breathtaking and original releases - the mix of symphonic power metal, folk, and extreme metal heard on the band's debut offering is still present on Time I, but it has been given a fresh coat of paint that makes for one hell of a listen. An intense, complex, and unforgettable album indeed, Time I is easily one of 2012's musical highlights.

When the Time concept was still in its infancy, mastermind Jari Mäenpää said that this would be a very intricate album, and each song would contain around 200 tracks. Though this may sound far-fetched to the unsuspecting listener, this is an incredibly dense composition - vast orchestrations, multiple vocal melodies at once, huge keyboard tones, and pummeling guitar riffs characterize the music here, and it seems like every minute consists of dozens of musical ideas and melodic phrases blended into one coherent piece of music. The key word in that sentence is 'coherent' - although lots of things are always going on and most of the riffs are very death metal oriented, melody is the first priority here. Epic choruses and bombastic keyboards may not appeal too much to death metal purists, but more open minded listeners are likely to be amazed with the vast array of sounds that Wintersun has conjured. Almost as if a symphonic power metal band decided to up their testosterone level, Time I takes everything that's great about epic metal and makes it more heavy, progressive, and complex than anything I've ever heard before.

Beginning with the Tolkienesque intro "When Time Fades Away", Wintersun shows us right off the bat that this will be an epic journey; the intricate arrangement, touches of Eastern influence, and climatic final segment make this one of the best instrumental intro tracks I've ever heard on a metal album. It segues right into the thirteen minute behemoth "Sons of Winter and Stars", and this track immediately sets the stage for the rest of the album with its heavy riffs, multi-layered keyboard arrangements, and massive choruses. "Land of Snow and Sorrow" doesn't feature as many harsh vocals as the previous track, and it's also generally more mid-paced, but it retains the stunning keyboard work and strong melodies that made the earlier portions of the album so great. The main chorus has a Viking-influenced feel that showcases Wintersun's strong connection to Scandinavian folk music. "Darkness and Frost" is a short interlude piece that serves more as an intro to "Time" - it contains many of the same musical ideas as the following track, and also segues seamlessly into its successor. "Time" is the epic closer to part one of this saga, and features some absolutely killer riffs and some of the most technically challenging acrobatics heard on the entire observation. The album closes on a more atmospheric note, but that is certainly appreciated when one considers how bombastic the rest of the album is.

Time I is a short album by today's standards, clocking in at only forty minutes, but that is easily forgivable considering the depth and quality of the material offered. This is an example of 'all killer, no filler', and I would take that over a boring eighty minute album any day of the week. Wintersun is a group of musicians that have absolutely mastered their craft as artists, and the stunning vision of extreme symphonic metal shown on Time I exemplifies a band that has a burning desire to push music into uncharted territory - a professional, ambitious, and masterfully written observation, the first album in the Time saga stands tall as one of the year's best metal albums. Wintersun is back, and they have returned stronger than ever!

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