Monday, August 20, 2012

Metal Mondays: Wintersun

Genre: Melodic Death/ Power Metal with Folk Influences
Country: Finland

Wintersun is the brainchild of Jari Mäenpää, former frontman of Ensiferum. It was created after he got tired of the big E and wanted to move further down in the alphabet. Also he has full control over everything the band does, being the only member. For the first album at least, Jari recorded all of the instruments and vocals apart from the drums. This may not seem like the biggest feat, especially after I posted my one man bands post a bit ago. But when you start to listen to Wintersun and you hear how extremely technical and layered it is, you start giving Jari more credit. This compounds with the fact that he is amazing musician. Just listen to his solos!

I ams here to rocks your socks off
Wintersun is one of those few (only found in Europe) bands that doesn't just play music; they also play with your emotions. This is a band where listening to them on a high quality speaker is crucial. It is the only way you can truly experience the music. Like most people, I heard about Wintersun after listening to Ensiferum for a bit (I started listening to Ensiferum after Jari had already left so perhaps my experiences are a bit different than others). The music was pretty good so I added it to my library. My obliviousness went on for more months than it should of before it finally hit me. I was listening to my music when a Wintersun song came on. It was quiet where I was so and I had headphones on I could hear it very clearly. It was breathtaking just hearing how many different layers and instruments were all playing at once. The surprising part was how well it all fit together. From that point on I had significantly more respect for the band.
So much meaning, I just can't.. comprehend it.
Then came the aptly named album Time and its near-infinite delays. Time was going to be Wintersun's second album. It was also going to be released in 2006, a reasonable amount of time after their 2004 debut. The album kept getting delayed again and again, the main reason being Jari's perfectionism. Somewhere along the line after getting a full band together, all of the instruments finished recording in 2007. Then it was the mad wizard Jari sitting in his apartment tinkering with virtual orchestras and adding over 200 layers to the album. The record label even had to intervene multiple times to ensure the album was still being created. The band was forced to play concerts in order to continue to receive funding for the album (since when does a band get forced to play concerts anyway?). Finally, earlier this year Jari and friends announced that Time would now be Time I and Time II. The best part though? A confirmed release date of October 12th for Time I. Let's hope there are no last minute delays.

That's the story of Wintersun for the most part. If you want the same thing structured in a coherent manner, you should probably visit Wikipedia. I just hope that after Time I is released, they decide to tour over here. They've already been announced as the headliner for Heidenfest 2012, but that's (obviously) Europe-only. Despite everything, I'm sure Time I will be a great album. I own the debut album and have been listening to it on repeat in anticipation.

-Zombie Viking


  1. Now that's a reasonable amount of Wintersun on your blog xD I totally love Wintersun, second listening to Sleeping Stars woke my family because I was nearly screaming "OH SLEEPING STAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARS" at 1 am xD Lyrics are quite essential to fully.. hmm.. understand the folkiness, because keyboards and synths are not folk-orientated enough.

    I don't know about Time I, but Time II will be a great cd, it will have studio version of The Way of the Fire, which is extremely epic live.

    Oh, and Winterdrummer, Kai Hahto is worth mentioning too, especially for epic intro of Sadness and Hate and this video:

    1. I wrote this for you man :P

      Starchild is my favourite Wintersun song so far, but The Way of the Fire sounds like it will turn out to be an amazing song. That kind of sucks though that it won't be on Time I. I guess I didn't look at the track listing close enough.

      I agree that Kai Hahto is an amazing drummer. He perfectly melds in drums with the rest of Jari's instruments. I'm glad you mentioned him and posted that link actually.

    2. Best drummer I know, no one from my other favourite bands can touch him. On this video you can see that Kai and Teemu are NOT playing simultaneously, which boosts even further Kai's awesomeness- he plays perfectly timed song without other members (as every drummer should) and still adds a lot of additional sounds (like awesome ending/outro) without losing rythm or changing a song's length/time, not even a half second.

      Starchild is great too, on the album the less liked song for me is the Battle Against Time, but I still love it. If I was to rate the album I would give 98%, these 2% missing % are because of BAT xD

    3. Haha well hopefully Time I is just as good. Jari has said that it's a pretty different sound. I am glad though that it's still just Jari and Kai making all the music.

  2. Well, Teemu and Jukka are recording too, it's not like they are there only for live shows (they are both great musicians, Jukka Koskinen's bass was damn amazing on Cain's Offering album), but music and lyrics are still written by Jari.

  3. Well then I'm glad they can keep up with him, lol.