Friday, October 19, 2012

Wintersun - Time I Review

The moment you've been waiting 8 long years for is finally here. Jari Mäenpää and friends are back with an album that's bigger and better in almost every way. Time I is more technical, heavier, softer, more symphonic and has longer songs than Wintersun's debut. It is, however, shorter, but I'll get to that later.

The cover is just one of the strikingly beautiful and detailed things about this album.
Every song on Time I is a masterpiece. They all sound entirely different and elicit completely different (but strong nonetheless) emotional responses. Sons of Winter and Stars is the heaviest and fastest track on the album and Land of Snow and Sorrow the lightest. Time is somewhere in between, featuring some fast and some more 'acoustic' (that's not the right word.. how about unplugged) sections. When Time Fades Away serves as a gradual introduction to the album with Darkness and Frost acting as an interlude between the last two songs. It all fits together really nicely and every song (with perhaps the exception of When Time Fades Away) can stand on its own and give any listener a full Wintersun experience.

Sons of Winter and Stars is the highlight of the album, featuring the widest array of musical styles and most shreddy guitar. It's also the longest, clocking in at 13 minutes and 31 seconds. That's not to say that the song drags on. In fact, those 13 minutes of your life will fly by and you'll find yourself wanting to use up that time over and over again. I've already listened to the song three times today alone. The song starts off with the end of When Time Fades Away, giving an oriental vibe as Jari previously stated the album would contain. It then kicks off in true Wintersun style, a barrage of expertly crafted sounds that all seem to sync together perfectly. It's on this track that you can hear the increased symphonic elements of the album. Despite the fact that Jari didn't get an actual orchestra (which is something I'd like to see for future album releases), the end result is probably even better. The symphonic sections are made up of not just orchestral elements, but also oriental and sometimes even electronic sounds. It all combines to make some of the most unique melodies I've heard. Of course the guitars, drums, keyboards and vocals on top of it all add yet another element to the music. The first time I heard "Sons of Winter and Stars RISE", the experience commenced. I just can't get over how expertly timed everything is and how well it all works together. The song continues for a normal Wintersun length before it slows down at the 7 minute mark for an amazing acoustic bridge. Then it picks up again and goes back to the ferocity of the first half. Then, just when I thought I couldn't be surprised any more by the song, Jari's all-star chorus (which was teased on Youtube, see below) kicks in, increasing the epicness tenfold; if that was even possible. One of the reasons cited for the album being split in two was the fact that the music just can't all be listened to in one sitting. After this song, I can see what they mean by that. I had to take a break and let it all sink in.

Well seeing how long that was, I don't think I'm going to individually review the rest of the songs.. There's plenty that I could say for any song or even any given second of the album, but the most important is "go listen to it for yourself". Once I finished listening to the album (after taking a break in between each song of course), I found myself letting the disc go back to the first song and playing it all over again. Despite Jari being the mastermind behind this project, I think the rest of the band deserves huge props. This album wouldn't have been possible without the help of Kai, Teemu and Jukka, all extremely talented in their own right. After all, there's a limited amount of mortals who possess the prowess needed to play alongside Jari. I also especially enjoyed Kai's drumming.

Some of the greatest musicians in metal.
Despite the near perfection of the tracks it contains, I have one main gripe with Time I and it has to do with the 'I' in the title. This feels like (and is) merely half an album. Ignoring When Time Fades Away and Darkness and Frost, there are only three real songs. Despite the length of each individual song, the album as a whole left me wanting more. It is unfortunate that each part of Time couldn't have more tracks similar to Stratovarius' Elements, Pt.1 and Pt.2. Though that album was split because of the overflowing amount of songs, not the unfinished nature of some. However, comparing Time I to any other band or album is a disservice. It is so wholly different to anything else you could possibly find that it just can't be equated. In the end, my gripe is a small one. I don't think I (or the fanbase as a whole) would have wanted to wait even longer for every song to be completely finished. I'm sure that once Time II is released, the two halves will make an amazing whole.

In the end, Time I was worth the wait. Every song is so masterfully crafted that it warrants multiple listens. Although it does feel like half an album is missing, Time II will most likely be worth the wait as well. If Wintersun was trying to take my money, the succeeded. Not only will I give them money for the album, but I now have an even more burning desire to see them live when they finally come here in December. I'll see you soon Wintersun!

Rating: 98/100

-Zombie Viking


  1. I was gonna write my own review but seeing Yours changed my mind. I almost completely think the same and my balls fell off when I heard first 2 tracks. The only part I disagree with You is about first track, it's just an amazing instrumental which is not only the best I heard but also the best album intro I've heard. I don't want to speak about 4th track because I heard the album only 7 times now. I keep wondering how You got Your cd so fast :D I had my own delivered today, amazed how fast it went from Finland to Poland. Anyway, dvd rehearsal is great, I have to have a look at other bonus stuff on Dvd. Oh, I was watching Jukka's and Teemu stream, they answered a few of my questions and there's no info about live dvd if You wanna know, they think it is a cool idea but no plans were made yet, maybe after Time II.

    I am shitting myself thinking about seeing them live in less than 2 weeks, take care man and great review overall.


    1. Hey thanks for reading and I'm glad you liked it :) Rock on \m/

    2. Hey man, I just found out that there's a bonus track 6 on Time I, not empty as I thought :D God damn Jari :trollface:

  2. I found this blog on one of your comment on, and I couldn't agree more with your review. I really love all the songs of this new Wintersun masterpiece. However unfortunately it's only HALF a masterpiece, and because it's so short, when the album ends you're like "that's it? where is the end?". I despise whoever decided to split the album in two parts to make more money. Two parts only works if you have enough material to make 2 full-length albums!

    Anyway, I just wanted to add that I saw them in Helsinki last week, and they are very very good - I don't think you'll be disappointed. :)

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my review :) I'm glad you liked it.

      In the end I think it was the record label that made the decision to split the album. Jari would have probably kept working on the songs until the end of time if the record label hadn't forced him to release it lol. Then he probably realized he still wanted to work on the songs some more and they cut a deal with him. That's the way I see it anyway.

      I really hope I do get to see them.. The concert is during exam week for me and I don't have my schedule yet. I can imagine the venue is going to be completely packed. Korpiklaani played in the same venue and it was already filled to the brim. I can only imagine the crowd Eluveitie and Wintersun are going to bring!

  3. i'm a little bit sad that i waited 7 years for this album and they gave me a 'single', we can't even say this album sucks cause it's not an album, at least i have ensiferum, jari was the trollmaster with this piece of work.