CD Reviews

Wintersun - 'Time 1' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 23, 2013    
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Absolutely terrific.

If I had to ascribe a genre description to this intoxicating beauty of an album, I would have a problem, as it very neatly shoehorns an eclectic range of influences into its succinct 40 minutes, including folk, Celtic and symphonic metal along some more extreme stylings, all wrapped up with an undoubtedly complex progressive sheen.

Unless you’ve already picked up on ‘Time 1’ from reading about them in a wide variety of other music journals (sorry: I was rather slow of the mark with this one!) then I expect you will be unaware that Wintersun is yet another magnificent Finnish band – a quartet comprising Jari Mäenpää (vocals, guitar, computer, ex Ensiferum), Teemu Mäntisaari (guitar), Jukka Koskinen (bass) and Kai Hahto (drums) – and that this is their long in gestation follow-up to the highly lauded 2004 debut (which was really a Mäenpää solo release).

The breathtaking, emotional and utterly beautiful ‘When Time Fades Away’ tinged with both Celtic and eastern motifs completely suckers one into the mood and atmosphere of the album, imperceptibly segueing into the near 14-minute juggernaut ‘Sons Of Winter And Stars’: for what one is presented with in ‘Time 1’ (‘Time 2’ to follow this year, apparently) is essentially one lengthy piece of music. It is music that ebbs and flows and all wrapped up with some insistent melodic themes, of which my absolute favourite is to be found during ‘Land Of Snow And Sorrow’. I cannot get it out of my brain, so addictive is it…

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While much of the album is quite contemplative and soft, you’ve got to hold tight for when the heavy stuff comes in, and when accompanied by harsh vocals marks out this album as one to definitely avoid if you are completely pink and fluffy! But for the rest of us, a second instrumental comes along (‘Darkness And Frost’) which is more edgy than ‘When Time…’ and this presages the lengthy, magnificent multi-layered and frequently atmospheric ‘Time’.

I can only describe ‘Time 1’ as an album of epic magnificence, featuring superb musicianship all round and coupled with amazing songwriting. Mäenpää’s vocals are astounding: black, harsh and melodious at different points in this story; it is unfortunate that for some Fireworks readers the first of these will be a discouragement from wishing to discover this awesome album. For those who wish to take the trip and thoroughly explore this release, may I recommend purchase of a return ticket and investing in the limited deluxe digibook edition that comes in an extra wide format and has a bonus DVD with all sorts of additional goodies?

Absolutely terrific!

Paul Jerome Smith

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