Wintersun
Wintersun


4.5
superb

Review

by Mike Stagno EMERITUS
February 4th, 2007 | 1979 replies | 79,457 views


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Jari Maenpaa's first album outside Ensiferum is a superb offering, combining the elements of power, melodic death, black, and folk metal.

Does the name Jari Maenpaa mean anything to you? Probably not. But if you're into metal, particularly power or folk metal, chances are you've heard some of his material. For Jari was once the frontman and guitarist of Ensiferum, one of Viking metal's most recognizable groups. Now, Ensiferum is quite obviously a very good band as proven by excellent offerings such as their s/t or Iron, yet despite this Jari still felt that his new solo project, Wintersun, was higher on his priority list. When the recording of Wintersun's s/t conflicted with the touring of Ensiferum, the guitarist/vocalist decided enough was enough and parted ways with his Viking metal friends. And he had to have felt his new solo work was stronger then that of the promising Ensiferum. And while this all boils down to personal opinion, I believe Jari made the correct decision for as good as Ensiferum might be, Wintersun is stronger.

The album cover off Wintersun's debut album portrays a cold winter night, probably in the wilderness of Maenpaa's home country of Finland. A figure can be seen lying in the snow, frozen in the snow. It's quite a mysterious, yet beautiful painting. The music on Wintersun is quite similar to its album art. Combining the likes of neoclassical metal, folk metal, power metal, black metal, and melodic death metal, Jari Maenpaa is able to create a sound that is both very bleak and cold sounding, yet at the same time, has a mystical attractiveness to it. The melodious guitars or keyboards, as heard in say Starchild or Death and the Healing, create an excellent, often epic atmosphere from which Wintersun can draw momentum from, moulding the song into a five to ten minute song in which Jari makes use of musical passages akin to progressive metal or the folk metal sound he played in Ensiferum. Armed with a plethora of long tracks, Jari has plenty of room to show his skill, both vocally, instrumentally and song writing-wise. Maenpaa has the whole harsh vocal aspect down pat, as those who knew him from Ensiferum would know. His shrieks convey the emotion and power required to make such a production successful, and along with the guitars and keyboards, they are very high in the mix. The clean singing, on the other hand, is not quite as refined. Unlike Jari's powerful screams, which command the attention of the listener, his clean vocals are more passive sounding and low in the mix. They don't impact the music as effectively as some of Jari's shrieks; they're just kind of there. They aren't all that bad, especially in a song like Death and the Healing, but they aren't as strong has the harsh vocals.

As I mentioned earlier, the songs off of the Wintersun album display very strong song writing skills. The combined runtime of the eight tracks which are featured on the band's debut album is 54 minutes, including five tracks exceed the 7 minute mark. But Jari Maenpaa has done an excellent job ensuring that the several long songs are entertaining and exciting. For the various interludes, solos, and melodic passages are very tasteful and Jari rarely, if ever resorts to mindless noodling to get the job done. Death and the Healing is one song where this is the case. Made up of slower, depressing melodies which flow exceedingly well, the song creates an atmosphere reflected by the track's title. The calm, soothing melodies are especially fun to listen to and once again replicate the epic atmosphere that the album art stresses. Wintersun shows off some of its metal diversity with songs like Winter Madness and Beautiful Death. While both tracks are based around fast, up tempo riffing, Winter Madness is more of a nod toward Maenpaa's power metal background, while Beautiful Death better reflects the black metal influences in the band's sound. Fans of both genres should enjoy the emphasis placed on both sounds, as they are very well put together and enjoyable tracks to listen to.

Though he was leaving a very promising Viking metal band, in recording this album Jari Maenpaa looks to have himself and the rest of the newly formed Wintersun quite the future. With influences ranging from folk metal, to black metal, to progressive metal, to power metal, the band's sound is very likeable and easy to get into. The music itself is very melodic and emotional, be it soothing or cold; aggressive or slower; harsh or calm; and encompasses a variety of atmospheres and themes. Fans of Ensiferum or Children of Bodom should give Wintersun a shot as should anybody looking to delve deeper in that of the respective genres in which Wintersun employs. Superb album all around.

Recommended Tracks:
Death and the Healing
Winter Madness
Beautiful Death
Beyond the Dark Sun



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Thor
February 4th 2007



10186 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Pretty good review, but where are Sadness and Hate and Battle Against Time on the Recommended Tracks list?! Those are the two best on the album I think.

Angmar
February 4th 2007



2689 Comments


Ok this sounds REALLY good im gonna download it now. Great review too.

Mikesn
Emeritus
February 4th 2007



3709 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thank you gentlemen.

where are Sadness and Hate and Battle Against Time on the Recommended Tracks list?! Those are the two best on the album I think.
Either of those could sub in for Byond the Dark Sun, I suppose, but I think Death and the Healing and Winter Madness are the two best tracks.

Angmar
February 4th 2007



2689 Comments


Ok this is REALLY good.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
February 4th 2007



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

album is great

review is too

Darkness
February 4th 2007



67 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Legendary album. I listen to some of the songs almost daily.

Mikesn
Emeritus
February 4th 2007



3709 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't think I'd call it legendary yet. Definitely has the potential to be a classic though, imo.

Thank you Chan.

Lunarfall
February 4th 2007



3179 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Battle Against Time is the best song IMO.

Great band, will be looking forward to their new album.

Also look at the very first sentence in your review. A word is missing.This Message Edited On 02.04.07

JumpTheF**kUp
February 4th 2007



2710 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

album is great

review is too

Basically.

Mikesn
Emeritus
February 4th 2007



3709 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Also look at the very first sentence in your review. A word is missing.
Thanks for catching that.

Eakflanderyof
February 4th 2007



2143 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice review, Mike.

I happen to love Sleeping Stars, Starchild, and Battle Against Time myself. Actually, all the songs are good except for the last one, which gets boring.

I love windy, blizzard sounding effect his guitar has on this album if that makes sense. In Beyond the Dark Sun, it actually sounds like he's playing in a blizzard or something.



SCREAM!
February 4th 2007



10038 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I've had this album for a couple of months now and I'm still noticing new things I hadn't heard in previous listenings. This is definately one amazing album.

Review is pretty good too.

Digging: Old Witch - Come Mourning Come

Mikesn
Emeritus
February 4th 2007



3709 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I happen to love Sleeping Stars, Starchild, and Battle Against Time myself. Actually, all the songs are good except for the last one, which gets boring.
I pretty much love the whole album as well. Sadness and Hate is kind of long, but I still find it entertaining. That folky riff at the beginning of Starchild is pretty cool too, reminds me of Ensiferum.

@ Scream!: Same here. I started listening to this heavily in the last weak and I liked it even more than I did when I first heard it.

Pebster49
February 5th 2007



2991 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Im not much into Black Metal, and not a huge Power Metal fan either but this band for some reason I like...the review was very good at describeing this band...good job

Dethtrasher
February 5th 2007



2211 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This actually reminds me alot of Mirrorthrone.

Mikesn
Emeritus
February 5th 2007



3709 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I've never noticed, tbh. There might be some simularities, I should listen to more Mirrorthrone.

Eakflanderyof
February 5th 2007



2143 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I listened to this album again last night. I forgot how amazing Beautiful Death is.

Tyler
Emeritus
February 5th 2007



7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Listening to this now. It's definitely better than I remember it.

Thor
February 5th 2007



10186 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That's because this album is fan-freakin' tastic. The only song I can't really get into is Sleeping Stars. It just doesn't really go anywhere.

Nostradamus
February 5th 2007



80 Comments


sounds nothing like mirrothrone



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