I remember the first time I heard Wintersun‘s debut, self-titled album, and being instantly awe-strucked. I remember being a 15-year old kid, just getting into melodic death metal and folk metal, an avid user of last.fm, and finding this band high on the list of similar bands as Ensiferum. Little would I expect that 13 years later, Wintersun still has a special place in my heart.
The opening riffs on album opener Beyond the Dark Sun will always be stuck in my mind, being one of the fastest moments that I had encountered back then. The speed and ferociousness is matched by an equal level of melody, making for an enjoyable head-banging track for any self-respecting fan of melodic death metal.
Yet this is hardly the representation of the style that Wintersun plays, as the folk elements are clear as day throughout the album as well. Maybe it is his relation to Ensiferum back then (Iron remains one of my favourite folk metal albums), there are lots of folk metal-inspired moments that are littered throughout the album, through the usage of “heroic” vocals, to the melody of the lead guitars on songs like WInter Madness.
The songwriting prowess of Wintersun is evident, with a wide range of different styles here. Hardly surprising, considering the fact that the album contained songs written in different periods of time between 1995 and 2003, making this album album almost 10 years in the making. From the speedy Beyond the Dark Sun to the dark and broody Death and the Healing, Wintersun proves themselves to be master musicians and songwriters, there is hardly a boring or wasted moment on the album.
When a band releases an album that remains so highly acclaimed such a long time later, you know that they must have done something right. Jari Mäenpää may have encountered a string of bad luck over the years while attempting to record and release the follow up albums to Wintersun, but this has not stopped Wintersun‘s debut to remain a melodic death metal classic, and their follow up thus far, Time I, to be of equal quality.
You can support Wintersun and their third release through their Indiegogo page here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/wintersun-crowdfunding–3#/
Favourite tracks: Beyond the Dark Sun, Death and the Healing, Beautiful Death