Not many bands can say it’s taken eight years between debut and sophomore album but Finnish metallers Wintersun have finally returned with the first part of their epic concept album, Time. It’s something akin to a fantasy soundtrack and wouldn’t sound out of place as the musical backdrop to the likes of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.
When Time Fades Away introduces us to the album conjuring images of wild horseman roaming across expansive plains, atmospheric symphonic metal storytelling without words. Suitably grandiose and with an almost oriental feeling about it. A huge intro to the album essentially and exactly what you would expect in this genre as it rolls into Sons of Winters and Stars, building towards a powering and crushing crescendo replete with orchestral powerings and sweeping guitar runs before the track kicks in full force with Jari Mäenpää switching between snarling and soaring vocals.
At nearly 40 minutes long across only five tracks the album demands your absolute attention, as is expected, given its musical complexity. Of course, given the album title, we’re provided a grand sweeping story about the march of time and how it can never be stopped from the moment of birth until death. It’s a concept album knitted together in a way that only symphonic metal bands such as Wintersun can do. There is never ever a dull moment, although truth be told this will be one for the purists. If this kind of metal isn’t your thing, then I’m not sure it’s the kind of album that’s accessible enough to get you into it.
Land of Snow and Sorrow switches tact from the pace and complexity of the previous track to introduce a lot more power and regality for want of a better word. You can see mountainous vistas opening up before you as a king stands atop his battlements surveying his domain with a heavy and world weary heart. Clichéd? Ridiculously over the top? Perhaps, but this is all part and parcel of this genre’s style, substance and content. If it’s not bringing images like this to mind then it’s not hitting the right notes.
With the album heading to its conclusions we get the atmospheric interlude of Darkness and Frost as it dances its way into the album’s fittingly epic end, Time. You can’t help but sit back and appreciate the composition and structure of not just this track but the album as a whole as it reaches its journeys end. The grandiose nature of this track simply builds on all that’s come before while setting you up perfectly for the forthcoming Time II due for release next year.
If you love your power metal, symphonic metal, music that tells stories then this most definitely is for you.
Time I is out now through Nuclear Blast.
1. When Time Fades Away
2. Sons of Winters and Stars
I Rain of Stars
II Surrounded by Darkness
III Journey Inside a Dream
IV Sons of Winter and Stars
3. Land of Snow and Sorrow
4. Darkness and Frost
Jari Mäenpää – Vocals/Guitar
Teemu Mäntysaari – Guitar
Jukka Koskinen – Bass
Kai Hahto – Drums