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Well, it is finally here. After eight long years, filled with anticipation and disappointments, the long awaited follow-up to the band’s debut album “Wintersun” has finally landed in our time. The ironically entitled album “Time”; This has to be one of the most anticipated albums of this year, at least to me, and after a few spins you can notice quite a change in the approach since their 2004 debut.
In this review I will try to neglect the fact that this was supposed to be a full album with more songs, but was split into two albums in the last few months because in Jari’s opinion, “the music was too big for one album”. I will neglect the fact that Jari has been a real dick concerning releasing this album, in order to perfect it to the ultimate form possible. I will ignore that and focus on the music itself.
The album contains only 5 tracks, 2 instrumentals: “When Time Fades Away” and “Darkness and Frost”. And 3 songs: “Sons of Winter and Stars”, “Land of Snow and Sorrow”, and “Time”.
The music is generally much more atmospheric, depends on engulfing guitar riffs with a cocoon of synthesis and orchestration, you can also notice an influence of Japanese music, especially in the intro “When Time Fades Away”, the song “Sons of Winter and Stars” and the end of the last song “Time”. The music also sounds a lot more epic with extra layers of different keyboard sounds, the album at some points sounds even too big for its own good, sometimes you can feel the extra use of layers is getting out of hand, but it’s well controlled by the drumming of Mr. Hahto, the bass line and the awesome well crafted guitar riffs, but you can feel it’s much different from before, which is really a double edged dagger, it’s good at some points and offers a fresh breeze in the record, but on the other hand it can a bit boring and inconsistent.
Probably the most surprising part of the album is the vocals, the vocals of Jari has improved significantly, it’s more emotional and touching in the clean vocals domain, and it sounds more brutal and violent in the growling part, it really suits the whole atmosphere of the album and gives it a beautiful frozen flavor, it’s like listening to a depressing Anime movie.
As a keyboardist myself, I must say that I am completely awed by the amazing talents I have witnessed in this album. The orchestration is incredible and flowing through the whole record, like a tapestry of darkness and beauty, it’s weaved in a very professional way, crafted in tears and blood of years of work. Probably the most incredible keyboard gems are hidden in the song “Time”. It’s flowing perfectly and flawlessly like a pure immortal stream.
You can easily notice that Jari and the others have really poured much of their emotions in this album, and it shows how hard they have been working. It’s a really rewarding album. I must say that in many ways it managed to surpass its predecessor, but on the other hand you can notice that the guitars have been a little neglected in the mixing zone, I mean the riffing is very well written and molded, but it hasn’t got its fair share and should have been given a little more attention, at some points in the depths of songs such as “Land of Snow and Sorrow” and “Time” it almost sounds that the album is entirely executed on keyboards until few riffs and solos kick in and change that idea, but you can still get that feeling.
In short, this record is an undeniable masterpiece and it was well worth the wait, but as long devoted fans of Wintersun we expected much more in the guitar department, I really hope to see more of that in the upcoming album Time II.
Welcome back, Wintersun !