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After eight long and grueling years, the album that has been called the “Chinese Democracy of Extreme Metal” is finally seeing the light of day. Marred by recording delays, writing blocks, equipment breakdowns, etc., Wintersun does not disappoint with “Time I,” an album comprised of the frostbitten and savvy mix of melodic death/symphonic/black/power/progressive/folk metal these Finnish juggernauts became known for with their previous release. Actually, it is quite inappropriate to have any sort of “Chinese Democracy” reference to “Time I,” because this doesn’t suck.
The album opens with “When Time Fades Away,” a grandiose and atmospheric instrumental exploring some of the exotic Japanese melodies that Jari Maenpaa, Wintersun’s vocalist, guitarist and primary songwriter, mentioned would be present on the album. The introduction works right into the first “real” track, “Sons of Winter and Stars,” a 13-minute epic that ascends the band into tantalizing, euphoric heights. The band can step from luscious melodic death metal with a progressive bent, into traditional Scandinavian folk territory, without missing a beat.
My only real complaint with “Time I” is that the symphonic elements, at times, overpower everything else that is going on. Wintersun’s previous self-titled release was very prevalent with symphonics, but they added to the overall atmosphere without detracting from the vocals, guitars, etc. But that is just a minor flaw in an otherwise stellar release.
“Time I” was well worth the eight-year wait. Unfortunately, I would say the previous Wintersun album beats out this one by just a hair, but “Time I” will make it on my top albums of 2012 that have been released thus far.
Keep on the lookout for the second part of this album, “Time II”, in 2013.
Originally posted here: http://www.bsudailynews.com/72hrs/this-charming-music-wintersun-and-ben-gibbard-deliver-decent-but-pleasurable-records-1.2784316