without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
It’s about TIME!
Yeah, yeah, that’s a cheap derp joke, but I still think it’s worth at least a little merit. Jari Maenpaa didn’t really make a lot of friends over his desire for his perfection-to-the-point-of-obsession when producing “Time”, and many of us who’ve been so blown away by WINTERSUN’s s/t debut started to get more and more anxious over the years-on-end delays. Eight years. Eight fucking years. And the last few times something like this happened, the listening public got “St. Anger” (1997 to 2003, a six year wait) and “Illud Divinum Insanus” (2003 to 2012, an eight to nine year wait), both of which ended up with their fair share of detractors in the end (though to be fair, “Illud…” had its moments or glory, whereas “St. Anger” was just a train wreck from front to back). Not that I’m accusing “Time” of running the risk of being among the no hopers of yesteryear. But you know where I’m coming from with this.
So here I sit, fingers at the ready, gearing up to enter the album’s fray…
No words. None. I’m speechless, utterly and resolutely. I never thought an album this massive in its musicality could still be possible in this era. Based on pure atmosphere alone, “Time I” is overwhelming. The risk of being swallowed whole by the sheer amount of layers is there, but it’s a willing sort of swallowedness, intentionally drawn into its enveloping grace. It’s really a thing of beauty, (this of course being said without any shred of blind hero worship on my end), and the time I’d spent listening to it was done so with a stunned sensation. This demanded my attention, and dammit if it didn’t receive it. So, with all that said, was it worth waiting 8 years or so? Yes. Yes, yes, YES. From the creative aspect, much of the musical end of things is based on miles-thick layers of synth and orchestral movements that really move the listener, with the guitar and bass riffing merely running alongside them (that’s not to say that the guitars are wholly useless here…just not as important as many would expect, is all) and more singing/choruses than before; thankfully the years have been kind to Mr. Maenpaa’s pipes, as nowadays his cleans much stronger and majestic than before and his screaming has more balls. And when they all come together, things go from section to section with a strong progressive vibe, truly taking in the spacey aspect Jari’s been shooting for since the start of the project (pretty much in spite of its wintry/nature-based origins).
Those who are here for either a replication of the first album or desire a more “traditional metal” album will be horribly pissed off by this. “Time I” is here to bring you into a universe all its own rather than simply rock you. And it’s within its own dimensional flux, where things veer back and forth at such a rapid pace, that one can finds its many, many little satisfying details. You’ll think you know where the album is heading, you’ll think you’ve got Wintersun pegged, but time and again you’ll end up veering off into worlds unheard (at least, by their perspective). Yet, with all that said, though, this is an album I don’t really see appealing to everyone. Particularly those who hate the majestic/symphonic metal thing. And as I’ve said before with regards to other albums/bands of this caliber, it’s really their loss because “Time I” is an absolutely stellar disc that bursts at the seams with a “Wow!” factor so few albums in recent times have been able to possess. No one track really stands out; they’re all fascinating in their own respective rights no matter how you slice it. Stunning. Amazing. Awe-inspiring. That good enough for ya?
In the end, Wintersun truly outdo their first album in terms of overall solidity and ability to stun the listener. This is not an album to simply listen to or merely appreciate; this is something to experience, to live through, to traverse across over and over again. This is definitely a must-own album, and a clear forerunner for Album of 2012. Just…wow.