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Wintersun caught my attention some time ago when I began finding interest in metal that focused on epic and melodic elements, and of course, this was what Jari Mäenpää's reincarnation appeared to be. Aside from the cool artwork and gimmick, I was simply stunned by all the positive things said about Wintersun's self-titled debut. The never-ending worship convinced me this was an album of the ages, but my assumption was a grave error. There has been a lot of praise hovering around Wintersun’s first CD since its release, but my experience with the album is far different from the majority. Some would say Wintersun plays an epic style of melodic death metal that warms the soul with its beauty, but the group is just a bland project attempting to sound wondrous without any structure or meaning in the harshest reality.
The biggest blunder here isn't the music, but the way the songs are written. Mäenpää can clearly perform multiple instruments with ease, but all his talent is simply buried underneath poor musical formation. With the exception of "Beyond The Dark Sun," each track is forged upon a series of melodic riffs being used again and again, the same drum pattern with an occasional fill, and a few predictable leads. The time length for all but one of the songs reaches past five minutes with "Sadness And Hate" hitting the ten minute marker, which is simply ridiculous considering the dull structure of each track. The music itself seems very good at hindsight, but it just keeps going in the same boring direction until the listener is caught in a REM cycle. The only song worth mentioning is “Beyond The Dark Sun,” which contains rapid melodic riffs, rich keyboard harmonies, and blistering solos all performed at flashing speed. The remaining seven tunes transform into sickening abominations of repetitive music, dull vocals, and half-assed epic misfortunes that might induce a coma.
I find it hard to digest the music, but the vocals lead to a massive bowel movement of messy composition and dreadful execution that simply destroys core parts of this album. Jari Mäenpää applies two vocal techniques throughout Wintersun's debut: shrieking and singing, but he manages to screw both of them up. Jari's shrieks are incredibly annoying and appear to be a bit forced considering the musical atmosphere. The clean voice sounds great, but it's typically placed in sloppy arrangements without any formulated patterns or texture. You can be the greatest vocalist in the world, but randomly tossing lyrics in the air isn't a smart thing to do, and that's exactly what happens here with Mäenpää's singing voice.
I’ve listened to Wintersun’s debut countless times, and I still don’t understand why this record gets so much praise. I originally believed in all the hype Wintersun had obtained, but my view on the band has voluminously changed after hearing this disdainful record. It may be tempting to check this one out, but I challenge anyone who plans on buying Wintersun’s self-titled CD to put their purchase on hiatus and consider different opinions.