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This masterpiece tells a story when you listen to it, but since albums can't write reviews - I will have to. This studio album has it all: heavy riffs, orgasmic melodies, inhuman technical guitar solos, progressions, ballads, harsh vocals, clean manly vocals (not like those clean pop parts in gaycore music). Songs are aggressive, but very passionate, and every song is instantly memorable. They are all instantly memorable because: Beyond The Dark Sun is mind-blowing, fast and aggressive opener, with amazing sweep picking, crunchy riffs, fast tempo and monster drumming. That is the shortest track here, so naturally they made a music video. After it comes Winter Madness with insane guitar solo which is one of the best composed solos ever, progressions which are so very well done that you won't even notice tempo change, also this song has contrast between beautiful melodies and harsh vocals. Sleeping Stars is atmospheric song with amazing ambient. Very passionate one, with nicely done vocal parts and excellent lyrics.
Battle Against Time with excellent sing-along refrains, insane technical guitar solo and great headbanging riffs. Death And The Healing is passionate ballad, done with clean vocals, otherwise it would be totally ruined. It has long amazing impossible-to-play guitar solo full of sweeps, shredding and arpeggios and lyrics with really deep meaning. Starchild is the most progressive song from the album. It has head-crushing riffs, tasty lead guitars, excellent lyrics, lots of tempo changes and some folk metal parts appear. Beautiful Death has powerful riffs, another technical guitar solo, great atmosphere and of course, genial lyrics, just like every song here. Sadness And Hate is a bit folk metal, even more than that part of Starchild. It's very calm ending song, to complete the perfection of this release. So, everything is memorable and interesting here. Riffs are heavy, very creative, memorable, powerful, and there are many of them in every song.
Progression happen often, because of that every song changes its "mood" which makes progressive metal feel. Don't forget kids, Järi Mäenpää is guitar god. Just listen to those amazing sweeps, arpeggios, tapping and shredding in Beyond The Dark Sun, Winter Madness, Battle Against Time, Death And The Healing and Beautiful Death. Those solos are godlike, with overdose of feel and passion, and they are impossible to play for ordinary people. Not just riffs and guitar solos, but Jari gave nice keyboard touch to fill the songs with enchanting melodies and sometimes appear in solos. They weren't necessary in solos, but it's not like keyboards in solos of Sonata Arctica or Children Of Bodom. There keyboards play more important role than guitars, and that really sucks. Järi Mäenpää is not just god-like guitar player, but very intelligent philosopher. His lyrics can picture a man who was caught in a snow-storm, and his life comes to an end. I can almost see that man who fell in the snow, and starts slowly to drift into the world between reality and illusion. Also, Death And The Healing is genial song which describes how time flies fast, and how Järi feels because of that.
"Time" is dominant word and inspiration for most of his songs, even if we go back and listen to Ensiferum's songs from Ensiferum and Iron. Also, we all expect his studio album "Time". See? He needs lots of time to create Time... studio album. Not just Järi does amazing job here, but the drummer Kai Hahto. He really knows how to beat the fuck out of the drums, rape those double bass pedals, to smack massive blast beats and play really fast. Some think this band (because it is their only album) is overrated. Is it so? Why do people always bash on talented musicians, and yet enjoy so much popular mediocrity. Almost every melodic death metal band I've listened to is crap. This one is very unique and very enjoyable with talent overdose. Is Jari overrated because of his endless talent? Because of his perfect creativity? Because he can write genial lyrics which actually mean something? Which band can make story like this, giving clear image of almost dead man's state of mind, his way of thinking in his last moments of life? Wintersun is the answer. You can almost feel how harsh the winter storm is, and how helpless is the protagonist. This is not a concept album, but a story about life and death, shown through those amazing songs, and still each song is for its own.
Good sides of this release:
This is the best melodic death metal album, and this band is synonym for melodic death metal. So much talent and creative work here. If you see this album buy it, and help Järi make more perfect songs faster.
Bad sides of this release:
Do not expect other melodic death metal bands to be even close to Wintersun. This is the most perfect melodic death metal band. After them probably come Kalmah, but they stand no chance against almighty Wintersun.
Every single song.