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There are only a few bands that already have a legendary status after their debut album. The stunning legacy and mystery that already surrounds the band's future output "Time" that has been delayed over and over again and seems to be a very one of the most epic, complex and complicated albums that have ever been created in the metal universe is comparable to the story of Guns 'n' Roses' "Chinese Democracy". That's why I wanted to take a closer look on this band and I must admit that the hype is exagerated.
"Wintersun" deliver dark and very epic folk metal and their album goes from the shortest to the longest track. The musical and lyrical directions in general remind a lot of the Finnish metal legends "Ensiferum" and other folk metal bands like "Tyr" while the epic constructions are inspired by older bands with epic sounds such as the inventors of Viking Metal that are "Bathory" but they also take some bits and pieces from rather modern epic melodic death or folk metal bands such as "Children of Bodom" or "Equilibrium". ´
While this mixture is not truly original or innovating, the band proves that they are great and ambitious musicians and create diversified mixtures of all those influences. The main prioblem in here is that they exagerate a little bit and put sometimes too many overwhelming elements in their sound which is also a problem I have with bands such as "Blind Guardian" or "Rhapsody of Fire". Instead of remaining and focussing on a great melody they put too many ideas in one single song and that's sometimes a little bit hard to digest and asks several tries and a lot of attention. Technically, this band is brilliant and honours their multiple influences but the songwriting could be starighter and more coherent. Sometimes, I'm losing them in the longer songs and they don't get down to earth and to the point even if every song has some good ideas from long and epic narrative passages to violent melodic death metal parts.
This diversity only works completely well in the shortest piece of the record which is "Beyond the dark sun" and the band already puts ideas in this short and sweet song of two and a half minutes that other bands would put in three songs of about five minutes: power metal guitar riffs and keyboard interludes that remind of "Stratovarius", epic narrative passages that remind of "Bathory", catchy death metal vocals that remind of "Children of Bodom", slight folk tale melodies that use abnds such as "Equilibrium" and a general atmosphere that is similar to the first two albums of "Ensuiferum". The track is though shorte nough top remain catchy and addictable which isn't the case for the longer and longer tracks that put three times as much ideas in almost ten minutes of music.
There is one single exception on this album which is the last song called "Sadness and hate" that takes some time to focus on an epic and majestic atmosphere, simple but addicting melodies and a fascinating story with interesting lyrics. This best song is a great closure for the record and I hope that the band will create more epic songs in that style on their fortchcoming record.
In the end we have a very ambitious, epic and diversified record here that aims very high but that is too overwhelming, creatiev and megalomaniac at some points. While every song is interesting and has great passages, the tracks as a whole are sometimes hectical, confusing and simply frustrating. The shortest and the longest track represnet the two extremes and how the band should and could work in the future to create catchier tunes. Sometimes, less is more and structure and patience is better than exagerated intellectuality and pressure. For the next record, the abnd took a lot of time and I hope they trained their focus to elaborate their songs slower and further at the same time. Nevertheless, anybody that likes the bands I have all mentioned above will appreciate the record at least as much as a critical person like me and probably even more so that I can only suggest to give this record a try. This is surely on a way better level than other folk metal bands such as "Alestorm", "Swashbuckle" or "Eluveitie". If you happen to like epic folk metal but you find this stuff too hard I can suggest you to try out the latest albums of "Tyr", "Turisas" and maybe "Heljareyga".