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Utterly Epic - 90%

ReverseTracheotomy, December 8th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2004, CD, Nuclear Blast

Wintersun came out of nowhere with the release of their self-titled album. After his departure from Ensiferum mastermind Jari set about making his vision a reality and it did not disappoint. The levels of musical genius required to orchestrate a release on this scale are unreal, second to none. This album contains some of their most classic tracks, all unique and absolutely magnificent in their own ways. There are a huge number of elements going on in any Wintersun release so they are a difficult band to classify. Orchestras, black metal, power metal, even the occasional heavy metal lick sneaks its way into a guitar solo.

Wintersun is a really diverse album. It has a little more to offer in terms of variety than the later releases but this could be due to the longer period of time over which it was written and the increased number of songs on the release. The album changes pace a number of times but in a very methodical way that flows pretty seamlessly throughout. (This assumes you listen to it in the order it was intended Winter Madness at the beginning then Beyond the Dark Sun, etc.) There are so many phenomenal elements to this album, the orchestras, the intense and complex melodic passages made by the guitars, and Jari's vocals. While he hadn't yet arrived at a place of true technical proficiency in his voice at this time, the bro can sing. He does a really good job conveying emotion in his voice without sounding like he's in an emo-core band.

Also the solos in and of themselves are worth listening too. There is some serious shredding that takes place on this album and its off the chain. Winter Madness and Death and the Healing in particular have some absurd levels of face melting going on for several minutes at a time. Both of these songs are also very diverse and unique in themselves. Winter Madness is fast paced, in your face, and fairly chaotic and dissonant at times, while Death and the Healing is a slow and beautiful song. There's such a healthy balance of tracks on this album it can take a person on a journey while listening. The lyrical content as well serves as a huge conveyor of emotion. Songs like Beautiful Death and Sadness and Hate capture some of the heartbreak and tragedy of life, death, and relationships with other people and the world.

This album is a classic and a fan favorite for metal heads who dig that Scandinavian melodic metal sound. If you enjoy Ensiferum, Kalmah, Children of Bodom, etc. I highly recommend you listen to Wintersun. This album is unreal and an absolute classic and the bands writing and playing has only improved since then.