Time I is the culmination of Jari Maenpaa’s travails. Wintersun released their self titled debut in 2004, and it is widely regarded as a benchmark of the folk/melodic death sub genre. Fans who followed Wintersun from the very start must have lost count of the times Time I has been pushed back. But eight years later, Jari and co. have finally come through. While the hype may have died down a bit in the course of the last eight years, this album was irrefutably one of the most anticipated albums of last years.
It is a 5 track album with 40 mins of run time. Let’s get one thing clear, it would be futile to compare the sound of “Wintersun” and “Time I”. While the former primarily constituted of riff driven songwriting, the latter is a heavily layered synth laden symphonic album. Jari uses clean vocals for most of the album, and his vocals have improved greatly from the first album. The best track on the album is “Sons Of Winter And Stars”, a 13 minute epic which propels you into a fantastic journey. The lyric writing is fantastical and cheesy, which is an inseparable attribute of the melo-death genre. At the end of 40 mins, I wished the album had never ended.
Time I is an album that requires your attention. A single listen is not enough to comprehend the rich and dense sound of the album. A widely circulated fact is that every song on the album consists of nearly 200 tracks! Over-produced and indulgent you say? No, not really. The very first listen might be a bit overwhelming and chaotic, but after a few more re-runs, the sound starts to sink in. Pop on your headphones, and get lost within the rich and intricate nature of the album. Grandiose is a word that perfectly fits the description of the album.
However, the album does lack the skull crushing riffs and the ferocious sweep picked solos from the first album. Metalheads may find the lack of heaviness a bit of a turn off. Also, as good as the heavily layered symphonic music sounds, it does tend to overpower the famed guitar work of Jari.
Time I was one of the best albums of 2012, and what’s better is that there is more to come. Wintersun are expected to release Time II sometime next year. More Wintersun material is always a good thing, and if this album is an indicator of things to come, I am incredibly excited.