Here is another CD that came out of left field. WINTERSUN is comprised of ex-ENSIFERUM multi talented instrumentalist Jari Mäenpää and ROTTEN SOUND drummer Kai Hahto. What we are treated to is simply amazing. "Beyond The Dark Sun" is comprised of strong Power Metal drumming, melodic and catchy riffs rounded out by Death Metal vocals. The guitar work from Jari is pretty amazing. It's flashy, technical and impressive without going over the top. The song is so short that you want more here. The drums sort of enter the blast beat zone on "Winter Madness." Also, added here are elements of folk that shine through which only enhance the band's sound and not hurting it. Some of the riffs during the solo here are reminiscent of Yngwie, but only fresher.
By the time we hit "Sleeping Stars, one would think that it was an instrumental because the intro is so long and also more laid back. There is still that Power Metal drumming, but it's consistent and that is a good thing. It's more spread out. Chants are also pumped out here which only makes this song really stand out. Things really slow down for the better on "Death And The Healing." The folk vibe is well in tact, but musically, things are brought down several notches. Jari's guitar work is really fantastic here because he shows the audience that he doesn't have to play lightning fast to get the job done. It's laid back and you can feel the emotion he puts into it as well. This is a top notch performance coming from a man who plays most of the instruments here.
Some of the tracks here tend to get long, but because there is so much going on here it never gets boring. "Beautiful Death" is just over seven minutes and you would think that in this genre you can't or should go past the four minute mark, but the guys are so talented in composing that there is no time to think of boredom because the tracks only get more beautifully complex and multi dimensional. I think fans of different genres of music will get into this because there is so much to offer. The galloping riffs and beats are plentiful here. You would think that being in ENSIFERUM or ROTTEN SOUND that their influences would rub off entirely on here, but they don't while the guys use the same elements as their other bands, they never for one moment sound like their counterparts.
These guys know what they are doing. Also, I am not a huge fan of just two people handling all of the responsibilities because it takes away from the performance on each instrument. However, Jari and Kai are way talented and handle each instrument with great pride and intelligence. There is nothing lethargic or lagging here. This is Grade A music. A must have! (Online January 20, 2005)