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Album Reviews : Wintersun – The Forest Seasons

By on July 14, 2017

Jari Mäenpää has never been one without controversy, and amidst the constant speculations of when we would ever hear Wintersun’s infamous ‘Time II’, Jari was off cooking something entirely different – thus leaving us with ‘The Forest Seasons’.

‘The Forest Seasons’ will sit as Wintersun’s third full-length album in almost 14 years and consists of four tracks, each representing one of the four seasons – spring, summer, autumn and winter.

First things first let’s get one thing straight, Jari Mäenpää is a genius. I’m not sure there’s any other way to describe it. The way he structures and layers his songs is something incredibly beautiful, and is evident throughout this album.

Awaken from the Dark Slumber (Spring) is the opening track on this album, and it doesn’t take long to get into gear. The brutality of Jari’s vocals are mixed finely between a plethora of riffs, and constant changes of pace that will not fail to keep your attention.

Wintersun is the kind of band that can have you frozen in awe one second – and headbanging uncontrollably only seconds later. This album has the perfect mix of beauty and heaviness, which spurs from the layers of choirs and orchestral arrangements over absolutely bone-crunching riffs.

The Forest that Weeps (Summer) is the second track, and a personal highlight for mine. This track is Wintersun in its purest form: heavy melodic riffs intertwined with catchy vocal lines and ‘that riff’ that we’ve all been teased with for the past few months finally comes to life, and the result is astounding.

Things take a dark turn in the third track, Eternal Darkness (Autumn), which gives off somewhat of a black metal vibe, but done in the way that only Jari can – melodic and extreme with a sense of pure atmosphere. This track shows the real diversity of Wintersun, with a faster pace and a brutal barrage of blast beasts, at times you can find yourself lost in the wall of sound.

The final track on this album is Loneliness (Winter) and is quite ironic that it represents winter, as this entire track will leave you with chills. Wintersun has always possessed the ability to create beautiful music, and this follows in the vein of ‘death and the healing’, or ‘land of snow and sorrow’ – tracks that despite their softer nature, possess dark and solemn undertones. ‘Loneliness’ is such a powerful track, led by Jari’s ever improving vocal work, and guided by the sheer sombre nature of both the musicianship and lyrics.

The Forest Seasons ticks all the boxes you’d expect. The guitar work is sublime, the tracks are structured perfectly, and you can’t underestimate the amount of raw emotion put into this album. Each song has its own vibe, from the upbeat summer track, to the slow, doomy winter track, but the album still manages to flow. Jari Mäenpää is quite clearly an incredibly skilled songwriter, and has extremely talented musicians by his side. There is really no fault to this album, a current contender for album of the year and I don’t see that changing over time.

Band: Wintersun
Album: The Forest Seasons
Year: 2017
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Label:  Nuclear Blast Records
Origin: Finland