Wintersun - Wintersun review



Reviewer:
10

1506 users:
8.94
Band: Wintersun
Album: Wintersun
Release date: September 2004


Disc I
01. Beyond The Dark Sun
02. Winter Madness
03. Sleeping Stars
04. Battle Against Time
05. Death And The Healing
06. Starchild
07. Beautiful Death
08. Sadness And Hate
09. Winter Madness [demo] [Japanese bonus]
10. Beyond The Dark Sun [demo] [Japanese bonus]
11. Death And The Healing [demo] [Japanese bonus]

Disc II [Live At Summer Breeze 2005 DVD] [2006 Special Tour Edition re-release bonus]
01. Beyond The Dark Sun
02. Battle Against Time
03. Sleeping Stars
04. Beautiful Death
05. Death And The Healing
06. Winter Madness


Those readers who are familiar with the history of folk/power-metallers Ensiferum will doubtless be familiar with the history of Wintersun (i.e. that after walking out on Ensiferum, main man Jari Maënpäa formed the latter as a solo project). Speculation was rife in melodic metal circles - expectations for 'Wintersun' were largely high, though some suspected that Wintersun would be little more than Ensiferum Pt.II. In spite of the various similarities between this release and those of Maënpäa's former band (and make no mistake- they do exist), 'Wintersun' is very much an exceptional album, and will be reviewed as such.

Along with writing all music and lyrics, Maënpäa has taken it upon himself to play all guitar parts, keys and unleashes the vocal powerhouse with which listeners were teased in Ensiferum. Maënpäa is joined in this sonic sublimation by Rotten Sound drummer Kai Hahto, who lends to the album a deservedly intense and passionate rhythmic backbone.

The combination of the two is nothing short of breath-taking. By bringing together the best elements of folk, power, prog and extreme metal, Wintersun takes the listener on a remarkable journey covering a huge musical spectrum while maintaining a distinctive and exciting sound. Opening track "Beyond the Dark Sun" acts as short, fast slap in the face - grabbing the listener by the balls and warning them to get ready for a soulful and aggressive 54 minutes. Songs such as "Winter Madness," "Battle Against Time," and "Starchild" perpetuate this sorrowful, though energetic vibe by mixing the expectedly flashy, impressive guitar-playing of Maënpäa with some truly astounding drumming from valuable recruit Hahto. As a guitarist myself, the guitar-playing on an album is of vital importance to me - if the pyrotechnics fizzle, my interest fades. With this in mind, let it be said that if Angus Young is TNT, then listening to 'Wintersun' is an apocalyptic barrage of H-bombs. Maënpäa's leads mix soul and shred in ways that the competition can only dream of, while his rhythm playing is aggressive, beautiful, immaculate. Time for the Starchild to take over from the Wildchild, if I may be so bold as to say so…

Such songs (the fast ones, that is) are complemented beautifully by the several majestic and emotive masterpieces that adorn "Wintersun." As "Death and the Healing" and the epic "Sadness and Hate" illustrate, Maënpäa manages to craft mind-blowing songs at practically any tempo - reflecting his undeniable songwriting expertise perfectly.

Production of the album is just as compelling as its musicianship. Everything is crystal-clear, with each instrument mixed masterfully. The engineering and production (no prizes for guessing who produced it…) is invaluable in the creation of the album's strong and cold ("wintery" even) atmosphere.

The generally melancholic and introspective feel of the album (both lyrically and musically) is further augmented by the wonderful album art (courtesy of Kristian Wahlin). The snow that dominates the scene is oppressive and foreboding, though light breaks through ever-so-slightly, as it does in the music.

In summary, all aspects of this album (from the overlooked to the essential) complement each other and create a cohesive whole that provides the listener with an experience to be very much treasured. I feel privileged to have this album - it truly feels like a gift from Jari Maënpäa to the metal world. There is no way that I can give 'Wintersun' anything other than a perfect 10.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Production: 10

Written by Hyvaarin | 16.06.2006


 


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Guest review by
Black_Handed
Rating:
9.4
Ok, just to make it clear right at the beginning, I absolutely love/adore/worship (choose preferred term) this album. And I'm not alone, just check the number of fans in "Featured bands" section. So reviewing this album comes with great responsibility.
Jari Mäenpää started as a part of Ensiferum. Great black folk metal band if you'd ask me. So why did he leave? He came up with some interesting not-so-Ensiferum-like ideas. So he started his own project with drummer Kai Hahto of Rotten Sound grinders. But where are the others? Where are synth, bass, second guitar players we can hear in there? Well by the time Wintersun was recorded Jari Mäenpää did everything except drums. Yes, everything except drums. Later on Jukka Koskinken of Norther and Teemu Mäntysaari joined to finish the lineup.

Read more ››
published 07.07.2006 | Comments (26)

Guest review by
Talvi
Rating:
9.2
Wintersun is the band Jari Mäenpää started after leaving Ensiferum. Some people dispise this band because they compare it to Ensiferum and say it's worse. Big mistake. This probably isn't as bombastic and catchy as Ensiferum, of course, but, what is Wintersun?

I've seen them labelled as Melodic Death Metal, as well as Extreme Power Metal. The first thing that comes to my mind though, is Children Of Bodom. But Children Of Bodom they are not. They play somewhat epic, almost progressive Melodic Death/Black Metal with Folk influences. You may see it as less Folk-like, as only some riffs have Folk qualities, but more aggressive and complex Ensiferum. It's far more than just that however.

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published 29.12.2006 | Comments (6)

Guest review by
RhaegarTargaryen
Rating:
10
When in 2004 Jari Mäenpää left Ensiferum, few people could imagine what impact that would leave on the metal community. Ensiferum got on pretty we'll, but what Jari did with his new band Wintersun was something quite unexpected. There are only few albums that deserve this kind of praise and hype, but I think this one is one of them.

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published 21.12.2007 | Comments (29)

Guest review by
Andro Maximus
Rating:
7.5
A most beautiful melancholic album cover, fast sweeping guitar solos, some fantastic melodies, and an epic, if slightly overproduced soundscape - Wintersun's debut album is clearly the result of a lot of passion and hard work and is obviously intended to be a monumental album. It is a shame then, that with so much going for it, Wintersun falls short of being the masterpiece that it is intended to be.

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published 27.07.2014 | Comments (11)


Comments page 3 / 3

Comments: 80   Visited by: 401 users
12.03.2008 - 00:26
bluemobiusx
Account deleted
Written by Clintagräm on 11.03.2008 at 21:06

Written by Guest on 11.03.2008 at 20:57

I just don't think you are in any place to be judging the songwriting on this album as lukewarm, uninspired, stale, etc. If you don't like the genre then don't judge the music in it. When brewers bring their beers to compete against other brewers, the judges panel is not going to be made up of people who dislike beer. If one appreciates the album cool, but if one doesn't, doesn't even like the bands in the genre, then why say anything at all, stop wasting your time here. I would understand your comments more perhaps if you were a fan of extreme power metal, but the fact that you find most bands within the genre lukewarm, uninspired, etc tells me you aren't. I'm not a big fan of Dream Theater, but I'm not going to go say their music is uninspired when a lot of other people seem to enjoy it and just because I'm not a fan of it. Why waste your time here bashing this stuff, when you could be commenting about the good stuff or doing something more positive.


Because it's a genre of the music (that is, Metal) that I enjoy very much. I enjoy Power Metal, I enjoy Extreme Metal. You're obviously bent out of shape that I don't enjoy this album. And for the last time, I'm not bashing it. I enjoy it to a degree, just as I might enjoy Dragonforce, but in the long run it does nothing for me. If I'm not "allowed" to have an opinion on this music, then no one anywhere could have an opinion on anything. You don't need a degree in theory to judge music. You just need to get a grip and just accept it. Damn man. It's just music, deal with it.


First of all you need to calm down. I'm not angry, attacking you, or anything like that, I'm calmly stating my opinion over the matter at hand. First, being a power metal fan and an extreme (Death, Black, Thrash) metal fan doesn't make you an extreme power metal fan. Extreme power metal is it's own genre within metal. You said it yourself, "Well, it's of my personal opinion that everything I've heard from this genre (CoB, Norther, Kalmah) is all lukewarm." So why bother. Sure, as Harmonic says, you have the right to post here, but why? It just seems a waste of effort. If I were to dislike folk metal because i thought of it as all uninspired and lukewarm, I'm not going to go into each band's album reviews and complain. I'm not saying you can't, i just don't understand your motive.
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12.03.2008 - 01:11
Clintagräm
Junkyard God
Written by Guest on 12.03.2008 at 00:26

First of all you need to calm down. I'm not angry, attacking you, or anything like that, I'm calmly stating my opinion over the matter at hand. First, being a power metal fan and an extreme (Death, Black, Thrash) metal fan doesn't make you an extreme power metal fan. Extreme power metal is it's own genre within metal. You said it yourself, "Well, it's of my personal opinion that everything I've heard from this genre (CoB, Norther, Kalmah) is all lukewarm." So why bother. Sure, as Harmonic says, you have the right to post here, but why? It just seems a waste of effort. If I were to dislike folk metal because i thought of it as all uninspired and lukewarm, I'm not going to go into each band's album reviews and complain. I'm not saying you can't, i just don't understand your motive.


Calm down? I'm not the one with the aggressive attitude or vulgarity, but whatever man. I posted because I wanted to voice my opinion, that's what people do on forums. I like to debate, but obviously some people can't handle it. Peace.
----
The force will be with you, always.
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12.03.2008 - 05:34
bluemobiusx
Account deleted
Written by Clintagräm on 12.03.2008 at 01:11

Written by Guest on 12.03.2008 at 00:26

First of all you need to calm down. I'm not angry, attacking you, or anything like that, I'm calmly stating my opinion over the matter at hand. First, being a power metal fan and an extreme (Death, Black, Thrash) metal fan doesn't make you an extreme power metal fan. Extreme power metal is it's own genre within metal. You said it yourself, "Well, it's of my personal opinion that everything I've heard from this genre (CoB, Norther, Kalmah) is all lukewarm." So why bother. Sure, as Harmonic says, you have the right to post here, but why? It just seems a waste of effort. If I were to dislike folk metal because i thought of it as all uninspired and lukewarm, I'm not going to go into each band's album reviews and complain. I'm not saying you can't, i just don't understand your motive.


Calm down? I'm not the one with the aggressive attitude or vulgarity, but whatever man. I posted because I wanted to voice my opinion, that's what people do on forums. I like to debate, but obviously some people can't handle it. Peace.


I'm sorry, I like to debate, and I can handle it. I would like for you to point out these vulgarities? I don't see them, or aggressive attitude. I believe I have been defending not aggressing. I see your comments as aggressive and vulgar: "I like to debate, but obviously some people can't handle it." "You just need to get a grip and just accept it. Damn man. It's just music, deal with it." See what I mean, you don't actually address my arguments, such as your lack of like for the whole genre itself, you just attack me and say I'm wrong for even debating. If you really like to debate, give me an argument about what I'm arguing about, don't attack my character.
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12.03.2008 - 06:08
Clintagräm
Junkyard God
Written by Guest on 12.03.2008 at 05:34

I'm sorry, I like to debate, and I can handle it. I would like for you to point out these vulgarities? I don't see them, or aggressive attitude. I believe I have been defending not aggressing. I see your comments as aggressive and vulgar: "I like to debate, but obviously some people can't handle it." "You just need to get a grip and just accept it. Damn man. It's just music, deal with it." See what I mean, you don't actually address my arguments, such as your lack of like for the whole genre itself, you just attack me and say I'm wrong for even debating. If you really like to debate, give me an argument about what I'm arguing about, don't attack my character.


I was referring to your use of curse words as vulgarity, but I could care less now. Whether or not you'll admit it, you're upset because I don't like this album. Ignore this comment or refute it, I'll hold my opinion nonetheless. And I in no way said you were "wrong for debating" I just merely said you couldn't handle it. If I remember correctly it was you who said "I just don't think you are in any place to be judging the songwriting on this album as lukewarm, uninspired, stale, etc." and "If you don't like the genre then don't judge the music in it." and "...stop wasting your time here." So who's claiming what again? Yeah...

But let's ignore "our" shortcomings by defaming each other's character and move on to the music. Even though I am not a fan of the genre by any means, that doesn't mean I can't enjoy it. My largest exposure has been to Children of Bodom, and I enjoy their earlier albums, but felt I wasted my money when I saw them live, twice. Bad on my part. Perhaps this is my ignorance of the genre, but I personally find bands like Norther and Kalmah to be clones. Perhaps I'll devote more time to listening to them and seeing this difference, if it does indeed exist.

However onto Wintersun. It is of my opinion that while this music is technically impressive, I find the overall "songwriting" or "compositional" aspects of the music to be dull, uninspired, stale, lukewarm, or whatever other definition you can come up with. These adjectives all relate to my interpretation of music that holds no "emotion" for me. It applies to many genres of music and many bands within those genres, many of which I enjoy. Hell, most of my favorite bands hold within their discography songs or even entire albums which I find to be deserving of the aforementioned adjectives. Does this mean they aren't talented? No, of course not. But to me, it means that they just didn't write music that appealed to my personal tastes, and that's what it comes down to. Am I saying that Jari will never write something that I'll like? Of course not. I enjoy Wintersun a bit from time to time, but it has no lasting affect on me like Dream Theater does, or Blind Guardian, or Ulver, or Dead Can Dance, or The Last Emperor or anything other artist(s) from across the span of music. Any questions?
----
The force will be with you, always.
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28.03.2008 - 07:53
bluemobiusx
Account deleted
Written by Clintagräm on 12.03.2008 at 06:08

Written by Guest on 12.03.2008 at 05:34

I'm sorry, I like to debate, and I can handle it. I would like for you to point out these vulgarities? I don't see them, or aggressive attitude. I believe I have been defending not aggressing. I see your comments as aggressive and vulgar: "I like to debate, but obviously some people can't handle it." "You just need to get a grip and just accept it. Damn man. It's just music, deal with it." See what I mean, you don't actually address my arguments, such as your lack of like for the whole genre itself, you just attack me and say I'm wrong for even debating. If you really like to debate, give me an argument about what I'm arguing about, don't attack my character.


I was referring to your use of curse words as vulgarity, but I could care less now. Whether or not you'll admit it, you're upset because I don't like this album. Ignore this comment or refute it, I'll hold my opinion nonetheless. And I in no way said you were "wrong for debating" I just merely said you couldn't handle it. If I remember correctly it was you who said "I just don't think you are in any place to be judging the songwriting on this album as lukewarm, uninspired, stale, etc." and "If you don't like the genre then don't judge the music in it." and "...stop wasting your time here." So who's claiming what again? Yeah...

But let's ignore "our" shortcomings by defaming each other's character and move on to the music. Even though I am not a fan of the genre by any means, that doesn't mean I can't enjoy it. My largest exposure has been to Children of Bodom, and I enjoy their earlier albums, but felt I wasted my money when I saw them live, twice. Bad on my part. Perhaps this is my ignorance of the genre, but I personally find bands like Norther and Kalmah to be clones. Perhaps I'll devote more time to listening to them and seeing this difference, if it does indeed exist.

However onto Wintersun. It is of my opinion that while this music is technically impressive, I find the overall "songwriting" or "compositional" aspects of the music to be dull, uninspired, stale, lukewarm, or whatever other definition you can come up with. These adjectives all relate to my interpretation of music that holds no "emotion" for me. It applies to many genres of music and many bands within those genres, many of which I enjoy. Hell, most of my favorite bands hold within their discography songs or even entire albums which I find to be deserving of the aforementioned adjectives. Does this mean they aren't talented? No, of course not. But to me, it means that they just didn't write music that appealed to my personal tastes, and that's what it comes down to. Am I saying that Jari will never write something that I'll like? Of course not. I enjoy Wintersun a bit from time to time, but it has no lasting affect on me like Dream Theater does, or Blind Guardian, or Ulver, or Dead Can Dance, or The Last Emperor or anything other artist(s) from across the span of music. Any questions?


I find a lack of curse words in my previous posts. You must be making things up now. Anyway, I will disagree that the songs are unispired because A) I think it is very interesting that the song ideas, lyrically, come from Jari's dreams, hallucinations, and deep thoughts. To me, that is original. It's not like he saw something on a movie or in a book and said hey that sounds like good song material. No, he has some original lyrics. B) And while the music is technical perhaps skill wise, Jari has not much training in time signatures, key signatures, etc. So while a very skilled player he is mostly writing the stuff blindly. Here is a quote from Kai "jari is a very child of nature when it comes writing music. Sometimes he writes stuff and doesn´t even know what is the time signature.
i remember on the new album there´s one part that had crazy double stereo guitar riff.and i was like like wtf is this and he said i don´t know.
so i had to write it down to play in unison with the guitars.
so the time signature was 10/4 and jari just did it.
that´s the way he makes music.not in a theoretical way but straight from the heart."

I feel Jari's emotion come out in each song, whether it be anger, sadness, or something beyond those simple emotions. The music touches me. Sorry it took me so long to reply. A lot has been going on lately. Spring break, work, exams, etc. Cheers.
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28.03.2008 - 10:01
Clintagräm
Junkyard God
Written by Guest on 28.03.2008 at 07:53

I feel Jari's emotion come out in each song, whether it be anger, sadness, or something beyond those simple emotions. The music touches me. Sorry it took me so long to reply. A lot has been going on lately. Spring break, work, exams, etc. Cheers.


I got you man. Let's just be glad we enjoy Metal as a whole. Perhaps in the future Wintersun will click for me. I have a knack for liking bands.
----
The force will be with you, always.
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08.10.2008 - 00:02
Powerslavex
Alexskywalker
Jari Maënpäa a true artist he was the driving force behind ensferium and he's pulled it of once again wintersun a classic 10 without a doubt sleeping stars a on of a kind:maniac:
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03.01.2009 - 14:51
Kurimus
Btw, it's Jari Mäenpää not Maënpäa.
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Bend the illusion that is humanity.
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23.01.2009 - 21:34
The Shape 1973
I so wish that i was in to growls, as this album sounds amazing, but i just can not get in to growls, the instrumentals are fantastic and it creates a real atmosphere. Damn my power metal ears.
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RIP NFFC
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23.08.2009 - 11:56
Malaghost
Well, what to say... From my point of view this is highly overrated album, I think listener must be caught by something special from the very first hearing. There are many albums which need multiple listenings to full understanding, but music should be at first about music itself, not about lyrics and all backround leading to final result. This album is only good, as well as many others, but I just didn't find here the "thing" which would make this one the best of all. I don't know... may be there is some mass effect, causing when people see best power album, they automatically give a 10 of 10. C'mon.. There are many more better pieces, than this sympathic winter sun from Finland...
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23.08.2009 - 19:00
Ellrohir
Heaven Knight
I wouldnt rate it 10 either, but it is really good album
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So behold the flight of the sapphire dragon
soaring through the skies once again


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05.09.2009 - 11:15
wormdrink414
Wintersun is, despite Jari's now predictable (though undoubtedly reasonable and perhaps necessary) flakiness, the most exciting and remarkable metal bands around. I do not doubt that Time will be magnificent. The comparison to Bodom is an obvious one and, with regards to that comparison, I pray to the metal gods that Jari does not fall victim to fame and financial success, and release an "Are You Dead Yet?". Then again it is hard to be pessimistic regarding the future of Wintersun, they are too good to be too good to be true.
Great
review by the way.
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06.09.2009 - 00:09
Ellrohir
Heaven Knight
Well you should pray metal gods if Jari ever would release something new...
----
So behold the flight of the sapphire dragon
soaring through the skies once again


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02.01.2010 - 04:04
Uirapuru
Liver Failure
I could never expose how much this band looks overrated to me like Clint W. did.

I had a good time reading your posts. And share your opinion.
----

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member of the true crusade against old school heavy metal, early 80s thrash, NWOBHM, traditional doom, first and second wave black metal, old school death metal, US power metal, 70s prog rock and atmospheric doomsludgestoner. o/
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08.01.2010 - 00:42
Clintagräm
Junkyard God
Written by Uirapuru on 02.01.2010 at 04:04

I could never expose how much this band looks overrated to me like Clint W. did.

I had a good time reading your posts. And share your opinion.


Kind of ironic because I just thought I'd give the band another try and came back to this board and read some stuff. I'm glad you're agreeing with me, but you're right, all that stuff we argue about is silly. However, I feel the same about this band and album as I did before. If anything, I think I enjoy it a little bit more than I did, but not enough to call it a great album. For the current rating system, I'd give it a 6/7 for average/good. Maybe if and when the new album is released I'll like that more.
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The force will be with you, always.
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08.01.2010 - 01:03
Uirapuru
Liver Failure
Written by Clintagräm on 08.01.2010 at 00:42

Written by Uirapuru on 02.01.2010 at 04:04

I could never expose how much this band looks overrated to me like Clint W. did.

I had a good time reading your posts. And share your opinion.


Kind of ironic because I just thought I'd give the band another try and came back to this board and read some stuff. I'm glad you're agreeing with me, but you're right, all that stuff we argue about is silly. However, I feel the same about this band and album as I did before. If anything, I think I enjoy it a little bit more than I did, but not enough to call it a great album. For to current rating system, I'd give it a 6/7 for average/good. Maybe if and when the new album is released I'll like that more.


And its perfectly clear. The problem is not even the album, its the agressive treatment to negative opinions and the constant immoderate praise to the this average/good work.

I already gave up on trying to truly enjoy this album as first class work. But I have to confess that the constant sucking on Jari's ass made me listen to this album with some prejudice, and I ended up with a trend to dislike it.

Still... after months of trying... Wintersun is nothing more than good to me
----

----
member of the true crusade against old school heavy metal, early 80s thrash, NWOBHM, traditional doom, first and second wave black metal, old school death metal, US power metal, 70s prog rock and atmospheric doomsludgestoner. o/
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10.02.2011 - 23:38
@gent_-_orange
This album was quite good, But i was expecting more from it, still has its moments though.
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Alone he sits, A vanquished Lord upon an oaken throne, presiding o'er this conflict that chills him to the bone, for each tarnished blade that festers is a thorn thrust in his side and his pain alone bears witness to the folly of mankind.
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11.02.2011 - 00:25
beyondtehdarksun
Indeed, it has its moments... 54 minutes of them

Took me quite a lot of listens to realize it, though.
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"We are blind to the world within us, waiting to be born"
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03.03.2011 - 02:04
necrovamp
Brilliant album, i'd give it 8/9, but the 'band' as a whole are stupidly overated and the fanboys put me off them
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'I'd rather die than go to heaven' - Murderface
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26.11.2016 - 01:54
Bad English
Masterchief
I will say this band is better as Ensifreum !!!
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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