Wintersun - Wintersun
13 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

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.

This project is full of speed, power, great melodic, long and catchy riffs, incredible solos and sheer beauty of music of a style that was pioneered by Children Of Bodom. But of course this time it's not COB. We have a lots of folk/viking influences all over the place and much more. There are two types of songs you can find, slower, epic ones with long choruses like Sleeping Stars, Death And The Healing or Sadness And Hate - and the faster, technical ones like, Beyond The Dark Sun, Winter Madness, Battle Against Time and Beautiful Death. And all of them have a little touch of progressive in the song structures.
So how does it all feel? Freezing, like being alone in an arctic storm. And all that is accompanied by Jari's excellent vocals and lyrics. Both growls, clean-ones and chants are extremely well done. Lyrics are concentrated mostly on feelings, dreams and things like that Jari experiences (little difference from COB and Ensiferum, especially from COB "extremely philosophical" lyrics, eh? ). Sure it's not something extremely great but it all fits in it incredibly well.

If you play this kind of music you have to be a skilled player no doubt and Jari is certainly skilled. Expect long solos with tons of sweeps. But Wintersun is not only about speed, it's about melody and feelings too. Jari succeeds in this department too. Like Alexi Laiho he can play really fast and melodically at the same time. And Kai? Well, he's a grinder so don't expect him to be afraid to make his instrument reach sonic speeds. On the other hand he knows how to show his "softer" side. Most of the songs are played fast, but it's definitely slower that Kai's ordinary speed.
What about production? Nothing unexpected, it's top-notch. Everything less than "top-notch" would ruin it. Every instrument can be distinguished no problem.

But the best thing about this album is how long it lasts. You can listen to it every day and you still won't have enough. It's an incredible pleasure to sink into Jari's mind again and again and again. Even though you know each song back to back you won't have enough and that's not only my subjective opinion, but it's shared widely among the fans.

So to sum it up: some interesting ideas; catchy, melodic, emotional songs with slightly varied structures, performed by two great musicians and coming with a crystal clear sound. This is surely one of the greatest albums not only in 2004, and definitely deserves a place among the greatest.

Best tracks: Are you joking? Every single one!!!

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 10

Band profile: Wintersun
Album: Wintersun


written by Black_Handed | 07.07.2006

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

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.

published 16.06.2006 | Comments (80)

Guest review by

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.

published 29.12.2006 | Comments (6)

Guest review by

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.

published 21.12.2007 | Comments (29)

Guest review by
Andro Maximus

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.

published 27.07.2014 | Comments (11)


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Revenant - 07.07.2006 at 18:38  
Amazing album, very well reviewed.
Black_Handed - 07.07.2006 at 18:48  
thank you
Degrading Light - 08.07.2006 at 06:29  
I would like to say that your review is very fair and realistic. Great job, its definantly been my favorite album since it came out.
Introspekrieg - 08.07.2006 at 10:18  
Brilliant review, definitely does this album justice. Jari is definitely a musical genius and it shows true in Wintersun. Good job with the write-up, it was a joy to read.
Black_Handed - 08.07.2006 at 10:51  
thanks guyz. glad you like it. i tried to be as objective as i could.
Basso - 08.07.2006 at 13:03  
The first review I see of Wintersun without getting full 10s. I am amazed.
abysss - 09.07.2006 at 23:03  
I can believe in the band info it's written, they play extreme power metal... LOL
vampir - 18.07.2006 at 02:09  
My favorite album too. It will be hard for Wintersun, to hold or top this level.
Savage Messiah - 19.07.2006 at 06:13  
Written by Guest on 18.07.2006 at 02:09

My favorite album too. It will be hard for Wintersun, to hold or top this level.

I agree, and I hope they can pull it off!
Fuckin love this album
PRIMAL FEAR - 19.07.2006 at 10:37  
I've heard and seen people say/write Ensiferum are similar, but this is an entirely different tangent to what Ensiferum did, btw this album isn't exactly flawless, so yes, i believe BH wrote a brilliant review, quite fitting...
Asat0r - 20.07.2006 at 07:55  
Great review, fucking amazing album
Black_Handed - 20.07.2006 at 11:26  
thanks for the comments :X
Bulus - 12.08.2006 at 16:57  
good reviews and great band, great debut in first album
Keoren - 29.11.2006 at 22:53  
Great review - even better album.

I don't dislike any of the songs.
Warman - 24.06.2007 at 14:51  
CoB started the whole Extreme Power Metal thing, Kalmah and Norther took it to the next level. For me it feels like Wintersun has done a great job by experimenting with the genre, Jari mixed it with progressive, folk and even some black stuff... now the genre is a great mix of a lot of genres, very epic.
bluemobiusx - 01.08.2007 at 06:41  
I love this album, a lot of people try to compare it to Ensiferum just because Jari was in that band too. But that is stupid. Jari wrote this music for a project other than Ensiferum, meaning its not supposed to sound or be like Ensiferum. This album, imo, has far more complex music and song writing than on any Ensiferum album. When I put this album on, I want to be alone and undistracted because each song flows beautifully with the next and takes you on a musical journey. I can't wait for the next album.
Lucas - 05.08.2007 at 03:59  
Written by abysss on 09.07.2006 at 23:03

I can believe in the band info it's written, they play extreme power metal... LOL

Why can't you believe that?
abysss - 21.10.2007 at 23:50  
Cause they seem more like melodic death/black metal with symphonic parts or something like that to me...
I don't know about extreme metal, but the name sounds like Metal-HC to me

PS: I can't wait for the new album, I really cant, I waited a long time and I still have to wait, but I'm sure it will be worth every day of my waiting. As I'm sure it's the same for most of us Wintersun fans.
Doc Godin - 07.11.2007 at 05:59  
Well, I guess this review is slightly more fair than the other ones, but I still think this is a gross exaggeration, still too high of a rating.
Ellrohir - 23.08.2009 at 19:02  
I would award this album with 8.7...four songs are real killers for me, four are good, but not great, at least for now and my current music taste
Smurfophagist - 30.08.2009 at 23:22  
I dunno...it's one of those albums you can always come back to...I've been through many genres since I listened Wintersun for the first time, but i still deeply respect this album...
Black_Handed - 30.08.2009 at 23:42  
Even today i wouldnt do any great changes my review. true, although as the time went by i found even better stuff, so rating them in such a small interval left wouldnt do well. nowadays this album would get like 8.5 (which is still VERY high). originality would go a bit lower, like 6 id say and songwriting to 8, and some stylistical changes to the text, but thats just about it.
Panterica - 15.07.2010 at 16:29  
It seems everyone worship this album, I gotta check it out!
Wes - 15.11.2010 at 07:29  
Originality - 10

i don't know any band like Wintersun. COB is nothing like Wintersun. The whole reason Wintersun is popular is because its a genre breaker.
vezzy - 15.11.2010 at 15:25  
Written by Wes on 15.11.2010 at 07:29

Originality - 10

i don't know any band like Wintersun. COB is nothing like Wintersun. The whole reason Wintersun is popular is because its a genre breaker.

That's weird. I always thought it was because it features an ex-Ensiferum member.
Bad English - 26.11.2016 at 01:56  
So how does it all feel? Freezing, like being alone in an arctic storm

I don't even think you know real meaning of that sentence

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