Wintersun – ‘The Forest Seasons’ (Nuclear Blast) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Marc Leach   
Friday, 28 July 2017 04:30

Wintersun - The Forest Seasons artworkWhat’s this? An album that has only FOUR tracks? This will sure be one short and sweet review… oh, wait, this is Finnish metal titans Wintersun's new album? Damn! That’s means I am going to be here all night.


Yes folks, the mighty Wintersun are back following a five-year gap since their sensational ‘Time I’ and a record breaking crowdfunding campaign. Take a step into the Wintersun forest as it evolves from season to season with the grand overlord himself Jari Mäenpää, who is once again charge of this project, showcasing his broad skill all while taking inspiration from Antonio Vivaldi’s ‘The Four Seasons.’


Spring has sprung as ‘Awaken From The Dark Slumber (Spring)’ opens up this record with this joyous track. Yeah sure, Jari is showing off his terrifying screaming skills, but this two-part arrangement helps show off the fresh essence of Spring by the use of a joyful orchestra performance behind the brutal, signature sound that the band are well known for.


As Spring fades into Summer, so does this album move on to this reviewer’s personal favourite track: ‘The Forest That Weeps (Summer)’. Don’t let the acoustic introduction and the Celtic middle section fool you, this 12-minute masterpiece is the largest and most creative piece on the entire album, that echoes influence from Jari’s previous band Ensiferum. The metal choir, consisting of members from the likes of Ensiferum, Turisas and Moonsorrow helping lend their voices to the epic chorus, is the most stand out feature here.


As the leaves begin to fall and the cold starts to creep its way in, the general tone of the album turns darker for ‘Eternal Darkness (Autumn.)’ With blast beats galore and a terrific guitar performance, Jari shows off a Dimmu Borgir-esque style here. Split into four parts, this track tells the story of what is happening in the Wintersun forest as the landscape begins to die, turning apocalyptic colours and the creatures hide away from the oncoming cold.


The forest now a cold and barren wasteland, the album’s finale, ’Loneliness (Winter)’, is a true musical masterpiece. With an icy orchestra in the background, it’s the vocal ability of Jari that once again shines for this piece as he moves from the gritty screaming to an operatic style of singing. Though there is a lack of life during Winter due to the dead plants and the hibernating creatures, the playful guitar work in the middle part helps give the impression of snowflakes dancing with each other as they fall from the heavens to create a white blanket on the ground.


Once again, Mr. Mäenpää has created another body of work that both tells a story throughout and covers a variety of musical styles that were perfect at describing the Planet’s seasons. My only qualm with this album is that to me is that it didn’t sound finished, especially in the drum mix. In many parts (basically where there was an instrumental section) the snare just sounded boxy and awful. That being said, of course this is something that can be easily overlooked by the sheer talent and creativity put in to this album from the heart and soul of the maestro himself.


‘The Forest Seasons’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.


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