Wintersun - Time I

Time I
Nuclear Blast
Well, I’m sure that 8 years in the pipeline were more than enough for the band’s fans. The recording sessions may have started in 2007 but it was not until the summer of 2012 that the whole album was finally finished. Can you imagine what it means to write, record, mix & produce an album for almost 5 years? Surely, Jari & the other members too had the time of their life. “Time I” came to be longer than they thought it could be, so they split it in two parts… “Time I”, which is out already and “Time II”, which will be released sometime in 2013.
The trailers the band and the label were releasing every now & then just to warm up the fans have actually enthused the majority of them. It was clear enough that this album was going to be majestic, epic & symphonic. They did reduce the extreme elements they had in the past; they kept the heavy/power contextual and gave more emphasis to the orchestral elements and the grand choirs. It’s true that “Time I” is a very ambitious effort on behalf of the band… an aspiring effort that cost a lot in time & money.
The reaction of the fans mostly has, for the most part, been rather varied so far. I cannot guess what some of them had in mind for this album but as always, it’s impossible to please all the fans with a specific work no matter how good it is. Some were fantasizing of a debut-like album and others were shocked to see the band entering new music fields. I do not see why the band should have released an album similar to the debut… if you want something like that, then simply go listen to the homonymous debut. It was more than clear that Wintersun were evolving through the years and wanted to deliver something more motivated, diverse and imposing in the end. Did they succeed it at long last? Well, without offering something groundbreaking or pioneering they did so in a way.
“Time I” has some incredible orchestrations… the band must have spent lots of hours recording and arranging each one of the songs so as to get the desired outcome. You can listen to many instruments at the back of each song, the atmosphere is quite majestic throughout the album and there’s quite a musical variety diffuse all over. The drawback is that the metal side is taken a tad back and the album does not have the proper power that a metal album should have. They probably gave more attention to the orchestral side. “Time I” could have been one song divided in 5 parts, instead of 5 tracks but either way the listening process, when it is done with attentiveness, is rather amusing and pleasurable. Under no circumstances is this a bad or boring album… but also not an extraordinaire one on top.
Every so often I think it’s too overloaded with needless music patches so as to be more magnificent and pompous… it kinda adds but also steals some of its musical allure. I would like it to be more metallic and less “plastic”, at times, if I were to say such a thing. Besides, the folk and the Japanese passages are a good addition. The production is also very clear & superb but not quite punchy and dynamic, for a metal album, as I’ve already said. Assuredly, the long tracks and the progressive nature of the album need somewhat repeated listens and time for a person to delve into it. I wonder what “Time II” will be like… more than a sequence of ‘Time I” with the same atmosphere and songs alike? Something slightly varied? We’ll see in a few months… till then, you can indeed enjoy “Time I”…