According to the official Metalscape Wintersun “Time” release date counter, it was 7 years and 20 days since the legendary album was announced until it was finally released. That’s a lot of Time indeed, and as such, a lot was expected.
Wintersun’s debut album “Wintersun” is still one of my favorites to date. Great melodies, solid production and all around fantastic songwriting made every song on that album a classic. It’s one of those albums that stays with you and brings fond memories whenever you hear one of its awesome songs. Which is why the news of a second Wintersun album were received with hysterical euphoria among the 5 people who know what a Wintersun is (Jari Maenpaa included).
It actually grew into some sort of religious watch, as the new album’s release had taken on a deeper meaning for some people, and words like “greatest metal album of all time” and “holy shit” where commonly used to describe the advent of what eventually, on the pinnacle of its hype, was to be acclaimed as the event that would supersede the second coming of Jesus Christ, in the form of a metal record.
Anyway, the album got relased to general internet rave. It took me about a month to actually get the album myself and give it a proper listen. I’m not fond of long ass reviews, so here it is in a nutshell: Meh.
Honestly, the album took so long to make and this is it? I read for years about the insurmountable mountain of technical difficulties that Jari had to deal with on a daily basis in order to record his impossibly grand album, and when I listen to “Time I” (yeah, it was too epic for a single album) I get absolutely no feeling that this was ever a project on the scale that I was led to believe from its creator. I mean sure, everyone talks big about their own makings, but the amount of hype surrounding this album (a good portion of that created by Jari himself) was such that the final product is left astonishingly far away from it.
Flat riffs, almost no melodies, NO FUCKING GUITAR SOLOS, long ass boring songs and uninspired/cliche vocals and lyrics made me think I was on some sort of terrible hallucination or that maybe someone had played a very convincing prank on me. This could not possibly be the new Wintersun album. But it was.
Where are all the extremely intricate orchestrations that devoured more RAM and processing power than CERN’s mainframe computers? I’ll tell you where; They’re buried so fucking deep inside the incredibly stale mix of guitars/drums/vocals/what-the-fuck-was-that-sound for you to hear properly. Ultimately they just sound like someone smoked a joint one afternoon and decided to record some tunes off his CASIO keyboard with the default “strings” patch along Time I’s mp3s. It’s that bad.
Then there’s the guitars. What the shit man. I like Jari’s take on the metal guitar sound. He does this cold sounding thing where the mid and mid-high frequencies are very prominent, with a very bright high end which give off a very metallic and piercing sound, but on this album they just sound like an afterthought. The drums sound like their balls haven’t dropped yet, bass is nowhere to be found and everything else just gets lost constantly in this fucking production train wreck. I can’t decide whether I’m listening to a metal album or a food processor going at full speed that was dropped in a puddle of mud.
Yeah the album sounds bad, but that’s not it really. Some of my favorite albums sound like ass. But I love them because the music in them is fucking good. I can’t say the same for “Time I”. There is not a single song on this album that is memorable in any way. I could hum the entire “Wintersun” album by memory, whereas this one, the only thing I remember is that the intro is sort of oriental sounding. The first time I listened to it bored me to death, and so did the second, and third. In fact, I was listening to it again so I could have a fresh image of it in my head in order to write this, and had to stop it halfway through the second song because otherwise I might fall into a coma and would not be able to finish my review. I then skipped to the second to last song because it is another one of those intros (only this one is kinda like gypsy or some shit), and they are the only cool thing for me from this album. Unfortunately the title song then started and Jari started screaming in obvious pain because of the terrible snare drum and washed out guitars playing in the background. Or foreground. Who knows. The rest of it is a blur of flying crap while someone screams about time “going on” again and again and again, only to end up in some cheesy melody playing in what seemed to be a beat up piano emulator from the 1980s.
I thought “Time I” was going to be metal’s new hope, setting new standards for songwriting and sound, and influencing a new wave of metal music. But that’s not going to happen. Not with this album at least. Because it sucks.