4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
breathtaking in parts, but generally not my cup of tea,
This review is from: Time I (Audio CD)
Let me start of this review by saying that I have mad respect for Wintersun and the incrediable musical vision and scope of this album, and my heart goes out to the band for pushing the boundaries of the oft stagnant melodic death/extreme power metal scene. Indeed, as many reviewers have already mentioned on this page, Time transcends whatever confines the genre might have set upon it, and has evolved into something of a different beast entirely. However, I would say that in realising its grandiose aspirations, the album sarifices a lot of what fans of Wintersuns now deified debut album was loved for, and, as such, this album might not be everyones cup of tea.
Time is less like a metal album and more like some sort of metal opera. The band turns it's back on such conventions as verses and chorus, with the 'songs' being more like musical movements or arias in an opera. Progression and division are heavily on offer, while repetition is in sparse supply, giving the album a unique feel and one very different from Wintersun's previous album. Also, as we all well know, the album took around a decade to get out simply because mastermind Jari had to wait for technology to catch up with his musical visions. Time is as complex and dense and metal music comes. What seems like millions and millions of overlapped layers of sound, ranging from the traditional metal outfit of guitars and drums to waves of symphonic bombast, surreal choral sections, a plethora of keyboard lines, and what sounds like some traditional Japanese instruments too. The result is some pretty beathtaking stuff that drops into a territory all of its own, seldom travelled by other metal bands. As I mentioned before, the heavily progressive nature of the song structures and the crytically complex nature of the musical arrangements make Time more like the soundtrack to a metallic opera or play then a standard metal album.
From reading the other reviews, it seems that most people have already fallen in love with Time, and I can see why. The album is very a very unique experience, and it is difficult not to appreciate the sheer creative and technical mastery of the musicians in Wintersun, who went to such painstaking efforts forr what seemed like an eternity to complete that album. Hats off to you guys.
However, while I really appreciate this album, at the end of the day I found that it was not my cup of tea. I love a bit of prog in my rock music, anything from Jethro Tull to Absu, but what attracts me most to metal music (and Wintersun's debut album) is mainly heavy metal instrumentation - i.e. the mighty riff. I love riffs, solos guitar harmonies, shredding, complex bass lines and roaring drums, and this is what Time is lacking in. In order to achieve their sublime vision of Time, the guitar has taken a few steps back, and I found it hard to pick out the riffs in the mix. There are some cool solos and some great growling at some parts, but for the most it gets lost in the operatical bombast. As such, I found myself enjoying parts of the album (the beginning of Sonsof Winter and Stars and parts of Time) while finding myself a bit bored for large other portions of the album. I'm not critizicing the band for this, after all its just my personal taste, but even after repeated listens it still hasn't clicked for me.
I'm sure some rapid Wintersun fans will jump all over this review and chastise me for my narrow mindedness in my inability to appreciate this album as much as they can, but let me say it again - I really think that Time is a pretty breath-taking album with a musical scope and vision rarely heared these days. However, with the guitars pushed so far back in the mix and the general absence of memorable hooks, its just not really my cup of tea. Although I am fully open to the possibility that the fault is in the beholder, not what is beheld, if you know where I am coming from.
If you are looking for something along the lines of the first album, may I recommend Embraced by Fire by Wolfchant. It is pretty similar at times and a damn good album too.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 16 Jun 2013 20:29:39 BDT
Really well written review which provides a great break-down of the album and you make a very good point. Also hats off to you for making a point of being able to appreciate and respect something great when it's not your ultimate taste, a point often neglected in reviewing.
In reply to an earlier post on 25 Aug 2013 07:52:51 BDT
Thanks for the comment, mate. Although music taste is ultimately the most subjective of things it doesn't hurt to be a bit objective now and again to recognize the immense talent and attention to detail that went into crafting this album. I'm actually starting to appreciate this more with each listen.
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