Crafting an intricate blend of death metal, prog, folk and power metal comes Wintersun, the side-project of Ensiferum vocalist, Jari Mäenpää, and has only grown to become the all-encompassing group that they are today. With an album as simple yet complex as ‘The Forest Seasons’ to put the seasons of the year as four different tracks, this is a group who showcase a very progressive vision.
‘Awaken The Dark Slumber (Spring)’ opens with a beautiful piano and a woodland inspired atmosphere with owls over the top. It really does make you feel like you’re going into a forest beside Wintersun. Each member of the band is credited with a season, with this track belonging to Teemu Mäntysaari. Bringing his growls to the forefront works really well, and helps you to fall deep within the world being created. The lyrics seem interesting as it talks dying and being reborn. This seems very in touch with the Earth and gives off the folk element of the band perfectly.
A vision of Summer is crafted with ‘The Forest That Weeps’, starting with a beautiful acoustic guitar section before going into some fast-paced power metal. Drummer Kai Hahto is this cut’s credited member, which makes sense with the song’s very galloping sense of rhythm. This seems to be the band’s calling card to the more happier end of what they want to create, along with using clean vocals as a higher proportion to the rest of the album.
Third track ‘Eternal Darkness (Autumn)’, accredited to Jukka Koskinen, is the most blast beat dense and heaviest song on the album. It makes sense he was chosen to represent the song. The inclusion of a choir is quite extraordinary here, and gives the effect of deep terror and fear, and that a topic of darkness should emit. The song also has the most guttural vocals seen from the entire record and makes for an intense listen to go along with the theme of the album itself. Weirdly, in terms of instrumentation, it acts more as a clean listening piece rather than a ton of distortion going through the sound of the band, leading to the vocals having more of a direct impact.
Concluding the whole thing, ‘Loneliness (Winter)’, which is Jari Mäenpää‘s track, opens with nothing but orchestral music before going into a slow methodical pace, taking you on the final journey the band have planned out.
As a whole body of work, ‘The Forest Seasons’ truly feels like more of a journey than something to listen to here and there casually. Put this record on, switch off, and be transported to Wintersun‘s world of mystery, wonder, and creativity.
Written by Bradley Cassidy (@bradcassidy170)
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.