The first thing to note about Time I is its brevity. With just five tracks and a running time of around forty minutes, the initial question is what the hell took so long? Well, it’s worth pointing out that, as the title suggests, this is only part one of Time, so a second album will be along shortly.
But more importantly, it took so long because every one of these forty minutes has been lovingly and expertly crafted to create an album of breathtaking spectacle.
Of the five tracks, two are atmospheric musical vignettes crucial to the mood and dynamism of the overall piece, but it’s the three longer tracks that provide the real meat on the bone, and what an absolute feast they are.
“Sons Of Winter And Stars” is a fourteen minute composition of truly epic proportions. Sure, you’ll hear snippets of melodic death, black metal and power metal along the way, but to confine a track like this along such narrow genre lines is idiotic in the extreme, as it owes as much to opera and classical music in the depth and breadth of its vast scope.
“Land Of Snow And Sorrow” and the title track (eight and twelve minutes respectively) complete the album in an equally grandiose fashion, but as overblown as such tracks are, nothing here comes over as indulgent or unnecessary. There is a point and a purpose to everything on Time I that goes beyond individual ego, and like all true art, this transcends its creators to assume a life and identity all of its own.
Finland isn’t exactly short of heavy metal talent – in recent years, the small Scandinavian country has become one of the most fertile breeding grounds of great music – but Wintersun could yet become their best export.
Evocative, magnificent and genuinely moving, Time I says more in forty minutes than some bands manage in an entire career.
(released October 23, 2012 on Nuclear Blast Records)