Power of Metal.dk Review

Time I
Style: Epic Metal
Release date: 19 October, 2012
Playing time: 40:07

Sometimes, things don’t work out like you’d expect. There are albums that should appeal to me in every way, but they just don’t end up jiving with me for one reason or another. Wintersun’s highly anticipated release “Time I” is just such an album. On paper, this album has everything: soaring symphonic elements, technical drums, virtuoso guitars, and a deeply contemplative concept. However, I find myself coming away from “Time I” with a large amount of disappointment.

Wintersun has certainly crafted some fantastic components, don’t get me wrong. The symphonic elements are truly amazing and fantastic (I can’t stress that enough), and I am truly moved by the philosophical concept that they present: an exploration of human emotion in the context of mortality and the immensity of the universe. These two elements have really floored me, and I can certainly see why many reviewers have praised this album.

Yet, there is so much that is wrong with this album. In fact, I can narrow it down to three basic problems: the vox, the production, and the originality factor. First of all, the vocals are average at best. Throughout the album, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m being yelled at, even though the vox never come off as being particularly powerful or forceful. I think the singer stayed at the top of his range the entire album, and melody and emotion are completely absent in his delivery. Also, the harsh vocals come off as pathetic. They aren’t well done, and I really can’t stand the rasp. Secondly, the production is terrible. This album took eight years to make, and it is claimed that new recording techniques were necessary to capture the awe-inspiring audio. I don’t find this to be the case. The rhythm guitars are barely heard and become nothing more than distracting white noise. The fantastic symphonic elements come with a price as well: It is difficult to hear the lyrics most of the time and the drums fade into the background amid the chaos. I’m not sure what innovative techniques were utilized here, but they didn’t work. Lastly, what good is all this technicality and innovation if there is nothing but standard metal here? The same riffs and ideas are played over and over for this short 40 minute album, and it even gets to the point where I can’t call it progressive anymore for the shear lack of, well, progression. A hundred beats per minute don’t get you anywhere if we’ve heard it all before and we’ve heard it composed and executed better.

Overall, I like this album: I really do. Yet, the hype machine blew this album out of proportion, and I can’t hop on the train for this one. Wintersun crafted some mind-blowing symphonic elements and the concept of the album is truly moving to the core.  Yet, the execution is severely flawed and the composition is lacking.  What should have been the definitive metal album of 2012, or even the decade, has proven itself to be nothing more than a typical, solid metal release without any new musical ideas of its own to show. That’s it.

01. When Time Fades Away
Sons of Winter and Starts
Land of Snow and Sorrow
Darkness and Frost


Label: Nuclear Blast
Distribution: Sony Music (Denmark)
Artwork rating: 95/100
Reviewed by: Jason Spencer
Date: 8 March, 2013
Website: www.wintermadness.net