The Forest Seasons - Wintersun

Artist: Wintersun

Album: The Forest Seasons

Genre: Epic Metal

Review by Tomina Vincent

I scraped myself off the floor after hearing Wintersun's 'The Forest Seasons' today. I really must thank Nuclear Blast for giving me the opportunity to review this record. I was so pleasantly surprised. Wintersun's latest offering is just as epic as you'd expect. It has an otherworldly quality that is both cinematic and accessible.

The album is divided into four parts, Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Perhaps rightly so, the songs perfectly reflect the sentiment of each season sonically.

Its difficult to talk about this album by reviewing each song individually. Each track weighing in at a minimum of 12 minutes, the songs seem to me like the parts of a symphonic metal opera. As a whole, the record is cohesive, exciting and beautifully produced. There are strong gothic, folk and heavy metal influences heard here - combining a sense of creativity and innovation with the familiarity of bands like Eliveitie, Blind Guardian and perhaps Turisas, while remaining just that little bit different and unique.

The scale and complexity of the arrangements, the lush choirs, strings and synths, the driving and uplifting melodies, remind me of Devin Townsend in their approach - there is a lot going on, but everything sits at the right volume and intensity. There is a distinct style presented here, and it is delivered with confidence and sincerity. Nothing is ever out of place at any point. Verses, choruses, interludes and outro's flow together so seamlessly that its difficult to distinguish when one song ends and another begins, which makes this record sound more like a soundtrack than an album.

My personal favourite on the album is track 3 - 'Eternal Darkness (Autumn)'. Imagine Cradle of Filth decided to jam with Nightwish and threw a choir into the mix. The song also features some of the heaviest vocals on the album, and some of the most beautiful guitar riffs. The band then take their bow with the slow and brooding 'Loneliness (Winter)'. I hear a great resemblance with Pain Of Salvation with this track, but also much heavier influences. Its almost like a progressive rock power ballad mixed with melodic black metal, if there is such a thing. And if there isn't, Wintersun made it happen.

Wintersun have created a mammoth of a record. You will hear cello's, choirs, black metal, folk metal, and everything in between, as well as beautiful displays of musicianship and skill, particularly in the rhythm section and vocals. This is an opus, a journey, and by far the most pleasant hour of music I've heard lately.

9 out of 10 stars.

Listen to the track 'Awaken From The Dark Slumber (Spring)' below:

Forest Seasons is out now via Nuclear Blast Records.

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