If you haven’t encountered Wintersun before, then prepare yourself for some transcendental music – this is a combination of symphonic/melodic black/death metal, forged into long songs of epic proportions.
The band have incorporated folk and exotic influences into these tracks, in addition to the types of rich melodies and sumptuous orchestral arrangements that you might expect. This is still a band that are essentially playing extreme metal though, so you should also expect a decent helping of darkness and blackened bite on the release too, with aggression and grim screams still having a firm presence.
The orchestral and symphonic elements of Wintersun’s sound are omnipresent and lusciously performed. This adds a great deal of depth to the songs, which already have a lot of involving and substantial content to attract the listener’s attention, even if it wasn’t for these orchestral enhancements covering almost every second of material here.
Across these four sprawling tracks the band weave all of the above elements and more into a rich tapestry of extremely high quality. This makes for a listening experience that’s not only varied and packed with engaging content, but one that’s extremely enjoyable and surprisingly easy to take to; these may be long, epic songs, but they’re more infectious and compelling than you might imagine.
The vocals are diverse and well-performed, with everything from harsh screams, to deep growls, to clean vocals, to immense choirs being used across the playing time. For the most part, (the largest exception being the final track), the main delivery revolves around the central blackened screams, which anchor everything else and are performed with inherent charisma. Ultimately, the appropriate vocal style is used for whatever mood or feeling is necessary at any given time.
Each of these songs has its own identity and feeling, as is the band’s clear intention. Each track is based on an individual season and is therefore designed to evoke different feelings in the listener, transporting them to Wintersun’s world with all of the delights and wonders, as well as dangers, that this entails. Theirs is a very layered and immersive sound, and it’s easy to get lost in the music that the band has crafted.
With their third album Wintersun have produced a collection of mighty songs that they can be proud of. The Forest Seasons is a huge and ambitious release, one which, for the most part, has been pulled off with style by a very talented band. Although it’s not perfect, it’s still a really enjoyable release that I look forward to getting to know even better over time.
Take a journey into the forest with Wintersun, you certainly won’t regret it.