One of the things about being asked to review albums- apart from it being, on the whole, a massive and undeniable privilege- is that you’re asked to review records that aren’t always your cup of tea. This is an interesting dilemma because on the one hand, you don’t want to diss the artist/record label who have, on the whole, spent a great deal of time effort and expense getting their product/art out there. On the other, you want to be true to yourself and the people that read your website about what you really think of something, rather than simply delivering a PR powder puff piece. It’s a tricky one to pull off and one doesn’t always succeed.
As you will have gathered by now, I have spent a lot this review avoiding actually talking about this record from Finnish symphonic metallers Wintersun for a couple of reasons. First, and genuinely, I’m no internet troll and I don’t want to offend the artists or their many numerous fans who probably will think that this record is an “epic masterpiece” or some such lazy epithet. It’s quite clear that Wintersun have a devoted following and, if my cursory glance at reviews elsewhere are anything to go by, then Time 1 – the first part of a two part album-will doubtless cement that following.
However (and you should look away now if you’re a fan) there is something distinctly odd about this record. I can’t work out whether it’s the sheer absurdity of the entire edifice; the overblown pomposity of the musical effort; the nonsense of the lyrics, the risible bombast. This is a record that is so awash in its own sense of self importance and so caught up in how clever it thinks it is, that you want to applaud the chutzpah whilst reeling at just how nonsensical it all is.
As you might have guessed, I don’t like it. I’m sure loads of you will disagree. I’m sure lots of people are going to tell me that I should credit them with packing more into the forty minutes of this record than some bands pack in to an entire career. They might be right and I could be talking bobbins but what they appear to have packed in is, to these ears, ludicrous and, at times, unlistenable. Wintersun clearly have a furrow that they plough very well- it’s just not one that appeals. Sorry.