Wintersun - The Forest Seasons review



Reviewer:
6.7

396 users:
7.92
Band: Wintersun
Album: The Forest Seasons
Release date: July 2017


01. Awaken From The Dark Slumber (Spring)
02. The Forest That Weeps (Summer)
03. Eternal Darkness (Autumn)
04. Loneliness (Winter)
05. Loneliness (Winter) [acoustic version] [Digibook bonus]


I can't believe I nearly missed one of the biggest releases of 2017. I totally lost track of time. Here I am, three whole months late, and I'm only just getting to the new Wintersun. Oh, man. How embarrassing, right, guys?

Time II this is not. The Forest Seasons still contains unwieldy amounts of orchestration, but the many tracks blur together into a flat, repressed miasma wholly unlike the dazzling blizzard of melodies that festooned Time I. I had certainly expected a different approach from the last album, but I thought that that would mean something closer in spirit to the debut. This lackluster mélange of symphony and metal is hardly the same band whose impeccable timing, stunningly crisp performance, and intimate knowledge of epic craftsmanship forged songs like "Winter Madness," "Battle Against Time," and "Starchild." "Awaken From The Dark Slumber (Spring)" pursues a sense of scale that's just out of reach, and certain points throughout the album wander into some cheap, ersatz black metal with guitars so thin and colorless that the continuity with Wintersun's older material is completely lost. The confusing change in atmosphere sounds at first blush like a misguided attempt to rebrand Wintersun as a darker, heavier band, but soon The Forest Seasons shows its hand and it becomes apparent that the album's mystifying gloom has more to do with a lack of inspiration than an overabundance of it.

Nearly ten minutes pass before the advent of the first crowded chorus finally suggests something of the old Wintersun, but with nothing substantial to hold onto, that chorus passes as if it had never arrived. It's 22 minutes, halfway into "The Forest That Weeps (Summer)," before a remarkably Wintersun-like riff muscles its way into the center aisle and illuminates the album with the brand of powerful, melodic leads that I had expected to hear from the first minute. This is the first point when the album truly feels alive. All too soon the heroic riff gives way to canned symphony. The chorus goes down smoothly the first time, thanks to Jari's still-mighty clean vocals, but when translated into a group chorus, it does nothing other than sluggishly compel the song to die. Jari gathered a phenomenal posse of backing vocalists - members of Turisas, Ensiferum, Týr, Moonsorrow, and others - and didn't give them anything to sing. Gone are the stirring, anthemic hooks and rippling blazes of instrumental prowess; gone are the vibrance and vivacity that once pushed Wintersun to the forefront of the metal scene and defined their own genre.

All the energy and profundity that defined Wintersun have evaporated, leaving only a run-of-the-mill heavy metal band trying to be progressive, heroic, and sinister and coming off tedious, passe, and compressed. The album has its merits; some of the soloing in "Loneliness (Winter)" is fabulous, Jari remains in pretty good voice, and every song contains a few moments where I perk up and think, "Yes, that's Wintersun." I must confess that I will probably find myself singing the chorus to "Summer" six months from now - but getting to those standout moments requires patience, and if there's one thing that most Wintersun fans have long since run out of, it's patience. More often than not I find myself waiting for the real song to start and lamenting how muddy and enervating the production is.

Had I no exposure to the years-long soap opera As the World Turns Around Jari, had I no external information to indicate that I was listening to a stopgap measure implemented to prop up another promised new album, I could nonetheless believe that this was Wintersun's B-material, a repository created to drain the runoff from Time II; I could believe that this production was Jari's way of saying, "See how badly I need a better studio?" and that this album got pushed out purely to stack up the big bucks for more Time. Wintersun has so many textures, such depth of feeling, such explosive energy; Time I bristles with melody and momentum, building up to monumental choruses. The Forest Seasons opens awkwardly, contains far too much filler, and ends in disappointment. Wintersun is more than this dreary melodrama.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 6
Production: 6


 



Written on 30.10.2017 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments page 2 / 2

Comments: 39   Visited by: 431 users
30.11.2018 - 06:03
ScreamingSteelUS
Editor-in-Chief
Written by danielfilth88 on 29.11.2018 at 16:47

Written by ScreamingSteelUS on 29.11.2018 at 01:32

Written by danielfilth88 on 28.11.2018 at 19:24

I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts

Romanes eunt domus

No, Donny, these men are nihilists.

Administrative note: trim your quotes. These responses are long enough without unnecessary roughage.

First of all, I dismissed your comment as having irrelevant arguments after I responded to those arguments. You have managed not to respond to many of mine.

It doesn't matter what your favorite bands are. It doesn't matter what my favorite bands are, either. I happen to love Sabaton, yes. "Ghost Division" is a real corker the likes of which The Forest Seasons cannot offer. I could give you a laundry list of other bands that I listen to that might impress you more than Sabaton, but I shouldn't have to because the fact that I also love Melt-Banana, Kypck, Rigor Mortis, Atheist, and Thrawsunblat has no bearing on my qualifications to have and express an opinion about Wintersun. In case you're looking for more ammunition, though, I'll just slip in that I'm a big fan of the Ramones and I'm also fond of AC/DC, Motorhead, Slayer, and probably a hundred other bands best known for continually inventing the same wheel.

The Forest Seasons is extreme power. It does occasionally have some elements of atmospheric black, but on the whole I'd call it more in line with extreme power than anything else. This album is much closer to Ensiferum, Children of Bodom, Kalmah, Whispered, and Norther than Summoning, Drudkh, Saor, Downfall of Nur, and Falls of Rauros. Why are we arguing about the genre of the album anyway?

I'll tell you again that being a musician doesn't matter. I'm a musician, too. I play guitar, I play saxophone, and I sing. That good enough for you? Musicians have valid grounds to judge music - but so does everyone else. Musicians can be wrong. Musicians wrote Lulu, Illud Divinum Insanus, and Dedicated to Chaos. Musicians continue to extol the virtues of KISS, who make Sabaton look like John Zorn. In fact, if I may fight fire by lighting myself on fire, how many musicians do you suppose there are in the fan base of Sabaton? Musicians are just people. They aren't gods who have been granted an eternal +3 to Appreciate Music. Maybe a musician can understand the creative process better, can put into clearer terms the technical components of a composition, can hear something in a different way from other listeners - but so what? That doesn't make their assessment more valid than a listener who isn't a musician. That doesn't necessarily mean that a musician can enjoy or understand a song to any greater or lesser extent than any other listener, because music doesn't exist purely on a formal level - it exists on an emotional, contextual, and subjective level that vastly outweighs any objective consideration. It's like saying you have to direct movies to understand them or you have to write books in order to read them.

Maybe I don't have any grounds to support my opinion other than the fact that I can write "to a certain extent" and I listen to music (and I'm a musician, which increases my IQ by 40 points and gives me advantage on Charisma saving throws). What grounds do you have to support your opinion? The fact that you have the ability to write negative comments on the internet? Where's your evidence to support your assertion that critics and reviewers are miserable failures who only talk about music because they can't make music? If it's okay that your band sucks because you just do it for fun and for stress relief, why isn't it okay that I write reviews for fun and for stress relief? Because I'm putting my work into a public forum? You can do the same thing, and even Jari is welcome to come to this website and write his own review. I call Wintersun more unprofessional than me because I took less than eight years to publish my review AND I published the whole thing at once. And I'll have you know, you cheeky honored guest, that my bitter sadness has nothing to do with music, thank you very much.

As for your cohort of concertgoing straw men there, what group of people is most likely to attend a Wintersun concert? Wintersun fans. What group of people is most likely to agree with you and like The Forest Seasons? Wintersun fans. I think you found yourself in an echo chamber. If I were there, I'd probably have a great time even if I don't care for the album all that much. It's a live setting. People have fun there.

If you're this put out by the fact that a fellow human does not share your specific level of appreciation for a particular album, then show me how it's done. Do what you facetiously suggested: write and submit an impartial, objective review of this album and I will proofread it and have it published on this website. And I don't mean to say, "Oh yeah? Well, let's see you write a review if you're so smart!" I mean that I want you to demonstrate precisely what you think a review should look like with absolutely no subjective language whatsoever.

If you really are "nowhere near qualified enough to offer [your] shit of opinion on other people's hard work", then stop criticizing my review.

THANK MIGHT GOD indeed.
----
Row, row, fight the power
Djently down the stream

I'm the Agent of Steel.
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30.11.2018 - 13:24
nikarg
Old Nick
This is so much fun, I'll just pour some more gasoline into the fire

a) As much as I hate to say it, the Americans did save our asses in WWII. The Russians did a very good job too. Of course, the mistakes that Hitler made, being the narcissistic psychopath with delusions of grandeur that he was, helped a lot.
b) SSUS's reviews are 99% of the time spot on, even though he has major character flaws such as being a fan of Sabaton and all.
c) On the other hand, let's not forget that he rated the latest Babymetal with a 9 so how does he dare review a tr00 metal album like The Forest Seasons??? It's preposterous!
d) danielfilth88 can write his own review just like anybody on this website, but it will never be as good as mine because I have been listening to this music for about 30 years and therefore only my opinion is valid.
e) There is no god so it's pointless to thank an imaginary person for anything.
f) I can think of something better to do for fun and stress relief but it seems some people are not getting any. Most people who attack reviewers are insecure and illiterate creatures who live in their mother's basement and can't put two and two together. I am a psychologist so I can draw conclusions and make generalisations like that just by reading someone's thoughts on the internet.
g) I went to a Robbie Williams concert a couple of years ago. I cried when he played "Angels". Everyone around me was crying too. The riot police were using tear gas because a bunch of people were trying to get in without a ticket.
h) Who the fuck even cares that much apart from butthurt fanboys?
i) I'm out! (but only until I get back in)
----
Follow me on Instagram

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30.11.2018 - 15:12
Starvynth
Written by nikarg on 30.11.2018 at 13:24

[...]
g) I went to a Robbie Williams concert a couple of years ago. I cried when he played "Angels". Everyone around me was crying too. The riot police were using tear gas because a bunch of people were trying to get in without a ticket.
[...]

You made my day. Thanks!
----
signatures = SPAM
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30.11.2018 - 17:57
danielfilth88
Written by ScreamingSteelUS on 30.11.2018 at 06:03

Written by danielfilth88 on 29.11.2018 at 16:47

Written by ScreamingSteelUS on 29.11.2018 at 01:32

Written by danielfilth88 on 28.11.2018 at 19:24

I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts

Romanes eunt domus

No, Donny, these men are nihilists.

Administrative note: trim your quotes. These responses are long enough without unnecessary roughage.

First of all, I dismissed your comment as having irrelevant arguments after I responded to those arguments. You have managed not to respond to many of mine.

It doesn't matter what your favorite bands are. It doesn't matter what my favorite bands are, either. I happen to love Sabaton, yes. "Ghost Division" is a real corker the likes of which The Forest Seasons cannot offer. I could give you a laundry list of other bands that I listen to that might impress you more than Sabaton, but I shouldn't have to because the fact that I also love Melt-Banana, Kypck, Rigor Mortis, Atheist, and Thrawsunblat has no bearing on my qualifications to have and express an opinion about Wintersun. In case you're looking for more ammunition, though, I'll just slip in that I'm a big fan of the Ramones and I'm also fond of AC/DC, Motorhead, Slayer, and probably a hundred other bands best known for continually inventing the same wheel.

The Forest Seasons is extreme power. It does occasionally have some elements of atmospheric black, but on the whole I'd call it more in line with extreme power than anything else. This album is much closer to Ensiferum, Children of Bodom, Kalmah, Whispered, and Norther than Summoning, Drudkh, Saor, Downfall of Nur, and Falls of Rauros. Why are we arguing about the genre of the album anyway?

I'll tell you again that being a musician doesn't matter. I'm a musician, too. I play guitar, I play saxophone, and I sing. That good enough for you? Musicians have valid grounds to judge music - but so does everyone else. Musicians can be wrong. Musicians wrote Lulu, Illud Divinum Insanus, and Dedicated to Chaos. Musicians continue to extol the virtues of KISS, who make Sabaton look like John Zorn. In fact, if I may fight fire by lighting myself on fire, how many musicians do you suppose there are in the fan base of Sabaton? Musicians are just people. They aren't gods who have been granted an eternal +3 to Appreciate Music. Maybe a musician can understand the creative process better, can put into clearer terms the technical components of a composition, can hear something in a different way from other listeners - but so what? That doesn't make their assessment more valid than a listener who isn't a musician. That doesn't necessarily mean that a musician can enjoy or understand a song to any greater or lesser extent than any other listener, because music doesn't exist purely on a formal level - it exists on an emotional, contextual, and subjective level that vastly outweighs any objective consideration. It's like saying you have to direct movies to understand them or you have to write books in order to read them.

Maybe I don't have any grounds to support my opinion other than the fact that I can write "to a certain extent" and I listen to music (and I'm a musician, which increases my IQ by 40 points and gives me advantage on Charisma saving throws). What grounds do you have to support your opinion? The fact that you have the ability to write negative comments on the internet? Where's your evidence to support your assertion that critics and reviewers are miserable failures who only talk about music because they can't make music? If it's okay that your band sucks because you just do it for fun and for stress relief, why isn't it okay that I write reviews for fun and for stress relief? Because I'm putting my work into a public forum? You can do the same thing, and even Jari is welcome to come to this website and write his own review. I call Wintersun more unprofessional than me because I took less than eight years to publish my review AND I published the whole thing at once. And I'll have you know, you cheeky honored guest, that my bitter sadness has nothing to do with music, thank you very much.

As for your cohort of concertgoing straw men there, what group of people is most likely to attend a Wintersun concert? Wintersun fans. What group of people is most likely to agree with you and like The Forest Seasons? Wintersun fans. I think you found yourself in an echo chamber. If I were there, I'd probably have a great time even if I don't care for the album all that much. It's a live setting. People have fun there.

If you're this put out by the fact that a fellow human does not share your specific level of appreciation for a particular album, then show me how it's done. Do what you facetiously suggested: write and submit an impartial, objective review of this album and I will proofread it and have it published on this website. And I don't mean to say, "Oh yeah? Well, let's see you write a review if you're so smart!" I mean that I want you to demonstrate precisely what you think a review should look like with absolutely no subjective language whatsoever.

If you really are "nowhere near qualified enough to offer [your] shit of opinion on other people's hard work", then stop criticizing my review.

THANK MIGHT GOD indeed.

You know, up until the 4th paragraph you actually had me thinking "maybe I was wrong, he made valid points and I would be a bigot not to accept them". But then you went ahead and ruined it with passive-aggressiveness and butt hurt behavior. Really? Is this the first negative comment you get? How long have you been doing this? You are asking me to stop criticizing your work, the work that took whole FEW HOURS to compile, listening to the album included. Next to the 8 years you took as a bullet in your chamber...Good job, mate!

It is OK that my band sucks, because I am not using it to disproof other people's much harder work and much more dedication and creativity (like you do with your "hard" work). I'll give you that - you are quite the wordsmith. Cheers! i am not, though. Inviting me to write a review so you can post it, destroy it and feel better about yourself later only shows weakness and paints how annoyed I got you. It is like Marty Friedman or Chuck Schuldiner inviting you to a guitar brodown so they can destroy you and "prove" they are better. Especially when you specifically said that you do not wish to play the guitar at all Which I did - I did say I do not want to even be close to reviewing any album, no matter if positive or negative review is at hand.

I am not expecting you to like the album, I am not annoyed because you don't like it! I don't care what you like or don't. What bothered me is the extent to which you shit on it. It is unfair, it is completely incorrect and not even close to the truth. The "it will fork your eyes out" kind of obvious truth. If you are honest about being impartial about this it only means you suck at writing reviews due to having close to 0 music hearing. Let this be our final exchange of comments, it is pointless. You have some valid points, I spoke out of emotion in few of my sentences and we will not see eye to eye anytime soon. If you feel the need to continue this discussion so you find yourself firmly at the top of it, by all means do so. I read enough, I found what I was looking for in the latter comments. If you are interested in what it was - that this review was written by an incompetent reviewer with nice word skills. Maybe you should be a journalist, you certainly have the skill and mainstream journalism does not care for the truth, so you will have a shining career.

P.S. Jari's morning piss sounds are better than anything Sabaton ever did. Even David Dreimann would agree with that.
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30.11.2018 - 18:37
The Shape 1973
That's not the sound of Jari's piss that you hear. It is fans piss that he has been taking from them for years.
----
I don't do inclusive
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30.11.2018 - 22:27
Zaph
The Nothingth
Written by danielfilth88 on 28.11.2018 at 19:29

I just saw you like Sabaton. This is more than enough to conclude you have no authority to even comment on the aforementioned kindergarten shows.

Written by danielfilth88 on 30.11.2018 at 17:57

I don't care what you like or don't.


Just thought I'd put those quotes together for no reason.
----
And the tears that we will weep today
Will all be washed away
By the tears that we will weep again tomorrow
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01.12.2018 - 00:38
ScreamingSteelUS
Editor-in-Chief
And thus another saga passes into legend. Nobody ever writes their own review when I ask for instruction.

THANK MIGHT GOD he still hasn't found my Babymetal review.
----
Row, row, fight the power
Djently down the stream

I'm the Agent of Steel.
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01.12.2018 - 06:07
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Ffs will the two of you please stop being so butthurt aboutbeach other's comments.
----
Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

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01.12.2018 - 17:33
ScreamingSteelUS
Editor-in-Chief
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 01.12.2018 at 06:07

Ffs will the two of you please stop being so butthurt aboutbeach other's comments.

I'm cool as a duck. I take no offense to anything he said, even if I think it was a silly series of gripes, but, perhaps due to how often my reviews wind up hosting these same complaints, I have some morbid curiosity about how a person like this comes to these conclusions and justifies them. I don't understand it and I wish to.

I don't know. Maybe I secretly think he's onto something.
----
Row, row, fight the power
Djently down the stream

I'm the Agent of Steel.
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