Summer’s here!… Wait, no it’s winter. Or is it autumn? Well whatever your favorite season is, Finnish Death Metal band Wintersun have got you covered. After the release of Time I (2012), they’re back with the follow-up
The Forest Seasons (2017) it has been a long time coming. While it’s short and sweet with four tracks, it is an impressively thematic record.
It’s filled to the brim with ambient sounds of the forest like owls, strong winds, and rustling leaves. It’s packed with a whole range of screams and growls, contrasted with symphonic opera-esque vocals. On top of all that you’ve got shredding and grinding guitar elements, drums that you can certainly headbang to and some gorgeous violin and piano instrumentals that really drag this album away from being a typical death metal record and pushes it into the territory of being something much more unique.
4 Songs 4 Seasons, that’s the theme of the album.
It’s time to take a walk through the forest, let’s get right into these songs!
Starting out with Awaken From The Dark Slumber (Spring), we’re met with quiet twinkling, followed by the hoot of an owl before we’re introduced to a killer drum roll that leads into the start of the song, the drums are a huge highlight in this song. The vocalist’s screams follow and are powerful and consistent, the song continues similarly for a few minutes occasionally aided by yelled vocals and tense moments of choir vocals. This song definitely opens the album strongly and the drumming is sure to hype you up, the combined instrumental is fantastic and although this isn’t the best song on the album for vocals, they’re still pretty great. This song really makes for some exciting listening.
Track 2, The Forest That Weeps (Summer) opens with another windy intro before jumping into the drums, guitar, and violin, the song takes a step back, not being as aggressive in its sound and slowing down the tempo. The screamed verse leads us right up to a chorus featuring those resounding opera vocals which are really what set this song apart from the first track.
Eternal Darkness (Autumn) comes in next as the most chaotic and unique song on the album. It begins with grinding guitar sounds and some string work, before building up and hitting you in the chest with fast and aggressive instrumentals, followed by haunting ghostly wailing and then screamed vocals. This song stays like this for a while, before quieting down and showing off the deepest growls on the record and some impressive shredding on the guitarist’s behalf.
The final track Loneliness (Winter) really hammers home the theatrics as it closes out the album. It focuses more prominently on clean vocals, which gradually build up and become more powerful. The album ends on a high note.
Due to the atmospheric and thematic nature of the record, the songs do drag on, however, they blend together quite easily and while that’s not necessarily a negative thing, this writer certainly couldn’t pigeon-hole this record into “easy listening”, as it is bound to grow on you. Other than that, The Winter Seasons is a seriously impressive piece of work.