Sound — 8
Perhaps you haven't heard about this small band from Finland, but in 2004 and for they recorded their first album ("Wintersun" as well) and it turn around a lot of tables in the European death/melodic/power METAL world. After 8 years Jari Menp and the boys are back with the first of a two part album called "Time I". "When Time Fades Away" is the opening track, and the intro to the twin albums. It's a 4 minutes intro based on Japanese melodies. The composition is fantastic and is the perfect way to get you prepared for what's coming next. "Sons Of Winter And Stars" is the main track of the album, and it's composed of 4 parts: I. "Rain Of Stars", II. "Surrounded By Darkness", III. "Journey Inside A Dream", IV. "Sons Of Winter And Stars". This 13 minutes master piece begins with a slow an melodic intro, and after that is pure heavy guitars and blasting drums without forgetting the Japanese melody. The third track "Land Of Snow And Sorrow", is a melodic slow timed heavy/ballad like song with cleans vocals and choirs that evokes at time some Blind Guardian passages. "Darkness And Frost" is another instrumental song that fills the gap between songs, it has a lot of acoustic guitar a synth, is not as good as the opening track, but its a nice touch. Finally "Time" closes this 40 minutes LP, and it is not a disappointing end. It's mad, it's fast, it's melodic and it's got clean vocals, grunts and choirs. You can not ask for more. The production of the instruments is amazing, the scores, the guitars and the drums are great; also the choirs fits perfectly the music. The only down side is that the main vocals (both clean and vocals) are drown in the mix and the are not really clear to understand.
Lyrics — 7
Jari Menp it's a great singer, he can manage to perform great grunts and clean vocals on the album that fit the dramatic and epic mood of the music, unfortunately his work as composer overwhelms his singing in a far too dense mix. The lyrics are dark but not too deep, but once again they fit nicely in the context of the album e.g. "Behold the rain of stars The awakening of darkened skies Falling from the dark The symphony of dying lights Behold the rain of stars The blazing fire came pouring down Falling from the dark And life and death became unbound" or "The energy flows in me like a river of stars I'm surrounded by the circle of fire, but eternal ice has frozen my heart I'm lost in the pathways of time But now the time has come for us!"
Overall Impression — 8
The album features only 5 tracks which is a little bit disappointing but the melody of each and everyone of them scratches the quality of any epic movie score. I just can describe it as Rhapsody Of Fire meets Dark Tranquility (or something like that). All the tracks are amazing but I still think the vocals are drown in the instrumental mix. Anyway I love the music and the feel of the album and I would buy it again.