Sound — 9
Wintersun's self titled album was written entirely by guitarist/vocalist Jari Maenpaa (except the drums), and is a masterpiece like no other. The music combines all the elements I love of metal, with the screams of melodic death, symphonic keys of black metal, excellent guitar work, and some really good singing. The guitar tone is clean and punchy, almost reminiscent of death. There are times when the sound gets a little muddy with so many instruments, but overall, it's exellent. The album has no story, although all the lyrics are based on Jari's thoughts and experiences.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics are excellently written. As I said, the lyrics are based on Jari's life and thoughts. They even get better/more mature as the album goes along. For example, on the song Beautiful Death. These are probly the best lyrics on the album, and they are about the time when Jari had tuberculosis, and had to have a part of his lung removed. The lyrics fit the music perfectly, nothing is forced or awkward. Jari has an absolutely awesome voice. The harsh vocals sound like most melodic death or black metal vocals, but the singing is fantastic. Jari's voice sometimes imitates Halford or King Diamond, sometimes he goes to a low range, or a tenor range; his range is unbelievable.
Overall Impression — 10
This is definitely my favorite album, possibly even the best I've listened to. It's hard to pick a song that stands out, but I think Starchild is the best, and easily most epic on the album. Beautiful Death is close behind. Sleeping Stars is a really good slow song, with Death and the Healing probly the most melodic. There is literally, nothing I hate about this album. I love everything, from the epic-ness, to the combination of all my favorite things in metal. If it were lost, it wouldn't be a big deal to me, as I have it on my computer. If it were stolen, I'd give props to the guy who stole it for having good taste.