Sound — 10
This album is first album by melodic death metal band from Finland, Wintersun. It was released by Nuclear Blast Records in September 2004. Band consisted of Jari Menp (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards) and Kai Hahto (drums). When Jari left Ensiferum he was already involved in his side project Wintersun. This band is basically Ensiferum, but with more focus on guitar playing than folk instruments/influences. Now that he owns a project he can really shows something that he couldn't do back in Ensiferum. That's guitar playing. There are lots of guitar riffs and guitar melodies going on, like beautiful main riff in "Sleeping Stars" or main melody in "Death And The Healing". We can hear influences from many styles of metal, for example death, black, folk, power and even thrash metal. Other thing you can hear almost instantly are shredding guitar fills (first one is heard right after the first riff in "Beyond The Dark Sun") and guitar solos, which sometimes have neo-classical feel to them. Jari is really good guitar player and very fast and clean soloist. Guitars are often accompanied with keyboards, which make melodies even more epic. Many people hates the drums, but I don't see nothing wrong about them. There are lots of changes in drumming, you can even find blast beats accompanied with clean vocals.
Lyrics — 10
In addition to harsh vocals, Jari uses lots of clean singing and epic choir singing, which makes some songs great epic sing along songs. Lyrics deals with death, time and winter. They go well together with melodic guitars and they are usually written in more ballad style to fit into the music.
Overall Impression — 10
Whole album is great, but I usually skip "Beautiful Death", not because it's bad, I just don't like it as much as other songs. And the best song are "Sleeping Stars", "Death And The Healing" and "Battle Against Time". A mix of different genres seem like a big mess at first. But it is not, in fact this album in professionally put together and is one of best melodic death metal albums.