Live at The House of Blues
August 26th, 2013
Review and Photos by Travis Baumann
Wintersun are a metal band from Finland that defies easy categorization. Originally started as a side project for the lead singer and guitarist of Ensiferum, Wintersun soon became his main focus when he was forced to leave that band due to inability to divide his time.
Wintersun came out with a self-titled album at first inception but it was over eight years that it took to build the magnificent album "Time I".
Initially touring North America for the first time as a supporting act for Eluveitie in 2012 it was less than a year before they returned as a headlining act.
Still supporting the "Time I" release we would now get a full set and be able to really appreciate the complicated songs and tales they weave.
Wintersun incorporate both harsh and melodic elements, building upon a basis of Power Metal, Folk Metal, Melodic Death Metal, and even Neoclassical Metal combined.
The songs have huge meandering structures, with lengthy songs shifting soundscapes multiple times within the same track.
They opened the set with what to me is their magnum opus, their defining song that instantly won me over, "Sons of Winter and Stars".
This song has it all; building atmospheric keyboards and orchestrations, driving bass and drums, challenging guitar work, and layered vocals, both harsh, growled textures and choral melodic pieces when the supporting members of the band lift up the powerful impact of the song by joining all of their voices.
Honestly, I could just hear this song and be content. It is really three songs built into one and is pretty lengthy at that but it is so good, it really is enough. Luckily, this is a headlining show so it was only the beginning.
They played "Land of Snow and Sorrow" next with its grim, Gothic undertones and yet a sense of beauty encased in that melancholy. The set continued with "Beautiful Death" before they played the title track off of "Time".
The band themselves are entertaining to witness as they etch out these epic tales. The lead singer is animated with his facial expressions and although is fairly rooted to the spot while playing guitar and singing, he does find time to gesticulate and articulate the emotions with hand gestures and body language. The bassist and other guitarist also lend their voices in the afore-mentioned choir parts.
"Sadness and Hate" was up next which lead into "Winter Madness". Heavily influenced by the surrounding territories of their homeland as well as by its history and folklore, the lyrics are also laden with esoteric thought provoking discussions of concepts including the astronomical bodies and laws of reality.
Further exploring these concepts, they performed "Beyond the Dark Sun" and "The Way of Fire" before coming upon their final song, "Starchild".
None of their songs are normal length or standard structure and their set would follow suit. They did not do an encore as they had pretty much covered all their bases with huge epic stories that spanned universes.
It was a great performance and really uplifting, striking and stirring, almost like a religious experience at times.
They are definitely a band worth checking out live and on CD. The long awaited "Time II" is due soon we hope. I heavily encourage you to listen to "Sons of Winter and Stars" to start you out.
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