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Music / Wintersun

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From left to right: Kai Hahto, Jari Mäenpää, Teemu Mäntysaari, Jukka Koskinen

Night is falling over my home
The land of snow and sorrow, oh carry me away from the cold
And I fall asleep and I will not be afraid
All I was, is gone now and sorrow is all I feel
- "Land of Snow and Sorrow", from Time I

Wintersun is a Finnish Extreme Metal/Symphonic Metal band founded by the former Ensiferum guitarist/vocalist/frontman Jari Mäenpää.

Originally a side project, Jari had started writing songs for Wintersun in 1995, and drafted the first album along with his band duties in Ensiferum. However, due to the clashing schedules for recording the debut album and already booked Ensiferum tour he was forced to quit the band and focus solely on Wintersun.

The debut album was finally released in 2004, with Jari performing all the guitars, bass, keyboards and vocal duties and drums played by Kai Hahto. It was a critically acclaimed success, regarded as a modern classic in Finnish heavy metal scene, and Jari formed a actual band to go touring. Everything seemed optimistic and joyful...

...Until 2006 came, and Jari started working on the next album. Titled Time, it was planned to up the production and composition of the debut, but it also proved to be a real pain to work out and ended up in the Development Hell. Jari planned to create full orchestral backgrounds out of sound samples, but due to the complexity of the composing process, inexperience in working with the samples, writer's blocks and the computers crashing unable to run the strenuous programs the release date had to be pushed further and further. Some of the new songs were played live in 2011 as a assurance of the work, but the wait started to feel unbearable.

The wait was finally rewarded in 2012, when Time was announced to be released - in two parts. Time I finally saw daylight in October 2012. Time II is currently being mixed, but the renewing problems in the production - mostly lack of funding and proper studio resources - have put it back to the development hell.

However, in early 2017 it was announced that the band has recorded and produced an all-new all-different album in the middle of the Time II problems to be released as the third full-length Wintersun album, The Forest Seasons. It was released on July 21.

After a Bandcamp-exclusive single release titled "Warning" in 2023, the band announced on social media on January 12, 2024 that they had finally completed Time II, planned for release in the fall.

Current members

  • Jari Mäenpää − vocals, guitar, keyboards (2003–present), bass (2004)
  • Kai Hahto − drums (2004–present)
  • Teemu Mäntysaari − guitar, backing vocals (2004–present)
  • Jukka Koskinen − bass, backing vocals (2005–present)

Former members

  • Oliver Fokin − guitar (2004)


  • Wintersun (2004)
  • Time I (2012)
  • The Forest Seasons (2017)
  • Time II (2024)

Both drummer Kai Hahto and bassist Jukka Koskinen have also worked with Nightwish, having filled in for the roles of departed Nightwish members Jukka Nevalainen and Marko Hietala, respectively, before becoming permanent members in 2019 and 2023.

Tropes related to Wintersun:

  • Audience Participation Song: "Death and the Healing"
  • Cloudcuckoolander: JARI, to the point fans theorize he has an OCD complex.
  • Concept Album: Both parts of Time and The Forest Seasons.
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: "When Time Fades Away" and "Darkness And Frost".
  • Epic Rocking: Already abundant on the self-titled début, but blown into preposterous overdrive on Time I with multi-part, ten-minute-plus tracks featuring hundreds of layers of orchestration. (It's worth pointing out, as well, that every single song on the self-titled album is longer than the song that precedes it). The Forest Seasons was built with this trope in mind, all four songs being longer than 10 minutes.
  • Folk Metal: Debatable. They've headlined in Folk Metal tours, but that's probably mostly due to Jari's connections to Ensiferum, as the folk elements are rather mild in their music (though Time I has some influences from Japanese folk music).
  • Harsh Vocals: Jari's harshes consist of very distinctive upper-register snarls and screeches.
  • I Am the Band: Started out as a one-man-project for Jari, but Kai has been playing drums since the first album.
  • I Will Find You: Sung word-by-word in "Time".
  • Loudness War: Gloriously averted with Time I, which comes in at DR8. The self-titled is a borderline example at DR6.
    • The Forest Seasons infamously suffers this, even if you get the lossless files.
  • Melodic Death Metal: The metal subgenre they are perhaps closest to.
  • Metal Scream
  • Nature Metal: This is the theme of the Concept Album "The Four Seasons".
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Epic Death Black Neoclassical Power Folk Symphonic Metal... or something. By his own admission, Jari pretty much writes whatever kind of metal he feels like at any given moment.
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: All the vocals in the debut album are sung by Jari. Even the choirs. Time I has "only" most of them, with some back-up from Jukka and Teemu.
  • Those Two Guys: Jukka and Teemu.