Wintersun - “The Forest Seasons”
You can fund these con-artists’ sauna here.
Wintersun is a band from Finland that started as the solo side-project of former Ensiferum frontman, Jari Mäenpää. This quickly became his main focus, however, after he was seen taking his sweet-ass time apart from Ensiferum, who wanted to get back to recording their own music, and was kicked out of the project. An incredibly smart move on their part, as between 2003 and now, Wintersun has released two studio LPs. Despite their incredibly limited body of work, they managed to gather an incredible cult following in the metal scene. After their self-titled debut, Jari claimed to be working on their sophomore LP, Time. Fans waited and waited, and in 201...we got the first half of their second LP, Time, and were told that the second part would come out early 2013. Fans waited almost a decade for new music, and were given only 40 minutes of it. People had more patience, though, because we were promised that the second part would come out the next year. Quickly, that turned into an even longer wait…and in 2014, Jari went off on a number of insane rants, blaming Nuclear Blast Records for the delay in Time II, because they weren’t “given him what he needed” to record it. Wintersun’s devoted fanbase blasted Nuclear Blast, spurring them to begin working with Jari to see that his needs were met. What we didn’t know was that Jari wasn’t asking for money for the LP: he was asking for money to build a studio. Actually, scratch that. He was basically asking them to build a goddamn house for him. He claimed it to be a studio, but what fucking studio has a sauna?! Many became understandably skeptical of Jari, but he was very persistent and pretty much blackmailed the people that refused to fund him. He threatened to not leave his music unreleased.
It is now 2017, and after half a fucking decade, Wintersun has announced a third studio LP! However, it is not the long-awaited Time II, oh no. This is The Forest Seasons. It’s been five fucking years since Time I came out, and we still don’t have the second part of this LP. That’s not all: In order to get this LP on the day of its release, you had to participate in a crowdfund to help the “beginning stages” of their hou--I mean studio, cleverly titled the “Wintersun Headquarters.” The only perks were digital files of Wintersun’s entire discography, going for 50 euro, with an option for a 20 euro “expansion.” That is 58.33 in USD, and all you got was music you probably already had as a fan. Regardless, $60 for digital files. Any other band would have been called out for blatant stupidity, but Wintersun managed to gather almost 8,000 backers on this perk, and it was pretty much immediately funded. After all of these betrayal of trust, Wintersun managed to actually fund what will soon be their fucking house. Now, The Forest Seasons is out. I could go out of my way to give this a serious review, but what Wintersun have done brings up a serious issue in music, and that is con-artistry: taking advantage of your fans with the power of the internet.
The internet is a very powerful tool. Pretty much the only way to get recognition as a local music artist in this day and age is through the internet. There are sites like Bandcamp that allow you to upload your music for anyone to listen, and that’s pretty much how you gain support. Crowdfunding is also a popular tactic, and one that I initially thought was very good for artists. I have donated my fair share to crowdfunds, and some of them I felt very rewarded by, such as Protest the Hero’s one for Volition. However, I started realizing that there are artists out there who use crowdfunding to scam their fans. I donated to Corelia’s crowdfund for their debut LP back in 2015, and after almost three years, I haven’t gotten anything out of it. The last update was back in October 2016, which pretty much just read as “We’re still working on it, and it’s going to be the best shit ever, and you will say it’s the greatest album ever”. To me, this is just taking advantage of your fans, and nobody is doing that more blatantly than Wintersun.
I have to give them credit where credit’s due. Despite releasing only three LPs in fourteen years, their following is loyal to a fault. 8,000 fans were willing to pay $60 just for MP3’s of songs they, for the most part, already had. They waited five years for the second part of an LP, and when told they’d get a different LP first, still managed to just say “Yeah, I’ll hop on board for this!” It takes serious manipulation to trick that many unfortunate souls into such an obvious scam. I really don’t think anyone would have fallen for something like this if it was any other artist, but of course, it’s goddamn Wintersun, a band that got legendary off of…what? Is there really anything about these guys’ music special enough to warrant all of this inconsistency?
I admit, back when Time I was coming out, I really did love Wintersun. I got their self-titled in a record store and was beyond stoked when Time I came out, and blasted it on Spotify. However, that was five years ago. Since then, I’ve come to realize that there’s so much more to music than just the world of metal. Artists like Kendrick Lamar and Lorde are pushing the envelope for music as a whole. There was not a single point in Wintersun’s entire career where you could argue they were pushing boundaries, and I could even admit that when I was a fan of theirs. They pretty much just perform melodic death metal mixed in with power and progressive metal. You can go on and say that they perform their music very well, but they are not innovating, and are not worth waiting on for so many years. We honestly should have all been disappointed when Wintersun released Time I because there’s no fucking reason in this world that it should’ve taken nearly a decade to release one part of an LP, and there is absolutely NOTHING that can justify the delay in Time II.
So no, I did not listen to The Forest Seasons, and you shouldn’t, either. The music world is huge, with artists in all genres releasing music that is actually worth your time and released on a consistent basis. You shouldn’t waste it on these con-artist hacks who are literally shelving their music and pretty much threatening you to buy them a house in order to listen to it. If you really love Wintersun’s music that much, put that support toward Whispered. They’re musically identical, but they won’t make you wait five years for music and ask for a sauna in return.