WINTERSUN @ The Garage

August 1st, 2013
by Metal-Rules.com UK Team

Wintersun

@ The Relentless Garage, Islington

16th July 2013

Review by Victoria Fenbane

Photography by Michelle Murphy

Wintersun brought their Finnish melodic death metal to the UK/Ireland for a seven city tour, kicking off in London, in the middle of a heat wave.  A 30 minute delay to the headline set, provides a welcome opportunity to cool down in the air-conditioned side bar, escaping the sold out venue itself, which is without even a hint of air-con and thus unbearable when at its 650 capacity.

Wintersun

Wintersun

The goose bump inducing intro sequence of ‘When Time Fades Away’ creates a welcome chill (if only perceived – the humid air is more akin to a Viking sweat-lodge).  Opener ‘Sons of Winter and Stars’ is a beautiful contrast of bombastic brutal melodic death, backed with symphonic choral vocals.

Wintersun

Wintersun

Wintersun

Wintersun

 

From the outset it is one of the tightest displays of metal I have witnessed.

Wintersun

Wintersun

The crowd rooted to the spot, are enraptured, wearing the glazed features of euphoria; induced by gloriously trancelike sweeping melodies, combined with triple vocals backed by complex guitar work and blasting percussion on the verge of black beats.

Wintersun

Wintersun

Wintersun

Wintersun

The overall effect is a subtle, yet powerful, genre spanning sound which never quite falls fully into prog, power,or melodic death, with hints of a folk undercurrent throughout.

Wintersun

Wintersun

Wintersun

Wintersun

The folk element is an outcome of the vocal melodies; within Wintersun the voice is as essential an instrument as the guitars, keys or drums to the overall epic sound.

Wintersun

Wintersun

Wintersun

Wintersun

Having seeing Ensiferum live and been a little disappointed, tonight I can hear the missing link in  what they have lost in Jari.  Wintersun have the melodies and cohesiveness I found Jari’s previous band lacked live.  Making Wintersun are a must for Ensiferum fans.

Wintersun

Wintersun

Wintersun

Wintersun

Musically the gig gathers pace throughout, while maintaining the trippy trance-state inducing touches, or maybe its heat induced delirium!

Wintersun

Wintersun

Surprisingly few leave the main room for reprieve from the heat – that’s how good Wintersun are!

Wintersun

Wintersun

They hypnotize and blot out the feeling of sweat building up in your boots, however a few fall victim to the heat and pass out.  Crowd behaviour wise nodding heads far outweighs head bangers, either a result of the heat or metal induced bliss at the perfect subtly of the sound emanating from the stage.

Wintersun

Wintersun

Personal highlights for me were: ”Beautiful Death’ an apt name for such a well-crafted piece of genre defying metal and the 11 minute Opus ‘Time’, which is satisfyingly heavier live. Everyone here knows both albums equally as well, all material receiving equal reception.

Wintersun

Wintersun

Wintersun

Wintersun

As it is bassist Jukka’s birthday, the band and crowd sing him ‘Happy Birthday’.  After which Wintersun proceed to play the chugging ‘Beyond the Dark Sun’, wearing gold party hats whilst balloons are kicked about in the audience.  Here is a band who can have fun, which probably upsets a few grumpy purists…

Wintersun

Wintersun

Wintersun

Wintersun

There is not really time for an encore.  The set concludes with ‘Starchild’, which takes us past the 11pm venue curfew.

Wintersun

Wintersun

Wintersun

Wintersun

The band, clad in towels remain on stage long past lights up, shaking hands of the many fans still in this sweltering venue.

Wintersun

Wintersun

Wintersun

Wintersun

It is clear that that Wintersun have a lot of passionate, dedicated fans in the UK, but I get the impression the sold out shows and reception is a bit of a surprise to the band.  It is neither surprising nor undeserved, Wintersun are by far one of the best bands out there. Creating immaculate listenable lyrical soundtrack style metal, while at the same time having loads of time for their fans.

Wintersun

Wintersun

Long may they continue!

Wintersun

Wintersun

Setlist:

When Time Fades Away
Sons of Winter and Stars
Land of Snow and Sorrow
Battle Against Time
Sleeping Stars
Beautiful Death
Darkness and Frost
Time
Beyond the Dark Sun
Starchild

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