With one of the most highly anticipated and, arguably, one of the best albums of 2012 under their belts, Wintersun‘s return to the UK in support of their sophomore effort “Time I is a triumphant one. For the fans, it’s certainly been a long time coming: plagued by technical problems that constantly set the album’s release back, they have literally been waiting years to hear these songs. It was certainly worth the wait.

It’s just a shame that the band has been confined to such a tiny, sweaty venue (that feels like it’s about a million degrees) that can barely contain their massive sound and their sheer presence. Songs like openers ‘When Time Fades Away’ and ‘Sons of Winter and Stars’ are huge, living breathing things, and it is testament to Jari Mäenpää’s ambition and talent that they go off without a hitch. As if any of us Muggles would have noticed, anyway.

The elfin singer’s desire for perfection is apparent to all Wintersun fans, but even while shredding his way through mind-boggling time signatures and frequently switching seamlessly from a rich tenor to blackened growls in a way that very few singers can – his voice is perhaps most comparable to that of Devin Townsend in this respect – he manages to engage the fans in cheering and lai-lai-lai-ing along. Speaking little in between songs in a classically stoic Finnish manner, the frontman nevertheless grins ear to ear all the way through.

The rest of the band are as tight as ever, with special mention well deserved by the band’s powerhouse drummer Kai Hahto, who is an absolute machine behind the kit and by the end of the gig looks physically beaten down, drenched with sweat but still smiling as he mops his brow. Cries of “Drum solo!” from the audience go unheard, or possibly just politely ignored.

After what feels like several encores and finishing their set with ‘Starchild’, the band say their goodbyes and finally leave the stage, while the fans still scream for more. Wintersun are easily the most talented band to come out of Finland in a long time; let’s hope that next time they can fill a bigger venue. With working air con, preferably.

Wintersun – Facebook Page

Photos by Sabrina Ramdoyal.