The second pick on my albums of the decade list is The Forest Seasons by Wintersun.
I heard Wintersun's music for the first time in 2006 when I started getting more and more into folk metal. I have no memory of how I found the band, but back then they had released only one album. Everyone was waiting for the upcoming masterpiece, later to be titled as Time I, but that's not really their best album. Don't get me wrong though, it is an insanely good album as well and has the most beautiful intro I've ever heard.
In my opinion, The Forest Seasons easily beats Time I. It's an epic 4-track-long masterpiece paying homage to The Four Seasons violin concerto by Antonio Vivaldi.
The Four Seasons is a crowdfunded album. I was very dubious whether the campaign would ever succeed and there was lots of bashing across the music forums against the wishes to build a sauna in the studio! Despite the scepticism, the campaign became a great success! Wintersun raised £398,076 in total by 9330 funders (that's about £42.66pp) and that made The Forest Seasons possible.
The album contains a track for each season and all of them are between 12 and 15 minutes long. They are epic masterpieces containing influences from power metal, symphonic metal, folk metal and even black metal.
The frontman Jari Mäenpää is a multi-instumentalist and an incredible musician. He has played all the instruments for the album except the drums. As far as I know, the drums are programmed but one cannot really tell the difference. The modern drum and cymbal samples are indistinguishable from an acoustic drum kit.
There is speeding on a rhytmic highway, building up a scene for an epic battle, double bass drums running like a clockwork and of course blast beats and growling vocals and epic choirs. This is Skyrim metal at its best!
My favourite track is the third track called Eternal Darkness (Autumn). It's very much a black metal track with a decent amount of blast beats and melancholic melodies. Go ahead and listen if you like this kind of stuff!