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Wintersun's Jari Mäenpää: The 10 Records That Changed My Life

Wintersun founder Jari Mäenpää rifles through his record collection to discuss the albums that made him who he is

In July 2017, Wintersun made their long-awaited return with The Forest Seasons – their first full-length album in five years. A symphonic metal odyssey inspired by Vivaldi's Four Seasons, it's not your usual heavy metal fare, but we'd expect nothing less from the mind of Jari Mäenpää.

Finding his metal calling with acclaimed folk metallers Ensiferum, you could be excused for thinking his record collection revolved around the fringes of heaviness, but never underestimate the power of Kiss.

We sat down with Jari to talk about the albums in his collection that really stand out, and why he loves Devin Townsend.

The first album I bought was...

WASP – The Last Command (Capitol, 1985)

The Last Command was the first one I bought, but the first album that I got as a present was Kiss – Animalize. I used to listen to it on loop and sing to all of the songs. I was five or six years old and didn’t know understand the lyrics, but I tried to sing along. Kiss were a big influence on me but you don’t hear it in Wintersun’s music.”

My favourite album artwork is…

Dissection – Storm Of the Light’s Bane (Nuclear Blast, 1995)

“The style and the wintery landscape just blew my mind. Of course, the music did also. The art supports the music so well, the whole album blew my mind. It was actually a very big influence on the cover of our first album (2004’s Wintersun). I contacted Kristian Wåhlin and he was willing to do something like that.”

The album that broke my heart is…

The Gathering – Mandylion (Century Media, 1995)

“It was the time of my life when I dated some women and I was very young. Nowadays when I listen to the album it brings back memories from those times of my life. It’s nostalgic and brings back some good memories, but a lot of sorrowful memories too.”

The album that reminds me of school is…

Kiss – Asylum (Vertigo, 1985)

“I went to school when I was six years old and I was listening to Kiss. All the boys were listening to Kiss and the girls were listening to this Finnish rock band called Dingo. There was a war going on over which band was better. My mother used to work in a kindergarten and her co-worker gave me a Kiss album as a present. My mum and dad listened to a lot of Elvis and stuff like that. I’m a fan of his now, but when I was a kid I rebelled against my parents ha ha. Nowadays I really appreciate it.”

The first album I had sex to is…

Devin Townsend – Ocean Machine: Biomech (HevyDevy Records, 1997)

“What can I say? I just put it on.”

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A kid asks me what metal is. I hand them a copy of…

Judas Priest – Painkiller (Columbia, 1990)

“It’s the best heavy metal album ever and an aggressive record. The vocals, the lyrics, the whole leather thing – that’s heavy metal to me. Leather and spikes!”

The album that makes me drive too fast is…

Carpenter Brut – Trilogy (Neuropa, 2015)

“I don’t drive but if I did it would be to this record. That synthwave stuff has the feeling that you’re driving very fast or you’re in a music video on the beach.”

The album that I want to be remembered for…

Hasn’t been written yet

“Everyone remembers the first album most but I still haven’t made the album that I want everyone to remember. I feel like I’ve not shown nearly my best yet. I have a lot of projects going on at the same time and it all depends on what kind of resources and sounds I can get for a particular music style.”

The album I want played at my funeral is…

Kiss – Crazy Nights (Vertigo, 1987)

“It needs to be party music, something really fun. People can wear make-up if they want.”

The album I wish I’d made is…

Devin Townsend – Infinity (HevyDevy Records, 1998)

“That record just blew my mind when I heard it for the first time; I had goosebumps all over. It was like something that a space alien would write ha ha. Devin’s a big influence on me. The first time I heard him sing on Steve Vai’s Sex & Religion album my mind was blown. At that time I was a big fan of Sebastian Bach, and I like that kind of high pitched scream. Then when I heard Devin at 19 years old I was blown away, then I heard about Strapping Young Lad and I thought ‘This guy is fucking insane’.”


Wintersun's new album The Forest Seasons is out now via Nuclear Blast, and available to order now.

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