Wintersun was a project eight years in the making. Jari Mäenpää began writing the music for Wintersun in 1995, before joining folk metal band Ensiferum in 1996 as lead singer and guitarist. In 1997, Mäenpää served in the Finnish military as part of his national defense duty, during which he contracted tuberculosis. The diagnosis was late, and Mäenpää required surgery to remove part of his lung, hospitalizing him for months. The song "Beautiful Death" would later be inspired by this event.
In 2003, Mäenpää hired Kai Hahto as a session drummer and, after sending newly recorded demos to Nuclear Blast, was offered a record deal. After returning from Ensiferum's Iron recording sessions, Mäenpää began arranging the compositions of the future Wintersun tracks. Despite intending to keep Wintersun as a side project, a scheduling conflict between booked studio time for Wintersun and a tour promoting Iron forced Mäenpää to request time off from the band, which resulted in him being forced to leave Ensiferum.
Read more about this topic: Wintersun (album)
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