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The project Paysage d'Hiver formed in 1997 means "Winter Landscape". The man behind the name that doesn't hide musical directions is Wintherr (real name Tobias Möckl), from Schwarzenburg, Berne, Switzerland. He also runs the label "Kunsthall Produktionen", and is a member of the ambient black metal group Darkspace. His music varies from synth-based dark ambient to atmospheric black metal.
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PAYSAGE D'HIVER albums / top albums

PAYSAGE D'HIVER Steineiche album cover 4.25 | 3 ratings
Atmospheric Black Metal 1998
PAYSAGE D'HIVER Schattengang album cover 4.43 | 3 ratings
Atmospheric Black Metal 1998
PAYSAGE D'HIVER Die Festung album cover 4.45 | 2 ratings
Die Festung
Non-Metal 1999
PAYSAGE D'HIVER Paysage d'Hiver album cover 4.22 | 8 ratings
Paysage d'Hiver
Atmospheric Black Metal 1999
PAYSAGE D'HIVER Kerker album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Atmospheric Black Metal 1999
PAYSAGE D'HIVER Kristall & Isa album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Kristall & Isa
Atmospheric Black Metal 2000
PAYSAGE D'HIVER Winterkälte album cover 4.33 | 2 ratings
Atmospheric Black Metal 2001
PAYSAGE D'HIVER Nacht album cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
Atmospheric Black Metal 2004
PAYSAGE D'HIVER Einsamkeit album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Metal Related 2007
PAYSAGE D'HIVER Das Tor album cover 4.12 | 4 ratings
Das Tor
Atmospheric Black Metal 2013
PAYSAGE D'HIVER Im Wald album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Im Wald
Atmospheric Black Metal 2020


PAYSAGE D'HIVER Paysage d'Hiver / Lunar Aurora album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Paysage d'Hiver / Lunar Aurora
Atmospheric Black Metal 2002
PAYSAGE D'HIVER Paysage d'Hiver / Vinterriket album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Paysage d'Hiver / Vinterriket
Atmospheric Black Metal 2003
PAYSAGE D'HIVER Десь блукає журба (Somewhere Sadness Wanders) / Schnee (IV) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Десь блукає журба (Somewhere Sadness Wanders) / Schnee (IV)
Atmospheric Black Metal 2017

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Album · 1998 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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siLLy puPPy
In the world of lo-fi kvlt black metal perhaps no other act has done a better job at keeping it so old school pure as Switzerland’s PAYSAGE D’HIVER which is French for “wintery landscape.” Formed near Bern in 1997, this has been the lo-fi playground for sole member Wintherr which is an alias for Tobias Möcki who also poses as Wroth in the band Darkspace. Wintherr has been a master of cranking out lengthy sprawling ambient black metal albums over the years but really takes things to a kvlt extreme by classifying them all as demos. Only in 2020 with the release of “Im Wald” has he allowed a release to be classified as an “album,” but whatever! right? With most releases over 60 minutes, they’re friggin albums already :D

PAYSAGE D’HIVER was very much inspired by Burzum’s earliest albums, especially “Hvis Lyset Tar Oss” and “Filosefem” which is obvious on this debut release STEINEICHE (German for “Holm Oak”). Despite the Burzum influences of mixing extremely lo-fi raw production styles with atmospheric ambience and sprawling soundscapes that flow on like frozen rivers in the Alps, PAYSAGE D’HIVER isn’t afraid to crank out some of the noisiest and most aggressive examples of black metal as heard by Darkthrone, Mayhem or Immortal. Add to that a touch of excellent songwriting that allows different segments of this behemoths to stand out and keep the tracks from falling into tedious drudgery, it’s not hard to hear even on this first offering why PAYSAGE D’HIVER has become such an underground kvlt sensation.

STEINEICHE only consists of four tracks yet reaches the whopping running time of over 72 minutes! Wow! Two tracks along exceed 20 minutes and the shortest is 11 and a half. To be honest that’s only true on the first CD-R as all the following releases removed the track “Déjà Vu” which didn’t fit the plan after Wintherr constructed a thematic approach which continues to link his albums together even to the modern day. Technically the music of each album tells a different story about a realm known as PAYSAGE D’HIVER with each track adding a different dimension to the story but when all is said and done that’s mumbo jumbo because if you’re in it for the creepy lo-fi black metal fix then these narratives don’t really add much IMHO. The secret of PAYSAGE D’HIVER is to construct side by side tracks of black metal and dark ambient which could theoretically be separate tracks but work so much better together.

The opening “Baumfrau” hits the 20 minute mark and is the most aggressive track on board with ferocious high tempo black metal aggressiveness rampaging in tandem with darkened ambient sounds of winter. The lo-fi aspects keep this firmly planted in another dimension that is merely bleeding through but never quite accessible in full spectrum. The music is vicious and perfectly depicts the cruel brutality of a frigid winter and its unforgiving punishing persistence. “Baummann” offers a slower funeral doom metal side of the black metal universe with the atmospheric ambience dominating while funeral dirge-like riffs echo in tortuous glee as nature and the underworld plot to bring the living to its knees. Once again Wintherr knows how long he can milk any particular motif and subtly changes things up without sullying the atmospherically bleak procession into the abyss.

“Der Baum” is the lengthiest track which almost hits the 25 minute mark. Beginning with a creepy synth marching along it takes several minutes before a demonic voice whispers from the netherworld however it’s unclear what frightful utterances emerge. This one requires a bit more patience as the dungeon synth drones on for a good long time but just as it sounds like it’s about to fade into oblivion around the 18 minute mark the percussive march of ambience transmogrifies into a swirling vortex of ambient bliss as if your consciousness has been lifted into the astral planes at least the shadowy regions where the light is in short supply. However just when all hope is lost, angelic voices emerge from the misty sonic brume and sheds a glimmer of hope and the track ends its 24 minute ambience in a completely unexpected way without a lick of black metal to be heard.

While the track “Déjà Vu” has been removed from STEINEICHE after the first CD-R, somehow i feel compelled to include it simply because it was originally part of the master plan before a larger picture started to emerge in Wintherr’s agenda. This song is based on a David Crosby song titled “Orleans” and possibly titled after the famous Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young album. Yeah it takes six minutes of howling wind and creepy synth notes to begin the song but finally it begins and i couldn’t agree more that this track totally didn’t belong on this album. So after this one is nixed from the mix the album is only 60 minutes long on other releases other than the first however it’s not a bad track at all. Burzum seems to be a favorite of atmospheric black metal buffs and although i do like the early albums, his style has never grabbed me substantially. Personally i prefer PAYSAGE D’HIVER who picked up Burzum’s style as he sat in his prison cell and ran away with it. While this debut tends to get ignored, i actually love this one quite a bit. True it’s not an every day occasion when i wanna sit back and soak in bleakness but when i do, STEINEICHE.


Album · 2001 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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Another winter, another Paysage d'Hiver album/demo to analyze. Today, we have Winterkälte from 2001. Like the rest of the band's releases, Winterkälte is very unique in its delivery of winter themed black metal. However, one thing to note is that there's a few bits of material that sound like a precursor to Tobias Mockl's group project Darkspace, whose debut demo was released just a year later. This foreshadowing is really shown off on "Ich Schreite", "Eintritt in die Sphaeren", and "Finsternis". The music throughout the album though still retains the raw winter production Paysage d'HIver is known for and is also more minimalistic than Darkspace by not having as nearly as much variations in the riffs. The biggest comparison though comes from the lower tuning which makes the music sound even darker and colder as if the blizzard was happening at night, further supported by the excess of wind samples throughout the album.

Like the rest of the Paysage d'Hiver discography, the songs on Winterkälte all have their own style. The track list starts out strong with "Ich Schreite", a fast tempo track that eventually winds down to acoustic guitar strumming in the outer 9 minutes. "Ich Starre" starts out with the same opening notes, but is much slower and works as a nice outro of sorts for the previous song; a dreary calm after the storm if you will. Unfortunately, these two tracks are the high point of this release.

"Einsamkeit" is only wind samples and choral "oh"s, which would be fine if it was seven minutes shorter. But those last 7 minutes have no choral "oh"s. Just wind. After that is "Winter", probably the biggest disappointment on the release. Despite being 20 minutes in length, it's primarily the same mid-tempo riff with very little variation. There is a pause with wind samples and flute along with some keyboard ambiance, but afterward it returns to the same riff. Some more keyboards are thrown in but they don't do much to save the song.

The remaining two tracks, "Eintritt in die Sphaeren" and "Finsternis", are both faster tracks with decent amounts of variation that help end the album on a positive note. The album as a whole though falls among Paysage d'Hiver's weaker releases. The biggest problem is that it's fucking long. In particular, the wind samples stick around longer than they need to. Wintherr, you're a black metal musician, not a person who does field recordings.

Despite its self-indulgence, Winterkälte is still worth a listen for people already into Paysage d'Hiver. It really needs to be shorter though; "Winter" should have been condensed and "Einsamkeit" needs to have the last several minutes cut off. "Die Baumfrau" from Steineiche was perfect and even "Welt aus Eis" from the self-titled release had a sense of movement so Wintherr is capable of making long tracks work, and in the future he does so in both Paysage d'Hiver and Darkspace. Winterkälte was re-released in 2010 with ten minutes taken off of the total release length though, so I advise you to get your hands on that version instead.



Album · 2007 · Metal Related
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Though known for a blend of synthesised ambient music, wintry sound effects and black metal, Paysage d'Hiver has been known from time to time to drop the black metal from the equation for a more "Winter Synth" style - it happened on Die Festung, and it happens again here on Einsamkeit. Here, the sound effects are even more prominent, and listening to this album becomes reminiscent of hearing a distant, siren-like call appealing to you from across a snowy wasteland. Fans of Tobias' use of synthesiser and ambient influences in Paysage's more metal works might want to try this on for size.


Album · 1999 · Non-Metal
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At least one blogger refers to this stuff as "Winter Synth" - by analogy to the Dungeon Synth works produced by artists such as Mortiis (during Era I) and Wongraven - a comparison which is rather apt. The material is somewhat analagous to Dungeon Synth stuff since in both cases you are dealing with a musician with a background in black metal (not that all dungeon synth artists are black metallers, but the first wave generally were) dipping into dark ambient material produced on electronic instruments, but there's also stylistic differences. Dungeon synth stuff, for instance, tends to want to try and establish a quasi-medieval atmosphere and mimic medieval instrumentation, and doesn't show much influence from the wider world of ambient music.

Conversely, on Die Festung Paysage d'Hiver show the influence of electronic predecessors such as Klaus Schulze or early Tangerine Dream. The synthesisers are not afraid to sound like synthesisers here, but they're still channelled towards evoking a particular wintery atmosphere. Cold, almost unearthly - like a familiar landscape transformed by a fall of snow - the album is a fine piece of atmospheric background music.


Album · 2004 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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With its cover depicting Wintherr (AKA Tobias Möckl) bearing a torch in the moony twilight - reminiscent of such classic black metal cover art as that of Darkthrone's run from A Blaze In the Northern Sky to Transilvanian Hunger, or Mayhem's Live In Leipzig - you might expect Nacht to be a back-to-basics album for Paysage d'Hiver, returning to a sound focused on classic black metal. Whilst the black metal side of Paysage's sound is more prominent and more vicious here than it's been for a while, and there's a lo-fi aesthetic reminiscent of the kvltest of black metal to the recording, at the same time this is still the melange of ambient winter moods and black metal eruptions from Paysage we know and love, this time built around long, epic compositions. Great stuff, as usual.

PAYSAGE D'HIVER Movies Reviews

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