PAYSAGE D'HIVER — Winterkälte (review)

PAYSAGE D'HIVER — Winterkälte album cover Album · 2001 · Atmospheric Black Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
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.

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