Paysage d'Hiver - Im Wald review

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Band: Paysage d'Hiver
Album: Im Wald
Release date: June 2020

01. Im Winterwald
02. Über Den Bäumen
03. Schneeglitzern
04. Alt
05. Wurzel
06. Stimmen Im Wald
07. Flug
08. Le Rêve Lucide
09. Eulengesang
10. Kälteschauer
11. Verweilen
12. Weiter, Immer Weiter
13. So Hallt Es Wider

2020 is slowly reaching its end. In this hemisphere, the year of profound isolation will finish with the bitter taste of winter. Time shall tell if life's cold sleep will be eternal or if life will once again find its way out of the frostbitten soil. We are all wanderers, lost in the wilderness and solely armed with our own soundtracks of spiritual transformation. Im Wald is one of mine.

Paysage d'Hiver has been around for over two decades. As impressive as that can be, what is interesting to reflect on is what Wintherr has achieved during that time. Sure, the project did not get properly started before albums like, say, Hvis Lyset Tar Oss by Burzum But just a couple of years after that legendary album, Wintherr was releasing and working on albums that black metal bands could only dream to release: Vast, larger-than-life compositions of truly cold and unbelievably uncompromising black metal with dire lengths of almost 20 minutes each. It was unusual, brave and inspiring to so many modern bands. Another important factor is how the harshness of winter did not only find its way through abrasive black metal but also through deep, captivating and dreamy landscapes of ambient/synth luxury. Bands and projects of both old and new like Burzum or Wolves In The Throne Room have released synth-only albums as well, but certainly not as beautiful and exquisitely composed as Die Festung or Einsamkeit. Paysage d'Hiver is a well-known name in the underground scene, but I strongly feel Wintherr's reputation deserves an upgrade and Im Wald is a great way to start.

After so many albums the artist has classified as "demos", Im Wald reaches a culmination. It's a final frontier. The mountain's summit. A listener well-seasoned in the project's large catalogue should notice it too: Im Wald carries the ominous, doomy, threatening aura of old works like Steineiche or Schattengang with aggressive yet passionate walls of riffs. Delicate, yet oh so harsh leads and mournful melodies from the classic self-titled demo or Winterkälte are also present, while droning yet vibrant ambient passages like in Nacht or Kristall & Isa provide enough room for the listener to breath and take on the long journey. With this opus, the production is easily the best one the project has ever had, only comparable to his last work, Das Tor. But as Das Tor developed a taste for large, psychedelic synths that strongly reminded the listener of Winterr's other band, Darkspace, Im Wald takes a different approach, since the synths do not evoke the magnificent and mystic dread of the cosmos. Instead, these haunting melodies carry the weight of all unclaimed souls of men long lost amongst the unforgiving forces of nature: Ghostly, vengeful yet sorrowful choirs leading a fearful wanderer deep into the very eye of a snowstorm, screaming in ever-lasting horror.

Im Wald is an album that barely holds itself up as it is so close to collapse under its own weight, and that is the brilliant double-edge-sword nature of this album. Nevertheless, new-comers will find everything there is to love and contemplate about Paysage d'Hiver. Is it too loud and harsh? Yes it is. But that is the point of this journey: To endure and survive the worst nature has for us. Is it too long? Yes. But so is an unmerciful blizzard. Even though the listener can perfectly take on the album one half at a time it is so much more rewarding to let the mind be carried away and marvel at this grandiose, enticing landscape of winter.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 10


Written on 19.09.2020 by An extremely lazy reviewer but he's so cute you'd forgive him for it.


Comments: 4   Visited by: 119 users
19.09.2020 - 14:04
Silent Creeper
Senile Veteran
Nice review - I especially like the fact that you gave production a 10.
19.09.2020 - 14:06
I've been waiting for this.
Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That's an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.
22.09.2020 - 06:02
Lord Slothrop
First I've heard about this band, but I'm enjoying the album. It took me three listening sessions to get through it, but it was worth it.
23.09.2020 - 11:35
Mr. Doctor
Written by Lord Slothrop on 22.09.2020 at 06:02
First I've heard about this band, but I'm enjoying the album. It took me three listening sessions to get through it, but it was worth it.

Glad you thought so! It is indeed a long but very immersive journey. I highly recommend you the other releases that I referenced in this review. They are shorter and among the most well-known works by the project Specially Schattengang, the self-titled demo, Winterkälte, Das Tor and Kristall & Isa. Die Festung is also great if you are into pure ambient albums.
Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29
Like you could kiss my ass
Written by Milena on 20.06.2012 at 10:49
Rod, let me love you.

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