Review by Daniel for Paysage d'Hiver - Winterkaelte (2001)
Swiss atmospheric black metal solo project Paysage d'Hiver may be most well known for his 1999 self-titled demo however I've always questioned the validity of that particular release being his crowning achievement as I don't rate it amongst Wintherr's strongest material. 2020's epic "Im Wald" release is still my favourite after the second hour absolutely blew me away me away however 2001's "Winterkaelte" isn't far behind as it possesses one of the purest frost-bitten Scandinavian atmospheres you'll ever hear & doesn't taint it with ill-fitting clean instrumentation nearly as regularly as the self-titled.
This time we see Wintherr offering us six lengthy pieces that generally exceed the ten minute mark with the two strongest tracks opening proceedings. If you struggle with trance-inducing repetition then this won't be the release you're looking for but if you love nothing more than closing your eyes in pure darkness & being engulfed by a swarming mass of arctic winds then this will be right up your alley. The general ambience is further accentuated by well-executed field recordings that add further weight to the feelings of desolation & loneliness you'll inevitably be experiencing through the layers of guitars & distant drum pulses. It really does come at you in waves with Wintherr's insane screams being a real highlight. You would have to imagine that he would have completely burnt his voice out with this performance.
The last couple of tracks do see the quality dropping a touch which is mainly due to their faster tempos which see the drum machine becoming much more obvious & this element does take a little away from the atmosphere however it's not enough to see me pulled out of the foreign & intimidating place I've been transported to. The 79 minute run time is a little extreme too however the consistency of the tracklisting is excellent so it's very hard to argue against it, particularly when I don't have any problems taking in the whole release in one sitting.
All things considered, "Winterkaelte" is a glorious & majestic piece of black metal art that should captivate anyone regarding themselves as a black metal purist.
For fans of Burzum, ColdWorld & Darkspace.