Written by: Izzy
Black metal since its very inception has excelled in creating metals darkest and coldest soundscapes, influenced as much by the frozen winds of Norway as by the raw and satanic thrash and death metal that preceded it. I think few bands have truly captured that purest essence of chilling lo-fi atmosphere as effectively as Paysage d’Hiver.
Wintherr’s music is instantly recognizable even amongst a vast sea of similar raw black metal bands who still follow in the footsteps of the OG Nordic scene. This distinct but simplistic approach of evil, foreboding chords, dark ambient and dungeon synths, and his iconic distorted vocals manages to always deliver something I enjoy.
While I didn’t exactly get the hype behind their last project under the Paysage d’Hiver moniker, the two hour long “debut album” Im Wald, I still found a lot to enjoy about it and hoped those ideas would be expanded upon with his next project. This was not the case.
Geister has very little in common with Im Wald, outside of Wintherr’s musical trademarks. It detours away from any use of synths or long ambient interludes up until the closing track, and instead goes all-in on creating foreboding and heavy riffs that allow repetition to worm their icy harmonies into your head. This can be a pro and a con. If you love your black metal with few frills and plenty of material to headbang along with, or are a huge fan of Paysage d’Hiver’s previous minimalist, doomy, riff-centred albums like Schattengang, then this is probably amazing to you, and while I do appreciate meat and potatoes, I think Geister is a little too stripped back for my tastes.
I don’t have any major grievances with the material here--it’s excellent black metal and a return to form that succeeds at exactly what it wants to do, but it’s also more of the same, and after a dozen demos/albums spanning over a two decade career, it’s not quite enough to truly leave me feeling satisfied. I guess I was hoping for a little more, y’know? I wouldn’t have even minded another dungeon synth release like Feistung, something to keep my on my toes, but Geister delivers exactly what you’d expect: a 70 minute slab of raw blackened riffage (with a quaint dark ambient outro). it also doesn’t do anything that surprises or excites, it sets out to do one thing and one thing only, and whether you like it or not will depend entirely on if you've been looking for more of that one thing.
Paysage d’Hiver - Geister was released April 23rd, 2021 via Kunsthall Produktionen.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!