Review Summary: All about atmosphere...
That being said, this music is all about repetition and atmosphere and little about technicality, individual riffs and melodies, or indeed even solely the musical aspect of Paysage d'Hiver. PdH is one of those bands where the concept is either hit or miss, you connect with the musics themes and ideas or you don't (which offers a perfectly fine and legitimate explanation as to why someone would rate this low). I find myself able to connect with the music and the whole aesthetical concept of PdH, and write my review in a way that assumes that the reader may potentially understand the music as well.
The songs are very basic, drumming shows little signs of life besides a droning pound that soon engraves itself into the back of the production. Guitars are a blaze of sound without a discernible shape to them that would lend them the ability to play a distinct melody. Everything drones and repeats quite a bit, and only the vocals and synth provide the variation needed to not make this something that would indeed be boring. All the elements together make this album full enough to be able to convey the emotions and ideas put into it.
The main concepts of course are winter and darkness, and the music provides a platform to meditate on these concepts. If one can understand this link of what the music means in relation to the concept of PdH, then the music will immediately make more sense. One will come to realize that this particular music is music to think and even dream upon. It opens up the imagination and paints landscapes of darkness and snow. That is why the repetition and steady droning of the guitars is essential. It is so that there will be no sudden in jolt to ones thoughts. The only breaks appear in between songs, during which some ambient noises can be heard before fading into the next droning song.
Those familiar only with the ambient work of Wintherr might dismiss this at first, but in essence both styles of PdH ultimately achieve the same end of creating an immense atmosphere. The only difference is that the black metal side of PdH is considerably harder to appreciate at first, because it is far less melodic and calm than the ambient works. Highly recommended as music to listen to while relaxing or before sleeping, but not as black metal that is played in the background or in an environment where it is secondary, because this music demands your attention!