Paysage d'Hiver
Winterkaelte


5.0
classic

Review

by Kyle Ward STAFF
December 19th, 2008 | 231 replies | 24,933 views


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist


Amidst a sheer wall of noise and minimalistic ambiance, Paysage d'Hiver somehow manage to craft some of the most captivating and engrossing black metal in the world today. It's raw and brazen but still dynamic and willing to shift its weight around to cover a multitude of different influences. Paysage d’Hiver is French for “Landscape of Winter”, a title befitting of everything the band has released, but it's much more than that, too. It's not simply rawness for the sake of being considered respectable, it's actually a worthwhile attribute to the aura of the album that simply wouldn't be the same had the production been even slightly more clean.

To describe what exactly Winterkalte is like to listen to is an irrational thing to do. There are many ways to describe what the music sounds like, yes, but that is missing half the point. Amidst the confusion of fuzzy guitars, treble-laden riffs and crashing cymbals there is something more, something which really must be heard at the right place at the right time to really understand. Winterkalte certainly isn’t an album you listen to often. It isn’t something you put on for one track, and then go along with whatever you were doing. No, Winterkalte is one of those albums which you simply must listen to in its entirety. It is a mix of some of the most aggressive black metal ever recorded and an alarmingly precise realization of the atmosphere it was written to convey. The entire thing is, upon first listen, chunked into sections of literally relentless walls of noise and calming ambiance. The guitars are muffled, horribly under-produced, damn near unintelligible, yet uniquely black metal. Couple this with a scream frightful enough to make Abbath and Horgh realize how much of a joke they are, and you have something which fits perfectly with the instrumentation here.

The album has a really interesting ability to leave you with no solid memory of any of the guitar riffs played. They are unique, yes, and even borderline melodic (see the riff in “Eintritt In Die Sphaeren...” at about 3:20) but somehow never really stick with you. The drumming is nothing but a distant crashing; a crashing of cymbals, along with the repeated snare strikes which roll at a consistently hurried pace. The pace is virtually unrelenting; even when everything slows down a bit the overwhelmingly claustrophobic feeling of the music remains, even stronger than before. While all this is going on the vocals are letting out shriek after shriek somewhere behind the guitars and the repeated snare barrage.

Being as bleak as possible is an uncanny ability which Winterkalte uses countless times during its hour and a half running time. Its atmosphere is, unlike an overwhelming majority of black metal bands, a crucial part to the overall ebb and flow of the album. The entire thing is centered on the unrivaled solitude surrounding winter, something which is apparent nearly instantly. It’s also present as the music shifts between the black metal assault and the very calming ambient sections. It may sound unnecessary and downright stupid, but the 15 minute track “Einsamkeit...” is devoted to nothing but the ambient aspect of the album, giving the listener both a well-earned break but also a moment to reflect on how cohesive Winterkalte manages to be, despite the opposite spectrum which each aspect of the music embodies. A vast majority of this ambiance is the sound of a cold wind and what sounds to be self-recorded clips of boots crunching through deep snow. Normally this would be absurdly pretentious, but somehow it is an integral part to what Winterkalte is as a whole composition.

What is also interesting is how much the album grew on me, considering my past experiences with Paysage d’Hiver have been fairly neutral. Winterkalte is most definitely a stark contrast to his self-titled demo, not in musical style but in lasting power. Winterkalte is one of those albums which you will find yourself wanting to listen to every night, yet you can’t explain why. None of the guitar riffs are memorable, the production is horrible (even for black metal standards), the music is headache-inducing at points, but it is just nothing short of the perfect black metal album. This is the music which many bands dream about writing, it is a quintessential piece of music for those who just want more out of the genre than silly cliches and the same old Satanist bull ***. You could easily say that Paysage d’Hiver embodies many of these cliches, but the way the music gets to your mind is something which certainly is not. It is that album which you simply cannot hum, head bang, or air guitar to. No, this is that album which you cannot remember when you want to. Winterkalte is an album which just lingers there, being a release which you cannot remember, yet cannot get out of your head.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
robin
Emeritus
December 19th 2008



4248 Comments


i'll have to look out for this, nice stuff.

Mendigo
December 19th 2008



2299 Comments


sounds very interesting.
btw, Winterkaelte (or Winterklte) means "coldness of winter", and the English song titles are:
I screamed...
I stare...
Loneliness...
Winter... haha
Entering the Spheres...
Darkness...

Athom
Staff Reviewer
December 19th 2008



17204 Comments


I cant get past the production on this. Its aggressively bad.This Message Edited On 12.19.08

Wizard
December 19th 2008



19335 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The album has a really interesting ability to leave you with no solid memory of any of the guitar riffs played. They are unique, yes, and even borderline melodic (see the riff in “Eintritt In Die Sphaeren...” at about 3:20) but somehow never really stick with you. The drumming is nothing but a distant crashing; a crashing of cymbals, along with the repeated snare strikes which roll at a consistently hurried pace. The pace is virtually unrelenting; even when everything slows down a bit the overwhelmingly claustrophobic feeling of the music remains, even stronger than before. While all this is going on the vocals are letting out shriek after shriek somewhere behind the guitars and the repeated snare barrage.


This is a rasputin review summarized into an epic review by Crysis hahaha.

Finally, glad to see you aren't going with the trends Crysis ;). I've heard samples from this album and I want it real bad.This Message Edited On 12.19.08

Digging: YOB - Clearing The Path To Ascend

OllieS
December 19th 2008



2030 Comments


Awesome review, doubt I'll ever check this out though.

rotterdog
December 19th 2008



488 Comments


I really like this review. Especially the last sentence:

"Winterkalte is an album which just lingers there, being a release which you cannot remember, yet cannot get out of your head."

rasputin
December 19th 2008



14538 Comments


I guess I should check this out.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
December 19th 2008



16310 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ya Rasputin I guess you should :thumb:

Hawks
December 19th 2008



35624 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I've been trying to find some stuff by this band for a long time. I think I really need to hear this.

Digging: Engraved - Before The Tales

Pebster49
December 19th 2008



2991 Comments


i don't see this as a 5, the drumming is repetative, the production is really bad and hurts the atmosphere. The guitars are very good but you can hardly hear them at all. I like the vocals but its way to high in comparison to the music behind it

Commortus
December 19th 2008



237 Comments


you do a good job of describing the sound of this album but a bad job of describing the impact that this album has on you.

Essence
December 19th 2008



3583 Comments


I've been trying to find ANYTHING by these guys, legally and otherwise, and it's goddamn impossible.

TricksterGRex
December 19th 2008



2087 Comments


Ebay for legally, Google for otherwise.

Essence
December 19th 2008



3583 Comments


OH I GET IT LOL


Wow Crysis is right, not for pussies.This Message Edited On 12.19.08

TricksterGRex
December 19th 2008



2087 Comments


It's not that inaccessible, especially by black metal standards.

Essence
December 19th 2008



3583 Comments


Hmm, those album links are only giving me the first song.

Wizard
December 19th 2008



19335 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i don't see this as a 5, the drumming is repetative, the production is really bad and hurts the atmosphere. The guitars are very good but you can hardly hear them at all. I like the vocals but its way to high in comparison to the music behind it


We don't like black metal now, do we?

I was hooked the moment I heard this.



TricksterGRex
December 19th 2008



2087 Comments


Same. Whenever I listen to this I get a huge stiffy.

Wizard
December 19th 2008



19335 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well, I don't think black metal puts me in that type of mood, but whatever floats your boat hahaha.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
December 20th 2008



16310 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Glad you guys like this. Jack, I found this in 2 minutes using google blog search.This Message Edited On 12.20.08



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