It has become a normal combination in the black metal scene to make dark ambient music along with black metal. While some bands fail miserably (see Abruptum) others are more successful in their dark ambience (see Lurker of Chalice). I would like to think that Vinterriket is one of the better Black Metal/Ambient bands. Formed in late 90s Christoph Ziegler Vinterrikets lone member has released a ridiculous amount of cds. I don't know what the rest of his cds sound like but if they are all as good as Winterschatten that would be incredible.
It is a bit redundant to do the review track by track so instead I will review the album as one piece. It just first be observed that even though the album has 3 cds (why I don't know) it has a regular full-length running time. The style of Vinterrikets ambience reminds me a little bit of Windirs ambient parts. They have a type of electronic influence to them almost techno-ish. I will say however that these ambient parts have frozen cold atmospheres, much more so than any other band I have ever heard. The tonal quality of the synths alone is bone-chilling. The drumming on the cd seems to be programmed. There are extremely fast double bass parts and also ethnic bongos(?) in a few songs. The metal songs still incorperate synth but they also have vocals which the ambient tracks do not. The vocals sound a bit like Hvit Lyset Tar Oss-era Varg, except these vocals are completey in the background. It is absolutely impossible to understand anything. Nevertheless they enhance the general mood and are goo contributions to their song. The guitars are nothing out of the ordinary, sticking mainly with tremelo picking and power chords. I think what really makes this band so great are the synth parts. For an idea of their sound check out "Eisege Feuer" and "Das Ewige Eis". The songs do get a bit repetitive with strings being repeated a large amount of times befre the lead key parts come in. The lead parts are of course not technical, but some are only one note and still create an awesome atmosphere.
My recomendation would be, if you are a fan of black atmospheric keyboard stuff, then go out and get this. BE WARNED this is not happy melodic black metal keyboard wanking. I think it can be most compared to the atmosphere that Varg achieves in the beginning of Det Som Engang Var.
-Great general feel
-Vocals very low in the mix