Review Summary: Десь блукає журба / Schnee IV
Some heretics falsely claim that seasonal changes are caused by the Earth’s heliocentric revolution through the cosmos. If you’ve ever considered that assertion dubious then prepare for validation, because in a truly conspiratorial fashion Drudkh and Paysage d’Hiver provide undeniable evidence of just who really
holds dominion over these quarterly transitions. In a display more autumnal than even the cover suggests, Drudkh set the record straight with a melody-centric exploration of crisp leaves and warm colour palettes. The Ukrainian quartet achieve perfect zen within the mix, managing an organic balance between full-bodied black metal instrumentation and the obfuscating grit that serves their atmospheric nature. Curiously this side of the split reveals a bass register reliance one mightn’t expect from a sub-genre so enamoured with an undeniable treble-fetish – however, the truly interesting quirk tucked away in Drudkh’s opening track ‘All Shades of Silence’ is the sizeable ambient break in the centre. Evidently all it takes to be plucked from lonely Autumn woods and tossed into the isolating vacuum of space is a surprisingly smooth transition, something Drudkh handle with expert ease. Elsewhere, they employ perhaps my favourite manifestation of the atmospheric black metal style, featuring a relentless rhythmic foundation adorned with high-pitched guitar riffs serving as the main melodic force. Inevitably, however, the days grow colder...
As an emissary for the first new Paysage d’Hiver material in quite some time, iconic ambient wind courtesy of the one-man-juggernaut himself introduces the monolithic ‘Schnee IV’ and steals the Earth from the previous season's grasp. After immediately setting the tone for the tumultuous walls of tremolo picking and muffled double bass to follow, the previously desolate forests of Fall are descended upon by a snow-storm tsunami, becoming entirely blanketed beneath the dense powder accompanying Winter’s arrival. Waves of intersecting riffs coalesce and pulse with the energy of a living entity, represented clearly through a slicker production than is usual from Wintherr. Expectedly, the Swiss orchestrater of this display proves his mastery over enveloping atmospheres like no-one else, with countless minute details captured and smothered by the auditory avalanche. Regardless of whether your allegiance lies within the yellowed foliage of Autumn or the frozen tundras of Winter, Somewhere Sadness Wanders / Schnee (IV)
is an unmissable coalition of the two.