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Decent dark ambient - 60%

Pestbesmittad, March 9th, 2008

Vinterriket’s first full-length consists of seven tracks (eight on the reissue I’m reviewing) of instrumental dark ambient music and no metal at all. I think this one is decent if you look at Christoph’s ambient recordings, since the music is definitely more varied than some of Vinterriket’s other ambient stuff. You see, Christoph has a tendency to write ambient stuff that tends too much towards minimalism for my taste.

At its best this album emits an otherworldly distant darkness and you can just let yourself go with the music and let your mind wander. However, parts of the album still remain too minimalist and aren’t able to keep my interest. Some tracks would’ve benefited from more variation and shorter length. Sometimes the music reminds me a lot of early Mortiis stuff (the three first albums) and the keyboard parts of Summoning, especially when it comes to some of the melodies. A little percussion (courtesy of a drum machine) is used on some tracks but the majority is pure synth music.

Tracks like “Visionen Nächtlicher Fluten”, “Im Sog Der Feuer des Schicksals” and “Raben Über dem Grab der Vollendung” have quite a lot of variation in them and these are consequently my favourite tracks. In these tracks, the simple keyboard soundscapes are contrasted with some varied melodies, thereby being able to hold my interest. However, I still have to point out that if a track like “Im Sog Der Feuer des Schicksals” would have been shortened to half its length (it’s 11:47 minutes long) it would be even more effective than it is now. At 7:08 a drum machine kicks in playing a few tom patterns only to stop after a while, as new keyboard passages come in. The part with the drum machine could have lasted a bit longer, as it brought some much-needed variation.

The most boring songs on this album are “Kosmische Schattenspiele” and “Die Ruinen des Jenseits”. They are too simple, too long and too repetitive overall to give me any great feelings. As an example of a rather good simple and repetitive track I can mention “Boten der Rückkehr”, which at 5:38 also is the shortest (and darkest) track on the album. “Zurück Blieb nur die Ewige Schwärze” is a borderline case. On one hand it’s quite repetitive but during the last three minutes of the song there’s a drum machine accompanying the synths. This does wonders, as the music becomes much more lively. I wish there would have been more parts like this.

A point worth mentioning is that on this album Christoph hadn’t yet started to use the “huge white cumulus cloud” keyboard sound that characterises many of his latter releases such as e.g. “Landschaften Ewiger Einsamkeit”, “Der letzte Winter - Der Ewigkeit entgegen” and “Gebirgshöhenstille”. With the exception of the opening track, the music of this album has a warmer and somewhat softer a feel to it than the cold atmosphere of Vinterriket’s latter recordings. The bonus track “Stille I” sounds much more like contemporary Vinterriket though. This track is a drifting ode to the winter nightsky, with its millions of stars staring back when you look up at it. Also this track could indeed use more variation but the nice piano part in the middle makes up for a lot. Unless you totally dislike ambient, this album is worth checking out both for Vinterriket fans and others who like to listen to some rather enjoyable atmospheric synth music.

Not interesting... - 1%

Ad_van_den_Boom, April 12th, 2005

This is not metal. I have a split of Vinterriket with Paysage d’hiver and although Paysage d’hiver is by far the better of the two (brilliant actually!!!), the one song by Vinterriket on that split “Das Winterreich” is quite interesting. It has distorted guitars and a black scream and reminds me a bit of (old) Empyrium, also hailing from Germany (like Vinterriket).

But then this full-length cd: I should have read the reviews below better before purchasing it, cause I do not like (most) ambient stuff, especially not when it is this simple and boring. My purpose is not to slash this band or argue the reviewers below, I just want to warn Black Metal maniacs that this is NOT black metal. When all other Vinterriket stuff is like this, they shouldn’t even be on the archives…

The keyboard tones are very simple, monotonous and one-dimensional. I do not feel anything when hearing the sounds. Even my girlfriend asked if I could stop this cd (and she is definitely into Empyrium by example) because she couldn’t stand it and she is a pianoplayer…

I didn’t ask her opinion, but I, as a non-musician, consider this childish synth sounds. I do not see landscapes when listening to this, only in the nice booklet. The music is far from haunting. So, I am sorry, but only one point, for the booklet…
Maybe when you like the Burzum albums AFTER “Filosofem”, this is for you?

Vinterriket - ...und die Nacht kam Schweren - 80%

vorfeed, May 11th, 2004

Artist: Vinterriket
Album Title: ...und die Nacht kam schweren Schrittes
Label: Parasite Records/Regimental Records

This is not metal, but rather dark ambient, somewhat similar to Perunwit.

You'll find no guitar here, only keyboards and found sounds. These songs are generally quite slow in pacing, with sweeping progressions that call to mind underwater geological processes. This is not to say that this is a boring album - while I do find many releases in this style boring and repetitive, Vinterriket avoids this curse entirely.

In fact, this album is far darker in atmosphere than many black metal releases. What it lacks in aggression, it makes up for in sheer intensity of emotion. Each song evokes a different mood, yet they also blend neatly into one long soundscape, making this one of those rare albums that you can truly listen to as a whole. On top of that, there isn't a contrived moment to be found on this album. Every note seems to flow naturally from the last, yet the songs don't seem overly predictable.

This album almost always puts me in a contemplative mood, and the atmosphere it creates is so strong that it can easily overcome minor distractions. As such, the album is conducive to thoughtful work or introspection, yet it's also worthy of one's full attention.

Those who enjoy the Pagan ambient style should seek this out... and those metal fans not averse to different musical styles should, also.

Review by Vorfeed: http://www.vorfeed.net