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Cold vs leaving one cold - 60%

Wilytank, January 31st, 2018

Two bands from the Alps that love winter imagery. It's kinda disappointing that this is what draws Paysage d'Hiver and Vinterriket together. At the time, neither were particularly popular, but the former project has aged so much more gracefully than the latter. It's not uncommon that two-band splits tend to have one band outshining the other, but the two tracks shown here are basically polar opposites.

At this point in his career, Wintherr of Paysage d'Hiver has already put out a large number of his demos most of which are rightfully idolized still today by the third-wave black metal audience. "Schnee" is a 16 and a half minute long piece that sounds like it was written from around the same time as the self-titled demo. And although it's a standalone piece, it's actually one of Wintherr's best songs he's written. It's very guitar oriented with no audible keyboards except the beginning and very end of the song. The only curveball he throws is the clean vocals thrown in, but they fit in well. The song progresses excellently as the tempo climbs gradually up to typical Paysage d'Hiver fuzzy blizzard riff and then back down to finish the song. It's an excellent track and, unfortunately, the only one of two good ones on this split.

Vinterriket is the less reputable of the two and his black metal material isn't nearly as mindblowing. Actually, that's an understatement. His solo black metal material is actually pretty bad. However, he does have some very good ambient material including the entirety of the Lichtschleier and has provided some very strong keyboard contributions lately to the American black metal band Battle Dagorath. For this split, he contributes the track "Das Winterreich". It's much slower and kinda more night time-y, and its a lot more focused on the keyboards. Unfortunately, this is the track that brings this split down. It has a lot of what makes Vinterriket unlistenable. Not only is it monotonous compared to the Paysage d'Hiver's track, the vocals are very obnoxious and the production makes the drums and even the keyboards sound extremely robotic. This track is annoying.

This split's bands might share a theme, but Paysage d'Hiver is on another level of quality than Vinterriket. The LP might be worth tracking down due to its rarity, but only half of it is worth listening to. Just snag a download of "Schnee" somewhere and move on.

Two perfect bands. - 98%

giganticbrain, July 16th, 2008

It seems like a perfect match: Paysage d'Hiver and Vinterriket. Two amazing ambient black metal bands centered around the lonliness and desolation of winter. And both of these bands use this freezing cold season as a reason to make heartbreakingly beautiful ambient music paired up with soul-crushing black metal.

Although these two bands are very similar, they can be very different. For example, Paysage d'Hiver doesn't have the same recording quality as Vinterriket. But it nowhere near takes away from the ghostly music produced by this band. The song Schnee fades in with very melodic guitar work, unlike anything I've ever heard by Paysage d'Hiver before, layered with a very fitting acoustic guitar part. Its pretty peaceful at the beginning. That changes all too soon. But what comes next is a prize itself. Wintherr was able to pull off using clean vocals and his very wretched vocals at the same time. Very black metal, and kind of epic at the same time. It goes on with this type of black metal for quite some time. Then at the end, it goes back to what the beginning was like. The guitars fade out, leaving behind the acoustic part and synths. A great way to wrap up a song.

Vinterriket's contribution to this album is one to behold. Das Vinterreich is quite possibly the best Vinterriket song I have heard in a long time. It succsefully pulls off black metal and ambient at the same time, and is still heartbreakingly beautiful. It opens up with these sad (maybe even desolate) synths that fade in. Soon, heavy guitars come in playing along with the synths, making the synths the heart of the song, not the guitar work, which is something I haven't seen in a while. After the depressing synths + guitar end in comes a mroe folk inspired riff. Very, very enjoyable. But this isn't the part that makes me love this song so much. After it, Christoph Ziegler turned it into a trip-hop song, but only for about 30-60 seconds. He had a folky synth in the background, with hip-hop drums. Normally, I would shun this song for eternity, but it just pulls this whole song together. He was able to execute this trip-hop as well as Sun of the Sleepless in his song "Nuenter November". I wish to hear more of this in the future, but done even better.

As a closure, this album is a win. And it's simple. Each band has one track that are both just over 16 minutes long. I wish that Vinterriket and Paysage d'Hiver do another split sometime soon. That'd be a site of epic gandeur.