Paysage d'Hiver - Im Wald
Apr 12, 2020 (updated Apr 13, 2020)
91
The overpowering of hell, the annihilation of heaven, as Satan fucks the Earth in half. The two-hour black metal epic that is Im Wald is the point of no return. Hide your kids, hide your wives!

My fellow reviewers will have to excuse me here, this is where I throw in the towel. It's been fun, it's been a pleasure listening to all this great new music and all, but I must admit that after several complete replays, this magnificent beast of a record has solidified its place. No other album this year I'd imagine could potentially top its pure grandeur and effective energy. Following Das Tor and 7 years of studio record silence, Paysage D'Hiver struck through with this leaked colossal project, one of Herculean measures, an epic culmination of Tobias' finest ambitions through over 20 years of experience. His most effective piece since 2001's Winterkaelte. Ultimately, Im Wald is a testament to phenomenal atmospheric black metal at its darkest, most crushing, visceral and enrapturing. As a proud fan of Paysage d'Hiver, it feels almost...unreal, seeing Tobias in top-notch form with such reveling performances after all these years. But lo and behold, we are witnessing some odd history, a warped timeline of larger-than-life metal comebacks and 4.00+ RYM scores!

The group, in actuality mainly a solo project, has been no stranger to the conspicuous, ever-so diverging landscape of black metal, standing firmly as one of the genre's most instantly recognizable figures. What makes the music especially preeminent though is the magic and ambience of Tobias Möckl's restless, dense, lo-fi compositions. One man handling all the instruments, composing all the devilish witchcraft behind the scenes. What is formulated, as the band's name itself suggests: Winter Landscape. An intensely chilling atmosphere, one which replicates the frigidness, anxiety, and spaciousness of walking through a cold, dark, empty forest at night in Arctic-like freezing temperatures. The sensation is numb and brutal, yet very natural and realistic. So brutal as if every step taken costs a limb. Haunting and devilish in the sense that a demented spirit tears from within as frostbite settles in and your limbs fall off.

Im Wald, a very lengthy experience, brings the best of two worlds, two especial styles that once defined Paysage D'Hiver's most iconic works (and my personal favs), their self-titled and Winterkaelte. The self-titled record explored the sombreness and tests the raw, petrifying force of the atmospheric black metal sound to its limits. Winterkaelte embraced the chilling ambience more prominently and incorporated nature into the band's musical fineprint, a choice that further strengthened the unnerving soundscapes. Combining these well-blemished sounds together, Im Wald stands clear as a harrowing, incredibly horrific hellhole that catches the listener's breath and repeatedly suffocates them.

Shorter ambient, spacious bits contrast glamorously with soaring, 10-minute+, black metal infernos. The goddamn turgidness and overblowing monstrosity that is the opening portion! "Im Winterwald", "Über den Bäumen" and the shorter ambient "Schneeglitzern" set the pace for the rest of the record: an experience of frigidness, devastation, unsettling eerieness and unintelligibility. The bustling instrumentation of "Alt" delivers a striking blow before transitioning into a dissonant "Wurzel", whose haunting medieval chorale seamlessly slips into the mythical, towering epic of "Stimmen im Wald", handily one of the band's best performances. Much like building blocks, Im Wald beholds more extremity towards its finishing half, a shocking hypnotic showing in the intense "Le rêve lucide" pairs well between more dampened, airy cuts rougher in sound: "Flug" and "Eulengesang", as well as with the thundering "Kälteschauer". A perplexing, glistening interlude makes way for an extraordinary, fiery last 30 minutes. "Weiter, immer weiter" and "So hallt es wider", the pinnacle of Paysage D'Hiver's brutal wintery energy fully condensed, yet uncut.

At last a grand musical apex, 7 years of silence has truly brought forth a virtuous Tobias Möckl, unhinged from creating what is bound to be one of the most evocative metal records to come this decade. Im Wald, I found to be something special. Horrific, overwhelming, strikingly chilling in just about every way, this may not be a fit record for softer ears, but my oh my, is it encapturing. Wrap yourself in its twisted forest, first you may feel its brutality, but past that, what may only be left is its intrinsic beauty.

Verdict: Metal so good, seems almost wicked to hear it all for free, let alone in a leaked version. Can't wait to blast on vinyl. Solid AOTY.

FAV TRACKS: Im Winterwald; Über den Bäumen; Schneeglitzern; Alt; Wurzel; Stimmen im Wald; Le rêve lucide; Eulengesang; Kälteschauer; Weiter, immer weiter; So hallt es wider

LEAST FAV TRACK: Flug
Inglume's Tags
8 Comments
Apr 13, 2020
2020 is over

There will be no more albums
Apr 13, 2020
"The overpowering of hell, the annihilation of heaven" No, really?
Apr 13, 2020
that first sentence is all kinds of what
Apr 13, 2020
Where the hell are you listening to this?
Apr 13, 2020
when does this come out?
Apr 13, 2020
@Toasterqueen12 Some odd metal torrent site. You're better off asking knewnie for this.
@ElectricMess The record's official release seems to have been delayed due to COVID-19 and production errors. If I have to guess, sometime in the later half of this year.
Apr 15, 2020
I was excited to listen to this, but I can't find it anywhere
Apr 26, 2020
Inglume's favorite album doesn't even exist. Thats how underground his music taste is
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