Paysage d'Hiver - Die Festung
May 26, 2020
Black metal artists incorporating elements of ambient into their works isn't uncommon. Most good black metal outfits do this on most of their releases in order to create an effective atmosphere and not just sound like the usual raw heaviness for the sake of raw heaviness that a ton of other black metal artists cling to. However, something you don't see everyday is a black metal artist ditching the distorted, down-tuned instruments and making a straight-up ambient album.

Something that I feel makes Paysage d'Hiver stick out from most other black metal bands is his willingness to change up his sound completely. Wintherr seems to always enjoy experimenting with his music, seeing which sound would be most effective for a wintry atmosphere. So when you get to an album like Die Festung, you shouldn't be too surprised to find it so drastically different from anything else he's done, and yet it really is a surprising release. When you think of black metal, you think of really derivative stuff, just the same thing over and over again, and rarely ever such a sudden and huge change in sound. Really, a sound like this shouldn't work well at all, and yet it does.

While I don't think this dungeon synth sound is the best thing Wintherr has ever done, nor is it the most effective at building up the atmosphere he wanted to build, it's certainly a refreshing sound from the usual and a good one. I personally found it to be very reminiscent of many B-list horror movie soundtracks. I mean, obviously a dungeon synth album is going to be very similar to other dungeon synth albums seeing as there isn't much you can do with such a limited genre, but this sound really is something you would expect to hear from someone like Fabio Frizzi. It's just really eerie despite its lighter sound, and captures any sense of horror or terror well despite it not necessarily being horrific or terrifying. It's just a very good ambient, dungeon synth album, one that utilizes its atmosphere really well and one that, I feel, would be perfect for a horror movie soundtrack. Die Festung certainly isn't one of Paysage d'Hiver's best outings, but it's one of his most experimental and admirable.

Favourite Tracks: König Winter; Schneekönigen; Eishalle

Least Favourite Track: Prinz Frost

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