Dec 5, 2020

Paysage d'Hiver - Schnee

This year will be a year to remember for many reasons. Little events happened in the scene that surprised me, and one of them was the exposure Paysage d'Hiver got worldwide with their album Im Wald. If you dare to call this the project's debut because it's a full length then you haven't spent serious time with the band, whereas the fact that they actually released and EP (!) in the same year is much more surprising. As a fan for several years now, I lean a bit on the negative side about Im Wald and not because of the popularity it got, but that's for a different post that will probably never come.

On the other hand, here is a collection of tracks that I previously hadn't thought needed to be gathered in a single release. Schnee is a compilation of tracks the self-titled tracks (I) to (IV), composed in a time period between the early 00's and late 10's, specifically "Schnee (IV)" was featured in the 2017 split with Drudkh, a breathtaking mini-album also for a different post. Considering that another compilation was released in 2020, we faced quite some activity from Paysage d'Hiver in 2020, who started off the year with a blast with the live show (remember) in late January and the early distribution of the full length there.

The process of listening to this band is like a patient exploration. It insists upon the subjects it touches for more than twenty years now, so there has to be some serious filtering of material in order to maintain a relevance. Paysage d'Hiver have achieved that in a remarkable manner so far, maybe not totally but mostly. I don't know if Wintherr planned this all along, but the sequence of the four "Schnee" tracks is brilliant, and also plainly describes, the most vital source of influence of the band, in its simplest word. To be a bit clearer, only through exploration one can discover the magnificent guitar part in the middle of "Schnee (I)", which comes at a point when the listener has assumed he has heard everything.

From the four tracks, "Schnee (II)" is definitely the hardest hitting, which is also the shortest composition at only ten minutes. All the main elements of the band are present, from the wind samples to the monotonous, lethargic riffs, distant shrieks and some beautiful clean singing during the opening of the compilation. I didn't need to be reminded of how majestic "Schnee (IV)" is as it was already under frequent spins, but I'm pointing out again how amazing it is. The cover of Schnee might be the same photograph as the cover of the band's split with Nordlicht, where "Schnee (III)" is featured. 

I never expected such an act to attract attention outside of the underground, and a little breakthrough was made with Im Wald. Things are changing as we speak, and this compilation offers a fine dose of Paysage d'Hiver's talent that works as a silent reminder not to neglect the past, when taking steps ahead. Schnee comes in an elegant black envelope, with gentle engravings on the side, on a delicate A5 digibook, proving how this is a jewel not only for its music. 

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