Tobias “Wintherr” Möckl has been releasing cold, raw, harsh black metal under the Paysage d'Hiver pseudonym since 1997, and bears the standard of Swiss underground metal. His more experimental side manifests in the cosmic explorations of Dark Space, leaving Paysage d'Hiver to the frigid wastelands in which black metal originated. He’s dropped music fairly consistently, so it’s a wonder he never dropped a full-length until 2020’s Im Wald: two hours of caustic, ambient hypnosis. Never one to slow down, Wintherr followed that up with an EP, two compilations, and now, Geister. Whether or not Paysage d'Hiver has reached artistic overload depends on the listener’s threshold for lo-fi, hypnotic noise.
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Geister is black metal at some of its most stark and unforgiving depths. Every one of these 11 songs is bookended by the same combination of howling winds, clanging noises, and piercing screams, which plays into black metal’s repetitive nature, along with its air of suffocating hatred. There’s a disturbingly clinical execution to Paysage d'Hiver’s sound, from the moment the mid-tempo blast and buzzsaw guitar kick in on “Schattä.” Wintherr has mastered the art of imbuing an unfriendly exterior with atmospheric, melodious brilliance. As simple and straightforward as they are, each riff manages to avoid wearing out its welcome.