Multi-instrumentalist Christoph Ziegler is the man behind the German Black Metal project known as Vinterriket, Swedish for "winter realm". Recommended to me by a friend it was something I already had in my collection from the days where Black Metal was all I would listen too. I didn't remember it particularly well and it hasn't suited my mood of late but I can appreciate the bleak workings of this lengthy record. At one hour its a pale, grim and gloomy affair that drones on with a calming, slightly dreading persuasion, as if being sucked into the grasp of ill fate. With short Dungeon Synth like intro and outros their is little respite from the dreary atmosphere, bar one interlude track and moments where the synth escapes the grisly guitar.
Its dimension is narrow and insular, fuzzy brittle guitars hiss away into the wall of sound engulfed by the deep and encompassing synths that conjure the shadowy atmosphere. The drums peter away smothered by the instrumentation, the vocals cut through the setting like a knife, Christoph's approach is much to my dissatisfaction. Dense, sharp screams are muzzled in distortion from peaking the microphone, they sound loud but are lowered greatly in the mix however their harsh abrasive nature and lack of any reverb has them sticking out like a sore thumb and dispelling the mood for me.
The songs are led through their moments by the synths, with the guitars descending into a drone much of what they do is compliment the synths through tone rather than composition. As a result these songs are very singular, linear, they follow the chord or note the synth lead. Occasionally a second line drops in or distant bells but its mostly constructed from one instance. The tone and pallet of the synths are ancient, nostalgic and mysterious, ripe for inspiring your imagination of what dark secrets lurk beyond its keep.
My enjoyment of this record was mixed, couldn't stand the vocals and the compositions were rather mediocre, the aesthetic wasn't especially fantastic either although it did feel unique and inspired. It isn't until the "Winternacht" tracks that my ears perked up and a couple of eerie melodies creep through on the organ like keys. I've not much else today, this one simply didn't click with me.