Vinterriket - Kaelte, Schnee Und Eis - Rekapitulation Der Winterszeit
Solitude Productions
Dark Ambient
8 songs (56:18)
Release year: 2007
Vinterriket, Solitude Productions
Reviewed by Goat

For all the atmospheric effect that keyboards can have if used well in Black Metal, it can be spoiled immediately if the band in question uses programmed rather than real drums. Vinterriket, a highly prolific one-man project from Germany, does that on this release, and this makes it that much harder to get into. There are approximately three Metal bands that are or were capable of using programmed drums without damaging the music as a result, and Vinterriket is not one of them. Considering all that’s required is the lightest of percussion to carry the surface keyboard swirls, you’d think the artist in question wouldn’t mind reaching into his pocket for enough to hire a drumkit. This is even more damning when you realise that the average Dark Ambient or Darkwave (whichever term is in vogue these days…) band’s percussive elements make Varg Vikernes sound like Flo Mounier in comparison.

Having said that, the music on this release (my introduction to Vinterriket) is actually rather good. If you can close your eyes and let the melodies carry you away, you’ll find that there’s a strong atmospheric element to the music, a depressive journey that eschews the usual Black Metal trudge over icy mountains in favour of an aerial flyover. The whispered vocals and occasional nature samples work wonders, giving you something to focus on and letting the keyboards work their magick in the background. Of course, in case you haven’t realised already, the keyboards drive the music – there are no guitars whatsoever to be found here.

Looking at the band’s discography, it’s hard to repress a cynical voice that wonders exactly how different each of Vinterriket’s releases are from each other. There’s an average six releases a year, of which at least one will be a full-length album. 2002 alone saw seventeen releases, and although sole member Christoph Ziegler hasn’t been able to replicate that since, there’s already a compilation, an EP and a full-length out this far in 2008. Of course, if you fall in love with this music from the outset this won’t be a problem, and the only restrictions on you will be the amount of time that you can spend on eBay hunting them down. Personally, although a little Vinterriket is fine, too much can become boring very quickly, and so this recommendation comes with a caution.

Killing Songs :
Aura II, Der Schrei Der Leere
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