Catching Up: Paysage d’Hiver, Serment, Somniate

There’s yet more June releases to talk about and back into the black reaches of metal we go. This selection features a contender for the Top 10 of the year that I’ve been waiting to be able to talk about.

Cover for Paysage d'Hiver's Im Wald

Paysage d’Hiver – Im Wald

Not strictly a June release, Im Wald had a long story before it even came out. Paysage d’Hiver is the solo project of Tobias “Wintherr” Möckl, also known for his work in Darkspace. The album was first presented at a limited exclusive listening party at the start of the year. Individuals lucky enough to be drawn in a raffle were invited to an exclusive listening party and also received some goodies. Much to Wintherr’s dismay, someone in the audience betrayed the trust placed in them by the artist and subsequently leaked the album long before its intended release date. Wintherr officially released the album on the 26th of June.

Im Wald signifies a step forward in the sound of Paysage. Especially the first half of the album takes Wintherr’s extended, atmospheric approach to a new level. Subtle synth additions magnify the grandeur of the sound and add a layer of effect that was previously missing. The core sound of the band remains intact, excessive album length included. Cutting some fat and focussing on a more concentrated approach should be the focus going forward.

Cover for Serment's Chante O Flamme de la Liberte

Serment – Chante, Ô Flamme de la Liberté

The quebecois black metal scene has been a wellspring of characteristic releases in recent years. One man band Serment join in with their debut Chante, Ô Flamme de la Liberté. Prominent synths do much work in crafting the album’s wistful, mythical atmosphere as rime-covered guitars and resolute drums forge onwards. Chante… captures the essence of the metal noir quebecois sound and stands proud along greats like Cantique lépreux and Forteresse.

Cover for Somniate's The Meyrinkian Slumber

Somniate – The Meyrinkian Slumber

The last item in this selection is the aforementioned end of the year list contender. Debut album The Meyrinkian Slumber by czech Somniate. This concept album tackles the magical realism of Gustav Meyrink’s The Golem. Draped in precise and melodic modern black metal, the band plunges into their surreal subject matter. More technical cuts like album opener The Sleepless Stone recall contemporaries like VI, not least because of the fine production job done by BST, as per usual. The Meyrinkian Slumber is relentless and to the point. Sharp performances, tortured vocals, all around a highly passionate affair.

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