Geister marks the 13th chapter in a story that has continued throughout
Paysage d'Hiver's entire body of work. Following a protagonist known as "The
Wanderer," each release focuses on the Wanderer's travels through a different
realm. It's an extremely vague premise, I know; I hope to be able to
extrapolate more on it as I backtrack through the discography. But if anything
is obvious about this other realm the Wanderer is doomed to travel through,
it's that it is ravaged by the harshness of winter. From start to finish, each
track on Geister pummels the listener with sharp vocal shrieks and a
never-ending carousel of guitar riffs cascading over crashing drums. While
punishing, it simultaneously builds up this wall of sound so vast and
impenetrable it's hard not to get lost in it. The synths utilized in the
background also cannot be praised enough for the overall lushness they add;
they're never front and center in the mix, but without them the output would
be noticeably more bland.
Another thing I especially enjoyed about Geister, something that took a couple of listens to grasp, is how tightly controlled the evolution of the musical themes are over the course of the album. It isn't easily picked up on due to how the album keeps at a consistent pace without any interludes, but the guitar rhythms in particular keep a couple common patterns in tact throughout while making slight variations along the way. It's a smart way to give each track its own identity while keeping the entirety of the album resolutely cohesive. Im Wald went the extra mile in terms of setting the ambience, but Geister will hold a special place among Paysage d'Hiver's work by being as the most direct in its approach. It hits hard and keeps hitting hard with no frills. For a genre known for lesser production values that result in abrasive output, Geister carries an energy that is not only easily picked up on but also will easily consume you.
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