Vinterriket - Zwischen Den Jahren [Sturmklang - 2010]
The creative Christoph Ziegler returns once again with another release from Vinterriket. 2010’s EP Zwischen den Jahren (roughly translated “Between the Years) finds Ziegler performing in a black metal style as compared to 2009’s Horizontmelancholie. Yet with Vinterriket we know that the music will be an inspired mix of black metal, dark ambient and acoustic music.
Here we have three songs adding up to twenty minutes of melodic and somber black metal. Starting with “Quatembersturm” there is a definite classical influence that pervades. Drums are a punk-ish chaotic double bass din; guitars are lightning fast and robust. Vocally it is a painful rasp that we’ve come to associate with black metal. Compositionally there is a good balance of softer melodic moments with bombastic ones. On “Modranecht” the music takes a slow start but jarringly jumps to blast of drums and guitars. Leaning towards a symphonic sound yet achieving a cold, isolated and melancholic setting. “Winterepiphanie” is all atmosphere. This is a bleak, depressive song and it’s perfect. Heavy grinding guitars, rhythmic drums and those agonizing vocals combine to represent one of the strongest songs on Zwischen…
There is very little here that we can pinpoint with accuracy at least influence wise. While you can hear the classical influence, there are moments that a reminiscent of bands like Kampfar, Forest Silence and Austere. Yet those moments are scarce and Vinterriket has a style that has its own distinct sound.
The low points here are few too. Vocals seem a bit detached from the overall production making them feel like they were an afterthought. Aside from that minor detail Ziegler is an excellent musician and composer. As with all of Vinterrikets releases (and they are a diverse bunch) you will find limited pressings, stunning pictures and all around outstanding packaging.
The most inspirational aspect to Zieglers’ work (other than the actual music) is his commitment to waving the flag of black metal and experimental music in general. This is music made for his own love of the genre, whether it is black metal or ambient, the fact that he agrees to make it available to us is generous.Viktorya Kaufholz