La via di neve

by Winterblood

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about

'Winterblood is a dark ambient project from Italy and was one of the first projects I reviewed for this zine. Winterblood now returns with a new album titled La Via di Neve, released on CD by Frozen Light Label. This EP continues in the same vein as ‘Il Richiamo delle vette’, creating very cold and bleak soundscapes. Deep pulsing synth pads are typically accompanied by crystalline sounds which play brooding melodies over the rumbling bass of the pad. Much like the previous Winterblood release, this creates strong mental images in the listener. The sounds used create the feeling of snow falling against a mountainside, of the sun glaring over the hoarfrost, or the wind passing through a frozen landscape. My personal favorite track of the release is ‘Anelli’, one of the longest songs featured. Soft chromatic percussion plays a very melancholic melody while synth pads drift in the background. While many Winterblood songs carry the bleak feeling of a harsh landscape, this song feels like an ancient being wandering the snow-covered mountains. Although this release consists of only 5 songs, the total runtime is roughly 42 minutes.

This review is based on the CD version of the album, which contains excellent artwork (see above). Images of spirits lost in a snowstorm enhance the atmosphere of the album, and lyrics are also included for each song. Unfortunately I have not yet been able to translate the lyrics from Italian, but having lyrics featured there is a bonus that many ambient projects never attempt. Winterblood is the complete package for cold dark ambient (from the presentation to the music itself), and La Via di Neve was well worth the couple years of waiting that I’ve been doing since reviewing the last album. If you find yourself wanting music even colder and lonelier than Paysage d’hiver, this is for you.' (Barbarianskull webzine)

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'When we last heard from Winterblood, we were attempting to ascend the cold wintry landscape of the Italian Alps. With La via di neve, we have now reached the top of the mountain, looking down to see the world below while knowing this forced isolation shall conjure up more than just the freezing cold. A monotonous drone sets the mood as icy whispers fill the frostbitten air. The lengthy void between each note reminds us of our deepest fears and our loneliness, and as we sit and listen, our forced reflections begin to drift away with the wind. The notes are full and lush—an ambiance that is familiar yet still strong in its ambition of focusing fully on limited elements to create these textures.

La via di neve‘s booklet contains poetry within that is written in the artist’s native Italian, which I can only assume is meant to be read as you listen to each song as they correspond to the instrumental tracks. This is clearly problematic as it creates another layer to the music that I cannot decipher as a music journalist, but it is certainly a good idea for an ambient track to be paired up with any form of alternate media in order to give more depth to an otherwise voiceless track, effectively merging two art forms that directly reflect on one another. An attempt at translation shows the themes to be about the gates to death and other worlds where spirits roam. This fits well with the cover of apparitions in black and white and the general themes of this project.

Winterblood’s approach does not feature a whole lot to focus your attention on. Perhaps it is more about the silence in between the sounds than the sounds themselves, as one droning tone repeats while a higher pitch subtly shifts over it. In time, this slightly expands, taking on a melancholic tone. I can’t imagine that La via di neve took a high level of ingenuity to create; perhaps some particular patches to get the right notes were necessary, but the function is based more on composition than technicality or merging too many layers. Winterblood’s music fits in well with the rest of the genre now referred to as “dungeon synth,” while its logo and presentation firmly align it with the black metal world, at least on an aesthetic level. Listening to such an album certainly requires a high level of patience—the kind required to sit on a frozen mountaintop while contemplating other worlds and the ghosts that drift between the snowflakes.' (heathenharvest.org)

credits

released January 1, 2016

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Winterblood Florence, Italy

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