Year of No Light


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Year of No Light's four-year reticence to record a sophomore album came to a resounding conclusion with 2010's Ausserwelt -- an effort of seismic repercussions that says so much without uttering a single word. That's because, as opposed to the group's 2006 debut, Nord, Ausserwelt is a fully instrumental work; yet the range of sounds, visions, and emotions it manages to evoke in spite of this are nothing short of breathtaking. Forget the obvious inspirational post-metal launching pads that gave this band their start -- Neurosis, Isis, et al -- along with the many important instrumental architects competing in this space -- Pelican, Red Sparowes, etc. -- because Year of No Light have arguably established their own aesthetic "lane" with this release, and it's fair to say the wait was worth every minute. In the simplest possible terms, it all comes down to layering, layering, layering, which the French sextet applies with abandon to these four epic-length trance-metal movements, through the efforts of three guitarists, two drummers, and untold synth/electronic multi-tasking, resulting in an unusually lush tableau of swirling psychedelics, mesmerizing drones, and earth-shattering climaxes (and, notably, hardly a sign of the hardcore underpinnings shared by their American counterparts). It's no exaggeration to say that Ausserwelt‘s two-part, 20-minute opening sonic excursion "Perséphone," is everything you could expect from a piece of music dedicated to the queen of the underworld in Greek mythology. And there's hardly any letdown in the protracted evolutions and ultimate crescendo of "Hiérophante," which along with the alternately comforting and nerve-wracking shrillness of album closer "Abbesse," even features spots of black metal blastbeats among the added surprises. In short: what we have here is a musical smorgasbord for the senses of the highest order, and proof that there may yet be a post- in post-metal as the ‘10s unfold.

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