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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Year of No Light - Ausserwelt



A Massive Slab of Melancholy.

Year of No Light is a sludge/doom metal band from France. The group contains 6 members that all try and have their parts showcased in the immense songs that they create. This new album experiments more with drone and psychedelia elements than their debut record did, as such, longer songs are found.
As oppose to the groups last, and debut, record that came out in 2006, "Nord," this album only contains 4 tracks. All but 1 of these songs is over 10 minutes, containing some of the most trippy doom metal that has come out this year. Removed from the sludge/stoner vibe of their older work and moving towards the psychedelic edge of Pink Floyd, but heavier.
The first 2 tracks really are 1 song separated, entitled Perséphone I and Perséphone II. The first of these is really moody and atmospheric sounding. While guitars move through areas of both Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd, the band does have 3 guitar players so this is actually possible, with keyboards that just texture and open the track up so much more than if it would have been without them. The second track brings in a much more typical doom oriented track, with heavy use of distorted bass and tribal drumming. But even saying that, the track manages to weave in moments that are more similar in style to the first track into this one, really confirming that these 2 tracks are meant to be 1.
Hiérophante is the third track on this album. The way this track begins, one would think it would be the heaviest track on here, and like said, it only starts this way. After the first few minutes, the track moves into an almost post-metal vibe, imagine Neurosis if you will for this, gradually getting slower before moving into almost complete atmosphere. About half-way through the track, the music picks up again with the same sort of post-metal vibe as before, and then descends into ambience in it's final minutes.
The final track is called Abbesse. This track is probably the most typical and almost expected type of song after the first 3. The song is very based on textural keys and guitars for the most part, around the 2:30 mark you get the most aggressive drumming on the whole record, and for about a minute, crazy fills and blast-beats rattle around your head with only ambience in front. The track soon moves into something between a regular sludge sort of track, but with way too much of an ambient and shoegaze vibe to just take it for sludge.
Overall, this is a fantastic record for when you take it for what it is, experimental doom metal. Fans of the heavier side of the genre, most of the fans in that genre anyway, but those that enjoy the mid-period stuff that Neurosis put out, or stuff that bands like Nadja or Atavist are doing, will probably find this a welcome addition to their collection. By no means is this a record that you can get everything from within the first listen; on here you'll find songs too long and textural to give you everything up front, it takes multiple listens in. If you want this sort of a record, by all means check this out.
Overall Score: 8
Highlights: Hiérophante

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