Year of No Light: Ausserwelt

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Year of No Light: Ausserwelt
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Year of No Light: Ausserwelt
Dome Metal, Drone, Sludge Metal
Self-release, Conspiracy Records
April 26th, 2010
Release length: 47:48
Myspace
Website
Year of No Light formed back in 2001 in Aquitaine, France. The band has only issued one full length effort back in 2006, and after that went through the common split release route for many bands of the Drone style of music, as well as those loosely related to it. While the group’s debut offering featured some vocals, many of the releases that followed were comprised without lyrics, putting a stronger emphasis on the Droning style that the band mixes with Sludge and Doom Metal influences. Ausserwelt, the band’s second full-length outing, offers that very musical composition, collecting four new instrumental tracks that last well over forty five minutes, and there isn’t a second that goes by where it lacks enough atmosphere and material to keep the fans happy.

As stated, Ausserwelt is a collection of four new tracks, but two of them happen to be the same song, just split into two sections due to the rather sudden change in musical direction. “Perséphone I” makes for a grand introductory track to the album, utilizing a very slow build through guitar effects such as slight distortion and holding a chord as it carries on, but fades in with the volume until everything reaches the general level of the album, but creating a sound, as well as an atmosphere, that would one would expect to hear at the start of some kind of science fiction-themed film. That introduction is held for a good while though, approximately two minutes, allowing the melancoly-sounding introduction to carry on until the drums kick in, and the song actually gets underway and doesn’t just feel like an introduction anymore. The music is very atmospheric, like something one might expect on an emotional or atmosphere driven Black Metal record, playing on your heart strings with it’s cold beauty that is only pushed further through the deep, heavily distorted guitars that chime over the higher pitched guitars that set the tone of the song. Of course, “Perséphone II” continues the first part, making the transition between sounds through a very tribal-like drum segment. This second part loses much of the melancholic atmosphere, though the guitars do wind up setting a commanding feel to the music that carries this two parter along nicely.

One thing that periodically happens during the album is a random seizure-like state with the drums. Out of nowhere, the drumming will simply take off, which happens on both “Perséphone I” as well as “Hiérophante”. The music will be going along on it’s normal pace, and suddenly it will seem like there are drum tracks layered together and going off at once. This winds up being the only aspect of the album that doesn’t really seem to work out, as well as, depending on how you’re listening to the album, such as on a personal computer, if you didn’t realize it’s part of the song, you would then pause the album to see what is being played in the background. It’s a little confusing, but at least the first time on “Perséphone I”, it’s not bad enough, or long enough, to seems as if it really is something going on in the background, coming off more as just a random section of fast drumming that sounds of place, or as if the drummer suddenly just got really bored of performing the not-so-technical job laid out before him, utilizing this random blast beat section to stay awake.

Through the album, the tone is typically varied between a melancholic atmosphere, or a very commanding or intimidating one. However, the final track seems to work a little more in the melancholic area, but the music being played against the keyboards that set that tone seem to create a more positive feeling to it, almost like a self-empowering happy ending kind of ambience against everything. Half way through, however, everything changes as the track slows down and just become ominous and intimidating once more through held guitar chords that were heavily distorted, and cymbol crashes that just ring out, really putting some emphasis on the Doom aspect of the band’s material, building into a purely melancholic sound that weighs heavily on the listener.

Ausserwelt maks for a fantastic debut album follow-up from Year of No Light, which was strongly overdue. This near masterpiece is full of atmospheric bliss, though sometimes it seems to abruptly alter it’s path for one reason of another, such as with the last track “Abbesse”. Either way, the material here captures a genuine melancoly, afflicting the listener with an often cold atmosphere without really going over the top with speed or intensity like some bands would like to do. Instead, Ausserwelt makes for an album listeners can be lost in, and while some faults do exist, it makes for a fantastic album that shows the talent Year of No Light possesses to stand out in this quickly growing ambient-fueled field of Metal.

01. Pers̩phone I Р11:53
02. Pers̩phone II Р9:34
03. Hi̩rophante Р13:13
04. Abbesse – 13:08
Overall Score: 7/10

Digital review copy of this release provided by Conspiracy Records.