Review Summary: A metalgaze suite, a sludgy post-metal romp and a blackened/doom finale all smothered in drone. If you can't find something here to like then you're not listening.
Depicted upon French post-metallers Year of No Light's latest LP Ausserwelt
is a cavernous like island surrounded by a sea of black, brooding in it's seclusion and mysterious contents seemingly undiscovered in it's haze of fog and twilight. If you think that sounds interesting then you need to hear the music.
This release features no vocals, unlike Nord
, instead Year of No Light use their triple guitar attack to craft a sound that resembles both post-rock and metalgaze drone far more than post-metal sludge making this album distinct from its predecessor in song writing and atmosphere.
The beginning of the album draws you in as if the small island dwelling on the cover art is inhabited by some mythological siren harpie crooning your distant sailing vessel closer to smoggy shore with her calling song. This wall of drone almost melts into melodic form when the drums are introduced and within minutes of having started you'd think you were listening to the climax of a post-rock song. As soon as you begin to feel comfortable and secure by this melodic lullaby it's crushed by thick and dense over-driven chords but gathers itself back together peaking once again before coming seemingly lost, gradually dismantling into ambient drone, and that's only the first track!
The two part “Persephone” suite continues with stand alone drumming carving a path through the hazy drone before once again colliding with sludgy turbulent riffs that intermittently break up the beautiful dual melodies like a rising tide of discord pounding against your determined curiosity before gaining control and then finally regressing as everything turns to static fuzz ending the first half of the album.
The final two tracks see a return to post-metal form present in the reluctant and lurching guitar riffs of “Hierphante” as they plow slowly through a dense atmosphere of heavily layered noise speeding up and then slowing down methodically pacing through the beautiful and just-right-amount-of-overwhelming soniscape. My only complaint is that with every track extending past the 10 minute mark “Hierphante” drags the album out a bit and can be tiring to get through if listening to the album all at once making the last track even less approachable. This is unfortunate because the final track “Abbesse” is my 2nd favorite on Ausserwelt
. Dabbling in black metal it sounds like something off Nord
with blastbeat drumming, evil tremolo riffs paired with ominous high pitched tones including a doomish interlude in the middle to break up the action. This technique is used on every track in one form or another and prevents any monotony while retaining the impact of the climaxes over the songs protracted lengths.
The album holds good replay value as different things are coming to your attention, popping their head out of the current depending on what your trying to listen to such as the use of two drummers, one will be playing a slow tempo on the cymbals to keep the song on beat while the other plays faster fills on the skins to keep things interesting. Often time’s one guitar will be creating ambient noise while the other two play in harmony or compliment each other playing a minimalized version of the main lead. The keyboard is kept low in the mix often imperceivably blanketing the tracks to a sublimely thick aura that allows the other instruments to magically weave in and out making it hard for you to focus on any one thing creating a sense of journey as you rely on the leads to guide you through one of the most engaging albums of the year. There’s a lot to love here for post-rock/metal fans and deserves your attention, you need to hear this.