Year Of No Light: Ausserwelt
Conspiracy Records

And you thought MONO was heavy. Year Of No Light brings a triple(!) guitar attack to its sophomore album Ausserwelt with the Bordeaux, France-based sextet bulldozing its way through four epic tracks. Regardless of whether it's called Black Metal, Sludge, or Metal Drone, the group's forty-eight-minute follow-up to 2005's Nord makes for one powerful listening experience. Guitars wail in agony like dying dinosaurs raising their heads for one final look at the sun, while bass, drums, and electronics generate tortured drone atmospheres and tribal incantations. Bassist Johan Sebenne, drummers Bertrand Sebenne and Mathieu Mégemont, and guitarists Pierre Anouilh, Jérôme Alban, and Shiran Kaidine survive the incinerating meltdown of the two-part “Perséphone”—all howling guitar riffs and deathly drumming—before the doom-laden “Hiérophante” rolls in with its own distinct brand of crushing, low-end brutality. The group stokes the fire to such an awesome pitch during the latter, the guitar theme roaring at the tune's center is rendered almost inaudible when it's buried within the torrential mass. True to the group's name, no light whatsoever is allowed to filter in during the album, and the final track, “Abbesse,” is no exception. There may in fact be a choir intoning a desperate plea for deliverance during the closer but again one would have to peel back layers of monstrous guitar distortion in order to be sure. Don't be fooled, though: there's definitely music in the group's tracks; one just has to listen hard—and not be scared away by the volume and intensity—for it to come through.

July 2010