Editor’s Note: the below fan letter was submitted to the blog by Steven Jaynes, and is being published with little to no edits. If you’re interesting in sending us your own love letters (to an album, a band, a genre, whatever), please don’t hesitate to do so at mail[at]heavyblogisheavy[dot]com! Remember, as Elbow say: “love is the original miracle”.
Post Rock. Post Metal. Anything “post” tends to be met with leery eyes, in avoidance of pretention, but Year Of No Light has always side-stepped this for me. Though they haven’t made much since their ultra-productive 2013 release, Tocsin, they are still untouchable.
Across 3 LPs and several splits, Year of No Light has remained on the dark, imposing throne that reigns over the realms of instrumental music and the metal ethos, with a constantly evolving wall of emotional fury. Their debut in 2006, Nord, was a sprawling first album. Hindsight reveals that they hadn’t really found themselves yet, but it’s still a great one, rife with the workings of what will, eventually, make the great. With 2010’s Ausserwelt, however, they released a colossus of an album. It embodied aggression, doom, and dread without drowning in the sludge or losing momentum across its lengthy songs. The album is 7 years old, and, admittedly, the musical landscape has evolved a lot since then. At the time, howevr, it was the meanest tidal wave of an album I had ever heard.
But it’s 2013’s Tocsin that I keep coming back to. Each song is a masterpiece. With layers and riffs that hint at where the songs will move several minutes later, it’s their forethought that evolves these songs into real movements. And unlike so many other “post” bands, each song is completely different from the others in terms of feel, sound, and instrumentation. It’s still one of the few metal albums I’ve found that uses horns in a way that is necessary and organic, instead of just a flourish or a statement accessory. The beautiful, ethereal start on “Désolation” can only be accomplished with horns, and every time the big brass section wakes up in “Stella Rectrix”, I see a cosmic World Eater drifting towards our tiny planet.
They even wrote and performed a soundtrack to the 1932 film Vampyr! So, if you still haven’t, make sure to give Year of No Light a chance. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.