Holy fuck. That was my first reaction upon listening to “Objuration”, the opening track from Year of No Light’s latest, and extremely highly anticipated, release titled Consolamentum. When I say “extremely highly anticipated”, I mean it; Year of No Light have been around for twenty years, give or take, and haven’t released many full length releases. However, they are very beloved by anyone who is wise to the French doom and post-metal scene (a scene we’ve talking about for a few years now), myself included. Seeing as their last release was in 2013, some of us were beginning to question whether we’d ever get a new release from them and, if it came, what sort of release it would be.
Well, we now have our answer and the answer is “fucking heavy”. Seriously, Year of No Light were never light punchers but Consolamentum goes incredibly hard. It starts from the guitar tones, which have been produced to be louder and more crushing then ever. These attributes waste no time in manifesting; “Objuration” begins with a massive, bone-shattering riff and ends with that riff layered with a ton of feedback and bass support. Oh, right, we should talk about the bass. Holy fuck is the bass good on this album. It delivers the heft that the momentous sound of the album calls for but doesn’t make the mistake of staying simple and dormant.
On the heart-wrenchingly beautiful and fragile “Alètheia” for example, it does a wonderful job of playing around and in-between the main riff, creating a lot of articulations and contrasts which turn the track into a deep well you can dive into for hours. In general, this is one of the “keys” to the Year of No Light formula which makes them so successful. By gearing all of the instruments towards the same atmosphere which a track/the album want to create, but attacking that atmosphere from different directions, Year of No Light are able to punch home their theme and timbre without being repetitive.
Consider the punchy drums or the electronics scattered throughout the album which Year of No Light are known for incorporating. Listen to those drums and electronics work on “Interdit aux Vivants, aux Morts et aux Chiens”. The two instruments work “alongside” the guitars but they’re aimed at the same, languishing atmosphere for the first half of the track. The drums convey it with the slow, measured up-strokes between strikes while the synths “elongate” and draw out the chords and ideas nascent within the guitar riffs. When the build up and extremely satisfying release come along, the drums and the synths “garnish” the massive crashing of the sonic wave. It’s the same idea but approached from different angles, spun up by the composition in one, cohesive whole.
And that’s really “the secret” to why Year of No Light are so good. They have an excellent sense for drama and composition, one which is almost unparalleled in their field. It’s what brings all of the elements of their music together, creating one of the best releases in the post-metal/doom spaces. Again. From the same band that has already brought us some of the best albums in the genre. As much as Year of No Light are rated in underground circles, they are still underrated. Their name deserves to be up there with bands like ISIS or The Ocean in the annals of post-metal and doom. Consolamentum, twenty years into their career, is one of the best things they’ve made and one of the best things made in the genre, period. Holy fuck.
Consolamentum was released on July 2nd, via Pelagic Records. You can head on over to the band’s Bandcamp to grab it.