Year of No Light - _Ausserwelt_
(Conspiracy Records, 2010)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (9 out of 10)
A most abstract physical definition of a wave is calling it "a rearrangement of the surfaces of a fluid". The sound waves we can normally hear rearrange the surfaces of the air through which they travel as they change its density and pressure. I remember briefly thinking about this during that Neurosis concert I attended a couple of years back, because the intensity of their performance was moving -- and I mean that in an absolutely physical way. The sound waves were that strong, I actually felt them moving me. Yet I find myself rethinking my whole opinion regarding "sounds that can move people" as I drown into Year of No Light's sublimely created masterpiece _Ausserwelt_.

The French song titles are closer to the band's origin than the German album title. You see, Year of No Light is a six-piece group from Bordeaux containing three guitarists, two drummers and a bassist with common keyboard skills between almost all of them. Having three guitarists in a band is no longer something uncommon, but having two drummers has always been an alluring endeavor. A rough translation of _Ausserwelt_ would give "Outside World" in English, and it indeed sounds like something from an outside world; a world so meticulous in its compaction and so depressingly beautiful in ways we ordinary earthlings haven't reached yet.

This otherworldly experience is spread out over just four tracks that seamlessly blend into each other, superimposing if you will, to form what is arguably the most cohesive sound structure to be put to disc in 2010. The absence of vocals throughout _Ausserwelt_ is something entirely insignificant, because any vocals could have weakened this sedative musical experience. It's an experience that transcends beyond the regular experience of absorbing any post-metal album with average depth and perspicacity to it. _Ausserwelt_'s brilliance emanates for forty-eight minutes with an air-tight grasp on the listener's attention, rendering said listener fully under its incapacitating spell.

You might think I didn't mention any song titles as an attempt at subliminal messaging to convince you to dive into this album as a complete body of work, but it isn't. The explosive incandescence of this magnum opus is so damn overpowering to the point where it's futile to remember any individual names. The thick and dense sounds of this French sextet are a prime example of how immensely moving sound waves can be. They did it without uncountable time signatures, without euphemisms, without a complicated concept with archaic references, and without native instruments with unpronounceable names. Take that however you see fit.

This sounds just perfect now that temperatures in Cairo have dropped down to the one digit range.

Contact: http://yearofnolight.free.fr/

(article published 12/22/2010)


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