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Year Of No Light: Ausserwelt

Is it metal? Is it doom? Is it drone? Is it ambient?

As far as the second album from Year Of No Light is concerned that answer to all of the above questions is a resounding kinda. Hard to categorise and even harder to take in during one listening, what has been created on Ausserwelt is foreboding and dense. At times that is a good thing, however too often the similarity of the music presented across the nearly fifty minutes and four songs just becomes too weighty to hold your attention. There are no vocals across any of the songs and while that would usually suggest that either the guitars or keyboards would take centre stage (there are three guitarists, two keyboard players and an uber-modern electrics "player"), however it is actually the drumming that often drives the main themes of the music here and that in itself poses a slight problem. The actual percussive work from Mathieu (it is him that also provides the uber-modern shenanigans) is of the highest order - with never a wasted burst or cymbal crash in the warrior like tribal rhythms that never fall into an actual beat. However during an awful lot of what is presented on Ausserwelt, the drums fade into silence and the ambient noise, or deathly guitars that are left lack character, leading to disinterest on the part of the listener.

I found this an extremely difficult album to review, not because it is terrible, or sounds poor (the production is thick, syrupy and spot on), but because, being totally honest, with all the will in the world I found my thoughts wandering every time I played this disc. When the realisation struck me that I was "forgetting" the music, I locked back into the sounds and must admit to enjoying what I heard, however the never ending slabs of melancholy and despair across the four songs aren't individual enough from each other to stop the focus wavering. Year Of No Light are correct to leave the songs without vocals, as the impact of their sound-scapes would be blunted by words and singing, however a new focus does need to be introduced from time to time to really give the songs the life required, especially when each one of the four tracks is so lengthy and similar. This is the style of music that should be perfect for sitting in the dark, headphones strapped to your ears in the hope of blocking out the world, but even then there is not enough to grasp onto and keep you enthralled (I've tried that).

In short bursts Ausserwelt is quite effective, unfortunately there are no short bursts on the album.

Track Listing
1. Persephone (Enna)
2. Persephone (Core)
3. Hierophante
4. Abbesse

Added: August 24th 2010
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Year Of No Light Official Web Site
Hits: 3248
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Year Of No Light: Ausserwelt
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-08-24 15:26:35
My Score:

There's no doubt that Ausserwelt, the latest from atmospheric doomsters Year Of No Light, is some seriously heavy and massive stuff. Their brand of symphonic, ambient, instrumental doom will either be a love/hate thing with most metal listeners. Opening cut "Persephone 1" tells you all you need to know about this band, as huge waves of guitar thunder & orchestral keyboards create a thick wall of sound while crashing drums flail away for a pummeling effect. Things don't deviate much from this formula on the remaining 3 tracks, as each one slowly builds from quiet beginnings to a more bombastic finale.

Though Ausserwelt can be a challenging listen for those who like variety and song structure in their metal, you have to give these guys credit for creating music this powerful, this massive, and this bombastic. Think of a 'doom metal symphony' , and that's kind of what you get here. Each tune is like a mini-epic in itself (pretty much in the 10+ minute range), and there are some seriously HEAVY dirges going on here. Problem is by track three most will probably have heard enough, but hey, there's a large following for this kind of thing, so obviously someone out there is getting it, so give Ausserwelt a try if you are feeling a bit doomy and adventurous.

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