Year of No Light immerse their thunderous music into human rebirth act on ‘Consolamentum’

Humankind is a volatile, unpredictable thing as we all have branched out since our own entrance into the world to create lives for ourselves that do not match with anyone else’s experiences and sometimes lives in odds of others. No matter what, we all have successes and failures, highs and lows, good and evil deeds that run through our lives, and once we leave this place, that pathway is the only thing that really is our own.

The human experience and our sometimes-troublesome journeys are something long at the heart of Year of No Light’s music, itself an anthemic soundtrack that feels like it could play in the background of a playback of our lives, which has spread out over all five of their albums. The latest for this French instrumental post-metal band comes in the form of “Consolamentum,” a title taken from a ritual practiced by the Cathartic Church in the 12th to 14th centuries. The act was designed as a sort of spiritual baptism before one’s death, a means of making amends for the failings one had during their lives in order to bring them closer to god. What the band—guitarists Jérôme Alban, Pierre Anouilh, and Shiran Kaïdine, bassist/keyboardist Johan Sébenne, drummer/keyboardist Bertrand Sébenne, drummer/keyboardist Mathieu Mégemont—weaves into this experience is a test that makes you face your own darkness and failures and creates a space for that catharsis to spread its wings, filling you with the ability to overcome and stretch out your own possibilities.

“Objuration” opens in a long drone, setting up the ambiance as the doom spreads, and the cloud cover darkens noticeably. The playing soars as the guitars heat up and increase the temperature, stirring as the melodies bubble over and race toward you. The intensity then ramps up, the drums pound away, and hypnotic playing tangles your mind, dripping then gushing, ending completely flooded over. “Alétheia” trickles in as a moody haze settles, feeling like a midday staring at a clouded blue sky. The storms then arrive and roar as the drama builds, and the sounds crumble within. The intensity explodes, the guitars lap over each other, and the track stop in an explosion of colors. “Interdit aux Vivants, aux Morts et aux Chiens” feels doomy and ugly at first before the sounds come to life and spread, getting burlier and more sinister as it moves along. Melodies scowl as the guitars stretch their wings, picking up momentum as your guts are squeezed. Hypnotic hell unloads, making the room spin dangerously, the playing floods, and you’re left blistered and scorched from the heat.

“Réalgar” starts clean, tingling your nerves as the scene is set, letting loose sparkling guitars that tease your ears. Gazey blood begins to flow, and the emotion starts to build up at a clip too fast to tame. The atmospheric pressure makes your bones vibrate, and then darkness strikes, completing an unpredictable heel turn that leaves you gasping for safety as you watch it dissolve before your eyes. “Came” caps off the record, beginning with a synth fog and drums coming to life, yet the band maintains more of a measured approach that dabbles in mid tempo. Synth makes sun beams crack the clouds, and at about 7 minutes in, everything erupts, and the fires rage toward the stars. The band pummels hard, your face is smeared in bloody soot, and the keys ring out, letting the track disappear into a red sky.

Year of No Light have spent the better part of the past two decades making incredible soundscapes and telling epic tales without the benefit of words, something they display again on “Consolamentum.” Their fifth record is another huge-sounding, sky-exploding display that builds inside your heart, spreads to your mind, and makes your psyche burst. This music is such that it should be heard in spacious rooms with audiences anticipating every high and low, and these songs mix in perfectly for that experience.

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