Year Of No Light – Consolamentum (Pelagic Records)
“A sonic cathedral”.
It’s how Year Of No Light describe the towering edifice they’ve built over the last two decades.
And Consolamentum is one hell of a way to mark their 20th anniversary.
It may be eight years since they released the foreboding warning bell that was Tocsin, but the French act have lost none of their gravitational pull since then.
To the Bordeaux outfit, Consolamentum represents the “epiphany of the fall”, its name referring to the initiation ritual of the mediaeval Catharic Church, which brought eternal austereness and immersion in the Holy Spirit.
Yet however you interpret the album’s five cinematic instrumentals, it’s impossible to hide from the immense structures Year of No Light have sculpted across their fourth full-length.
The six-piece create monoliths of sound from the darkest matter of the universe. The primal power of doom metal and the glistening undercurrent of post-rock intertwine, creating waves of pressure and searing emotional intensity…
Consolamentum inspires worship
Year Of No Light have long since mastered their craft, but to hear the band’s tension/release dynamic in all its glory is still deeply cathartic.
On Alétheia, Bertrand Sébenne and Mathieu Mégemont’s percussive time bomb eventually explodes, heralding the arrival of two minutes of relentless, molten fury.
The lengthier Interdit aux Vivants, aux Morts et aux Chiens, meanwhile, conjures endless horizons, before an aura of menace descends. The song’s landscape is gradually ripped asunder by fierce riffery, scorching blastbeats and ritualistic drumming… and so we drop into the abyss.
Tocsin certainly set a storm in motion… and the echoes of that record reverberate around songs like Objuration. Yet on Réalgar, you can draw a line back to Year Of No Light’s 2006 debut, Nord, as the track makes its presence felt.
But taken as a whole, Consolamentum is Year Of No Light in 2021: it’s a new dawn for a band with little left to prove, but plenty more to offer.
And at a time when so much music feels disposable, this album’s foundations reach the earth’s core.