If you’ve got three guitarists and two drummers in your band, then you’re probably not going for the most subtle of sounds. That’s precisely the case with France’s Year of No Light, who are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. Their new album, Consolamentum (released earlier this month on Pelagic Records), consists of five long monstrous tracks of instrumental post-rock that should immediately please any fans of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Mogwai, as well as fans of noise artists like Ben Frost.
“Alètheia” is a perfect example of the band’s aesthetic. Despite being Consolamentum’s shortest track — at just a “mere” 7 ½ minutes, mind you — it packs a lot into its relatively brief existence. You probably know what to expect, i.e., moody guitars, funereal synths, a rhythm section that slowly builds up speed like a runaway train, and a slow-burning but inevitable climax. But when Year of No Light really gets going, and threatens to blow the roof off — or at least, blow out your eardrums — it’s no less thrilling or exhilarating an experience for its familiarity.
Again, there’s nothing particularly subtle about Year of No Light’s titanic, pummeling, and ultimately cathartic sound. But that lack of subtlety is a definite feature. Even when you know it’s coming, and have time to brace yourself against the band’s onslaught, there’s still an existential thrill when it washes over you in all of its unbridled fury.