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++ Year Of No Light Play Vampyr ++
Music Fear Satan
2xLP | MUF025
2013

MORE INFOS »

[ CraveOnline ] ( webzine ) - 27.06.2013

Rating : 10 / 10

Year of No Light Enter New Territory on "Vampyr"
French instrumental post-rock wizards have upped their own game and delivered an incredible new collection.

There are moments in time when everything falls away and all that's left is art. Music, film, literature – your medium makes no difference. At some point, random and usually without warning, an artistic statement is made that is undeniable. I bring that idea to the table and then introduce the collective, Year Of No Light. You've never heard of them. It's time to change that. They are French. They are instrumental post-rock. They began a metamorphosis three years ago with the album Assurwelt. One that saw vocals replaced with more layered guitars and complex songwriting. We have all been anxiously awaiting their next full length, Tocsin. I don't think anyone was ready for Vampyr.

Vampyr (listen here) is an atmospheric and deranged film from the thirties, a movie that could rival Nosferatu as the greatest early horror film ever created. Originally planned as a soundtrack to the film, Year Of No Light has created something so staggeringly emotional, so balanced between darkness and light, strength and frailty, you can't help but be astonished by it. Vampyr is not one style; it is not even born of what Year Of No Light is known for. This is delicate stitching, a connection of dark whispers, tense passages, blips of noise, echoes, haunted murals of sound that bring emotional highs and lows unlike anything i have experience in a long time.

This is as close to classical music as rock gets. Vampyr is an album of passages, each one perfectly building to the next. Opening with a simple bit of noise, a dull throb that hits just the right frequency to be unsettling, Year Of No Light draws us into their creation. What is so stunning here is the patience by which they construct their opus. Dull throb is built on by a dark echo, a wavering tone creeps slowly over the top of both. The combination holds onto your nerves, you know something disturbing is coming.

While the work here is inspired by the desolation of Vampyr, I'm also reminded of the Ray Bradbury novel Something Wicked This Way Comes. Year Of No Light structure Vampyr the same way Bradbury created his evil. It's just around the corner, a darkness that is brought to you by something so familiar. Year Of No Light hold only keyboards, guitars, drums and bass, but behind that, just underneath the soundscapes of their creation, a darker idea lies.

At times, the music is soothing, at others jarring, but it is always haunting. No matter the crashing highs of the peaks, or the low hum of the quieter parts, something is always just behind what you hear. That bit, this intangible idea, is what makes Vampyr so enthralling. The album speaks to you on both a conscious and unconscious level. No matter how easily you can analyze what's being done per each stanza, the emotional effect remains hard to define. How often does a band create something that generates multiple feelings at once? Anger. Love. Hatred. Fear. Anyone can make music exploiting one of these emotions, Year Of No Light uses all of them, to reach us on a primal level most bands can't even contemplate.

A track-by-track review of Vampyr would be like attempting to explain the color red, or find a universal definition for heartache. You just have to experience it and understand what it is for yourself. I warn you, this record can't be played in small chunks. It demands to be heard front to back. This is not something for your car, or to play behind you at work. Vampyr requires your undivided attention. It washes over you, penetrates you, and often lifts you up and takes you someplace else completely.

Year Of No Light has entered an entirely new territory with Vampyr. Ethereal and otherworldly, it boasts elements of the darkest nightmares and the brightest lights that guide us through it all. It is something more than an album. This is a movement. Challenging and brilliant, Vampyr is one of those rare moments when the medium elevates itself to pure art.

(Iann Robinson)