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Year of No Light "s/t" CD

Year of No Light - s/t

Incredible. This French band has been around for almost four years and this is their debut release: An eight-track demo totaling around a half-hour of masterfully crafted dirges consisting of slow, sludgy chord progressions, twisted dissonant riffing, noisy layers of guitar textures, smatterings of ambient synths, and utterly disturbing vocal snarls deep in the heart of the mix. The only minor setback is that the recording is too muddy, so the percussion lacks crispness and can become overpowering of some of the guitar parts, while the bass gets lost and the vocals sound a little thin by comparison. In reality I think the vocals are probably the most successful element of the recording as far as balance is concerned - it's the other elements that need more brightness added in order to better fill the space and provide some clarity and detail. Everything is leaning towards a very natural, warm, and organic sound with a massive sense of density, and that's dead on the mark, they should be shooting for that, but right now there's too much messy low-end hovering around, so if they can get that aspect under control they'll be ready to destroy in no time. It's impossible not to cite comparisons to bands like Isis or Cult of Luna, as these guys would fit in perfectly with any listener fond of that style, but I do feel like this group is going for more of their own sound within that realm. For one thing, the songs aren't terribly long. Sure, one piece hits seven minutes, but none of the others pass five, and most of the tracks are around three minutes apiece. But they're also flirting with the likes of acts like Mono or Explosions in the Sky with the way that they ebb and flow and layer in eerily melodic textures for more emphatic force and atmosphere. There are several instrumental compositions as well, some of which are less structured than others. "Le Rire Mauvais Des Enfants Sages", for instance, is but one minute of dingy distorted bass notes and distant synths, whereas "Ils te Feront Payer Tes Crimes en Monnaie de Cauchemar" is about a minute of restrained ethereal drones, and opener "Thanatos" is among the most melodic (not to mention powerful and emotional) tracks on the disc - instrumental or not! "Ils Avaient Des Visages D'anges et Des Fusils Automatiques" stands out with some spacious riffing and winding passages that possess a different form of movement from most of the work, and "Économie Pendant la Crise on Éteint la Lumière au Bout du Tunnel" is among the heavier tracks with its surging distorted chords and gritty bass textures against relentless screaming and keyboard melodies over robust drum fills that add a lot of movement to the otherwise rhythmically repetitious outing. The black CD-R comes in a simple screenprinted sleeve (red, black, and blue) with minimal imagery and spiraling text that looks very artistic, with the lyrics presented on a xeroxed insert inside. All of the content is in French, so I'm not sure what they're exploring in that department, but the packaging does look very nice. This is a damn promising demo, I must say. I'm impressed, and anxiously look forward to hearing a proper full-length from this band. Only 150 copies of the demo exist, so I would recommend picking one up soon if you're interested. Take note, because I think this is going to be a band to watch out for... (7/10)
[Radar Swarm]
Running time - 28:58, Tracks: 8
[Notable tracks: Thanatos, Ils Avaient Des Visages D'anges et Des Fusils Automatiques, Économie Pendant la Crise on Éteint la Lumière au Bout du Tunnel]
Radar Swarm - http://www.radarswarm.com

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