Year Of No Light
"Nord"

(Crucial Blast 2007)Year Of No Light - Nord

Originally released last year by Radar Swarm, "Nord" is the debut from French shoegazers Year of No Light. Yeah, I said it. France. I like to think that we are far enough removed from the days of "Freedom Fries" that a band can be judged completely separate from their country of origin, even if said country's export of heavy music is exceptionally lean. We better be, because "Nord" is, in a word, awesome. Shrugging off the typical assembly-line construction of many recent shoegazer albums, Year of No Light has crafted a diverse take on the NeurIsis mold.

"L'angoisse Du Veilleur De Nuit D'autoroute Les Soirs D'alarme A Accident" (the actual song title, so help me, God) straight up burns. Packing a dense, chugging riff in under three minutes, Year of No Light prove they aren't afraid to get right down to business. Following is "Traversee," a more protracted affair that more closely resembles the output of recent Cult of Luna and the like. Even here, though, there is no sense that Year of No Light are circling aimlessly, waiting for ages to get to the heft of the inevitable "epic" climax. Instead, the longer tracks on the album progress insistently, always moving with a purpose towards what will be, yes, the epic climax. Light passages are used to texture songs, not as an excuse to make the heavy seem heavier.

From opener "Selenite" to the monstrous doom of final track "La Bouche De Vitus Bering," every song is superbly written, which helps keep "Nord" exciting and interesting through multiple listens. Year of No Light have dropped a fantastic first album worthy of those they draw inspiration from. Even if they are French.

A

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