Crushing Beauty: “Queller” by NADJA – Review + Stream
Imagine if noisy and dreamy shoegaze rock bands like My Bloody Valentine, Low, Slowdive, Oneida, Lairs, Cocteau Twins, The Jesus And Mary Chain, The Velvet Underground and Dinosaur Jr were crushing and brutal doom metal bands… Well, that is exactly what NADJA has become on their brand new full-length album, the majestic doomgaze masterpiece Queller. Over the years, NADJA has followed a stunning artistic trajectory. Emerging from the drumless and über-abstract bogs of drone, noise and experimental ambient music akin to bands and artists like Earth, Sunn O))), Asva, Tim Hecker, Thisquietarmy and Daniel Menche, NADJA are now something that simply transcends even that realm of things, and goes so beyond that the scope of their immense artistry, imagination and vision isn’t even in sight anymore.
There is now a rock structure in the music of Aidan Baker and Leah Buckareff. Something that takes their entire vision to the next level, while also making it more human and familiar: drums, beats and an actual rhythm section, a pulsing heart that has brought the band back to earth from the volatile and foggy vaults of drone metal. What’s interesting, though, is that their mastery in layering and stacking endless slabs of scorching white noise, electric static, feedback, echoes and all sorts of other monolithic vibrating frequencies on top of each other is still all there, and the final outcome is absolutely stunning. What unfolds before us is in fact four mammoth, enormous and rupturing beasts of colossal shoegaze-doom. As the drums pound the earth with unimaginable force, shaking it in a telluric and seismic pummeling of complete obliteration, the guitars and synths erect enormous waves of downtuned static that spiral up to the sky like titanic pillars of noise. The result is absolutely breathtaking. Sweeping winds of feedback and reverb envelope everything, shrouding our entire senses in complete bliss and amazement, while our bones crumble and implode under the weight of NADJA‘s gigantic and colossal riffs. There is a beauty in all of this sonic devastation and heaviness that is impossible to pin down, but that is obvious. In all the cacophony, crushing heaviness and maelstrom that this album beholds, there are incredibly eerie and timeless melodies, expressed beautifully through Aidan Barker’s soaring laments and clean guitar arpeggios that literally hypnotize you they are so incredibly beautiful and catching.
All in all Queller is indeed an extremely rare beast. Everything about this monster avant-doom metal album is built upon a genius dualism of sorts that makes the work perfect: inhuman heaviness hand in hand with impeccable grace, complete destruction and obliteration accompanied by mesmerizing beauty, painful and crushing downtuning and noise spliced with the most amazing and enveloping of melodies, and an overall taste in composition and confidence in execution in form that make this album a masterpiece of modern doom. My Bloody Valentine, early Jesu, Selfless-era Godflesh, Sunn O))), Low, Sigur Ros and Electric Wizard all fused into one enormous and ultra-heavy beautiful beast. You do the math.