A Journal Of The Dark Arts
2009 has been a big year for Canadian duo Nadja, seeing them pummel out 8 albums; exploring their dark, mystical corner of the universe as they continue to break new ground. Belles Bete is classic Nadja, with their granite bedrock of guitar and slo-motion drum machines, but they continue to evolve, incorporating scribble synths, dreamy vocals, and even disco beats!
This album owes more allegiance to Jesu than to Khanate or other doom-ridden ilk. Their music is more subtle, more nuanced, not content to hide behind the Iron Curtain of bass dronage. Nadja employ the velvet caress as well as the hammer blow. But rest assured, ladies and gentlemen, this album kicks! It also whispers, sighs, punches, and crawls across the floor. What it does not do, is lie down and let itself be easily categorized and forgotten.
Belles Betes conjures a beating human heart in the midst of the miasma, a face carved out of stone. On ‘Skin Like Sand’, gauzy vocals soar over the menacing quagmire, effecting and engaging, and one of the loveliest moments i have yet heard from this band. ‘Beautiful Beast’ kicks it up a notch, speeding up their normal slow crawl, before totally maiming with the guitar fix. Things settle into a steadier groove as ‘Machina’ blasts off, and they spiral us off into orbit for the remainder of the album. Over the course of 6 songs, Nadja jab, feint, sprawl, taunt, punch, and goad. They have an ear for detail and arrangement, that gives them a significant leg up over their black-clad brethren.
Nadja are a band that are trying new things, experimenting, rushing towards the future at a glacial pace. They have a signature sound, that is constantly growing and maturing with every release, which make them a band to keep an ear open for.
– originally posted on Head Heritage
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