Nadja
Radiance of Shadows


4.0
excellent

Review

by Cam EMERITUS
November 7th, 2008 | 79 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An experience that you should probably consider submitting your mind to almost immediately.

You can’t just really “listen” to a Nadja record in the same way you “listen” to a pop punk record, a hip-hop record, a power metal record, and so on. There’s some great stuff from each of those genres, but you listen to those kinds of records, those records with more structure and melody, differently than you would of anything by Nadja. You, as lame as it sounds, have to experience a band like Nadja. You have to lie down on your bed, tell your Mom not to bother you for a few hours, and drift off with the monolithic and beautiful compositions this band can so effortlessly create. Nadja aren’t some pussy band you experience easily. You have to work for it.

Nadja is made up of workaholic Aidan Baker, who creates spectacular drone/ambient albums under his own name and is even known to publish a book of poetry from now and then, and Leah Buckareff, whose body of work is certainly less imposing than Baker’s. Known for creating formidable drone epics that are almost always creative and stunning, Radiance of Shadows may be the band’s most inaccessible album in a very inaccessible discography. However, it is also the duo’s best.

Radiance of Shadows isn’t unlike anything else Nadja has done throughout their five or so years of making music. In fact, all the hallmarks of the band’s sound can be found here: there’s all-encompassing and sometimes even brutal drones made up of layers upon layers of guitar feedback, and they are often placed in front of rhythmic synthesizer lines and simple yet powerful drumming. Build-ups are also found aplenty throughout Radiance’s three suites, each of which are longer than twenty-three minutes in an album that’s length is in the vicinity of most movies. Also adding to this record’s inaccessibility is the little restraint the duo places on their wide-ranging epics. The first suite here, titled “Now I Am Death the Destroyer of Worlds”, expands slowly from throbbing electronics and random blasts of feedback to whole minutes of screeching noise, intricately layered and very complex “noise” to be accurate, and demanding repeated listens. Of course, the madness dies back down, condensing into more restrained heartbeats of guitar that resonate after every stroke, all before building upon itself again. This enormous effect is breathtaking, and you’ll sit in awe, feeling as if you’ve been repeatedly punched in the stomach by Jacob Bannon, but in the best and most sickly pleasurable way possible.

However, if all three of these compositions had the same effect as “Now I Am Death”, Radiance of Shadows might have been too much to handle. Thankfully, there are many moments of chiming beauty here, though moments of unrestrained and unbridled heaviness are still the basic focus. Chief among these beautiful moments is found in “I Have Tasted the Fire inside Your Mouth”, where Baker croons the title softly again and again, sounding fragile against the ready-to-collapse music and producing an effect that is as beautiful as it is mournful. Unsurprisingly, the track moves slowly and pulsates with guitar feedback, but gives off a less evil feel and puts you in a calming trance, acting perfectly as the calm after the storm. This only lasts for the first ten minutes, however, as the track builds back up into the heaviest portion of the album, with Baker’s vocals sounding suspiciously like the devil’s, if the devil liked to scream over ear-splitting electro-drone noise. The loud-soft dynamics explored here easily shows off Nadja’s ability to simultaneously move and scare you, and overall, the track may be the simplest way to show off the band’s talents in general. If you can’t enjoy the second movement of Radiance of Shadows, then you probably aren’t going to enjoy Nadja.

The final self-titled track of an album that is made to just zap your mental energy away is easily the most exhausting of the three. Alternating from a Krautrock-ish beat to an obviously black metal-influenced burst of demonic vocals and speaker-busting feedback, “Radiance of Shadows” may be enough to have you yelling “enough already!” But with Nadja, there is never enough, and while this 80-minute long album may sound like torture to most sane people, there’s plenty of enjoyment to be found in the band’s mix of drone, doom, electro, and black metal. As I said in the beginning, this is truly an experience, and one that you should probably consider submitting your mind to almost immediately.



Recent reviews by this author
Beach Fossils Clash the TruthBuke and Gase General Dome
Beach House BloomSun Kil Moon Among the Leaves
ASAP Rocky Live.Love.A$AP.Red Hot Chili Peppers I'm With You
user ratings (98)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
joshuatree
Emeritus
November 7th 2008


3742 Comments


album rules

robin
Emeritus
November 7th 2008


4261 Comments


well you're just not nice for bumping my review off the top straight away. but yeah i might just "listen" to this

joshuatree
Emeritus
November 7th 2008


3742 Comments


no you have to experience it

Anodyne
November 7th 2008


85 Comments


this albums ok sort of has some weird stuff going on that doesnt work tbh imo

pixiesfanyo
November 7th 2008


1223 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

jacob bannon comment is stupid.

album is amazing

joshuatree
Emeritus
November 7th 2008


3742 Comments


it didnt mean anything, it just was to say this feels like a tough guy punching you

duckies
November 7th 2008


143 Comments


I really need to check out one of Nadja's records. I've been meaning to do it for ages.

"If all three of these compositions has the same effect as “Now I Am Death”, however, Radiance of Shadows might have been to handle."
Is there a word missing or am I reading it wrong?

TeamExcelcior
November 7th 2008


246 Comments


I've heard of these guys being compared to Electro Quarterstaff. I listened to them and was like, huh? Ha ha. I just can't really get into this drony sound, but maybe I'll check these guys out again. Good review, man.

handoman
November 7th 2008


2386 Comments


I have a lot of alone time on my hands right now, so I'll check this out. And good review. pos'd.

joshuatree
Emeritus
November 8th 2008


3742 Comments


yes, im missing a word, thanks duckies.

Zebra
Moderator
November 8th 2008


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i would have to agree that nadja is not some pussy band.

Doppelganger
November 8th 2008


3124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album rules, been digging baker's solo stuff more though

joshuatree
Emeritus
November 8th 2008


3742 Comments


baker has some good solo albums but nadja are more consistently awesome imo

yas666eer
November 10th 2008


271 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

didnt like it.. prob not my cup of tea

joshuatree
Emeritus
January 10th 2009


3742 Comments


up'd this to a 5, it's just too damn good.

gaslightanthem
March 6th 2009


5209 Comments


as great as this is i don't think it's their best album

Essence
March 31st 2009


3595 Comments


it's like a wall of melt
in my ears

Lions
October 22nd 2009


1015 Comments


Alright, I just remembered where I've heard the name Nadja before. If any of you have every read Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, she was some queen of an ancient civilization that Dream fell in love with and then sent her to hell for not wanting to become immortal. I'm so glad I remembered that.

Wizard
November 22nd 2009


19641 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review Cam. Digging this atm. Needed to step back from the death metal for a while hahahaha.

Digging: Ash Borer - Cold of Ages

joshuatree
Emeritus
November 23rd 2009


3742 Comments


yeah this seems like something you'd like, thanks

haven't listened to this recently but their new album, under the jaguar sun, is completely amazing, so anyone who liked this should get that immediately



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy