Nadja fan, and I have been for years. Every release is cause for excitement. But I have to admit that the last few releases hadn't excited me as much as they once would have. This says nothing about their quality - 2012's Dagdrøm and 2013's Flipper were both excellent records, and I still listen to them both fairly frequently, but for whatever reason, I just wasn't moved to jump up and down about them. I did write a brief review of Flipper a short time after it came out on Oaken Palace Records, and it was a really positive review, because like I said, it's a great record, but I just didn't feel the way I did, for example, when Bliss Torn from Emptiness or Under the Jaguar Sun came out. It was probably just something about me; perhaps I'd just come to expect something more than just terrific from Nadja. I fully understand that this isn't fair, and I apologize for being such a fickle asshole.
Something, however, made me very, very excited for this new Nadja full length, titled Queller, out now on Essence Music. Maybe it's that cover art, which is some of the best ever to grace a Nadja album cover. That owl, the mix of colors, the use of light and dark shades - all of these things had me intrigued and very anxious to hear this new record. And the first time I heard Queller, I instantly remembered how it felt to be so energized and over-the-top enthusiastic about a Nadja album. (I readily and openly admit to jumping around the room the first time I played it, in front of an open window, probably prompting my neighbor to ask himself why on Earth he lets his kids play with mine.)
There is something very powerful about this record that I can't quite put my finger on. It's not the heaviest record they've done, it's probably not the catchiest record they've released, but after repeated listens for the past few weeks, I seriously think it just may be their best. I'm not trying to be hyperbolic at all, but from the second I heard those opening notes of "Dark Circles," I knew this record was something very, very special. The songs feel more structured than on previous Nadja records, and that works out better than I would expect. The songs are certainly not as riff-heavy, and not nearly as droney as the band's earlier works, but they are remarkably well-written, and the atmosphere that carries through both sides of this record is just impossible to shake. As soon as the record is over, I have to turn it over and play it again because once is just not even close to being enough. And even when I force myself to walk away from it, it's still with me, carrying me through my day and night.
I don't know that this makes any sense to anyone but myself, but the only work I can use to really describe the overall feel of the record is fearless. I could elaborate on this, but I feel like it would be cheapening the experience of hearing it. So I have to recommend that you find a way to get your hands on this record. You can download it from Nadja's Bandcamp, or order the CD from the band here. Those are both great options, because you'd be supporting the band directly, but I have to say that the vinyl edition of this record sounds about a thousand times better. The aforementioned artwork and packaging are pretty exquisite, too, and while the white vinyl is sold out, the black vinyl will sound great as well, and will look real nice in the green or blue hand-screened, die cut packaging. Get it ASAP, while you still can, from Essence Music.
Also, keep your eyes open for the re-release of Radiance of Shadows as well as the forthcoming 7" called Tangled, which features Nadja's take on death metal and grind. (Preview a track here). Don't question it, just grab it when you can, because it is seriously awesome. Trust me.