Thursday, August 26, 2010

Nadja: Touched (2007 Re-Recording) Review

Drone doom is an almost completely forgotten subgenre within the larger world of metal, and its minimalistic, ambient (some would say "artistic" while others would say "gay") sound often relegates it to the dreaded "hipster metal" category. Not one to care whether something is hipster or not, I decided to look into it.

Nadja are sometimes referred to as the Canadian masters of drone doom. So, I picked up their debut Touched (the re-recorded 2007 version, not the 2003 version). I was a little leery about how obscenely prolific they are (over two-dozen full lengths and a dozen EPs/splits in less than a decade, not counting live and compilation albums), but I figured the beginning was a good place to start.

You could probably guess without my telling you that this is not for people with short attention spans. The track lengths are 14, 10, 18, and 13 minutes long (the last track is just 4 minutes of nothing), and "Incubation/Metamorphosis" has over 5 minutes of ambient noise before the actual music starts--this is not the only ambient interlude, either.

With the guitars barely audible, the music is barely metal (though they did make Encyclopedia Metallum, so it's possible they got more metal later on). And if you're paying attention to it, then it's extremely boring. But the sounds used are good sounds--ethereal or whispered vocals, lots of nice bass, and all the ambient swirl. So, if you want to lie back and zone out (something I can't do) or if you have it on as background to something that takes a lot of concentration, then it's pretty good.

A while ago I mentioned the Deftones were the only band I knew who could make metal sexy. I have been proven wrong. This music would work excellently as background to the congress between individuals. Perhaps that's the theory behind the album name.

The Verdict: A bit boring if you're paying attention, but quite well suited to certain tasks, I give Nadja's Touched 2.5 out of 5 stars. Some of their other vast catalog has been rated much more highly by others, so I may take a chance on another one of their records--but it's more likely I'll check out another band in the genre, one with more discretion in what they choose to release.

1 comment:

  1. I can't get into drone at all. I always hear people praise bands like Earth and Sunn O))) though. It's just not the genre for me. I like funeral doom okay, which is also incredibly slow and not for those with short attention spans, but I just don't care for drone.