By: Dylan Schink
Nadja & Vampillia | website | facebook | bandcamp |
I don’t get lost in albums as much as I used to. Even albums I adore, I don’t think of myself as getting lost it. I think about the songs, listen to the different parts, consider the arrangement of the tracks. Not to say that this is the “wrong way” to listen to music, but there’s a lot to be said for experiences like the first time one hears a Godspeed You! Black Emperor album in full. I got lost in /ɪmpəˈfɛkʃ(ə)n/; hopelessly, wonderfully lost. What starts out as a stark, menacing drone doom album reveals depths of dynamics, contrast and composition that are awe inspiring. Combining Nadja’s thick, slow, overdriven guitars and somber rhythms reminiscent of Boris or Sunn O))) with Vampilla’s gorgeous strings and restrained piano that sound like they would be at home on a Mono release, the result is a chiaroscuro masterpiece.
At a decidedly average 43 minutes long, broken up into two compositions, the album feels more like an EP. Though the tempo is fairly slow, the album flies by and never never drags. Every moment is interesting and immersive. ‘Imperfect Worlds’ opens with a sound straight off of Boris’s Absolutego: crushing, filthy, slow and barely musical. Over the course of its 18 minute runtime, it slowly thaws and gives way to a shimmering chorus of strings that cut through the atmosphere and gradually take over the composition. Though the contrast between the beginning and end is massive, yet the feel is incredibly natural and I only realised how the transition happened when I forced myself to listen to the track from a more analytical standpoint, a surprisingly difficult task.
‘NeuPrimative’ is a more noticeably complex piece with much more marked transitions, starting out as a string lead piece before being completely dominated by monolithic, suffocating guitars that violin melodies slowly struggle to overcome, culminating in snaking, clean melodies over an absolutely magnificent miasma of fuzzy, low frequency noise that feels like it threatens to engulf the entire arrangement at any moment before allowing the strings and piano to take over again. The song’s tone, while always somber, transitions between sparse and airy to thick and dense several times, and each transition is remarkably satisfying.
This is probably the best drone doom album I’ve ever heard, and certainly one of the best releases of this year. All at once terrifying and full of stark, uplifting beauty, it brings together two extremely different sounds and makes them feel like they belong together.