'Bliss Torn From Emptiness' is a pretty apt album title for Nadja, the ambient metal band who drone endlessly but somehow also tear shit up. Aidan Baker's and Leah Buckareff's 2008 effort is finally being released on vinyl after years in the waiting, showing off soundscapes of unrelenting feedback and drum warfare that recalls Earth.
8/10 Robin Staff review, 06 November 2014
‘Bliss Torn From Emptiness’ is tough as nails, the result of Aidan Baker and Leah Bucakreff’s harshest and noisiest composing. Compared with recent Baker output -- such as ‘Already Drowning’ which steadied calmer courses through more overt and plaintive guitar work -- this is a reminder of the brute force Nadja often had, with white noise enveloping the listener from all corners, interrupted only by an onslaught of screeching feedback and pummelling drums fighting for their place in this hell. Even the melodies -- such as the one, brief motif that appears for the entirety of the first side of this particular hell -- are folded into the noise, squeaking with the same distorted hatred for the outside world.
Despite being written and performed as one fifty minute work, it’s useful seeing ‘Bliss Torn From Emptiness’ divided into suites. It’s a compelling piece of noise, but it remains one of Baker’s most uneven major works, offering some of his most incredible music among some of his least interesting. The second side of the record is more compelling than the first, sustaining the the same sounds but using them more dynamically, with the squealing feedback used more prominently to give the music its surging, struggling feel. Baker and Buckakreff eventually reach a point of no return, the music shrinking into a calmed ambient state with vocals that sound like they’re coming out of a hideously slow-mo nightmare. The spliced piano notes and lack of general horrendous squall is only a brief respite, as the duo build, with an almost post-rock precision, back to their relentless blast of noise. The way they come back in -- with ten minutes of slow, laboured integration between their soft and harsh ambient approaches -- serves as a little reminder of how essential a drone act Nadja is. Their noise has grace and humility, even if it kinda sounds like a thousand police sirens that have been processed and Paulstretched. ‘Bliss Torn From Emptiness’ is a joy to behold, somehow.
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