As a full on Nadja addict, Queller was immediately on my radar when I heard of its upcoming release; but as a “music critic” (that is what we do here right), Queller may just be one of the finest not quite hour of their impressive discography / existence to this point, which is an impressive feat considering how large and long that Aidan Baker and Leah Buckeroff have been at it together.
Nadja really outdid themselves with Queller and provide what is arguably their most fully realized album (Radiance Of Shadows, The Bungled And The Botched, Thaumogenesis, and Autopergamene are also in that conversation along with a few others and yes there are that many albums) as the album is easily one of their best sounding albums (production wise); but the best part of Queller is that this excellent production turns out to be a great delivery for four songs of swirling atmospheres and heaviness balanced with some completely hazy vocal arrangements (think a male version of what Hope Sandoval from Mazzy Star does) and moods. Take for instance the opening strums of “Dark Circles” and how it just slides into the meat of the song because it sounds both powerful and dreamy at the same time and places its claim as one of Nadja’s finest individual songs, so much so that I find myself listening to this track on repeat at times while just getting lost in the lovely droning with just a tad bit of melody.
All of this said, there are several familiar moments on Queller where it sounds like Baker is leaning on guitar riffs that are eerily similar if not the same that he has used on previous records, which prevents me from going out on a limb and saying that overall this album is the best record from Nadja, but let me be clear here because I will say that Queller is one of their best sounding albums and will be added to my list of records to listen to from Nadja if people ask where to start; Queller is stellar in a vacuum, but when listening or critiquing amongst their entire or large portions of their catalog, some cracks do show up when being honest. So where exactly does that leave us in this discussion? Go check out Queller if you have not heard Nadja previously or if it has been a while, because this just might be the record that sinks its teeth into you.