Nadja "Dead Skin Mask" (Exclusive Premiere)

Nadja "Dead Skin Mask" (Exclusive Premiere)
As I reported yesterday, Toronto's leading purveyors of doom/ambient metal Nadja have a new covers album coming out that I'm all over at the moment. Called When I See the Sun Always Shines On TV (named after the A-ha song, which is one of the tracks), as Aidan Baker told me, he and Leah Buckareff "explore the roots of their sound and influences and try to have a bit of fun in what can be an decidedly humourless genre." They also completely transform these songs into their own rumbling, low-end monsters. As they've proven time after time, Nadja have a way of turning heavy, debilitating sounds into something sublime.

Somehow they even manage to do this with Slayer's "Dead Skin Mask," a filthy piece of evil if I ever did hear one. Kerry King's opening riff is unmistakable and Baker keeps its sinister essence while slowing it down and drawing it out, eventually raising it to a blood-curdling scrawl. And instead of mimicking Tom Araya's manic shriek, Baker keeps his vocals to an unsettling hush till the end. Buckareff, meanwhile, thunders on her bass like its caked with sludge, thickening the vibration. Best of all, they double the thing, patiently stretching it past the ten-minute mark.

It's just a sign of what's to come from the other seven tracks.

And if the above artwork piques your interest, according to the band, "in an effort to illustrate our motivations behind this album, we asked our friend Mathew Smith to create a series of children's-storybook-like drawings to go with each song."