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The best kept secret in music


"Outburn (issue #21)"

Album Review:
"The Sheltered Life"

This New Orleans based trio is led by the vision of Wesley DeVore, who’s impressive resume includes working at Nothing Studios during the recording of NIN’s The Fragile. She’s joined by Chris Babin on bass and Kyle Meades (recently replaced by Nathan Lomonaco) on drums, who together create an exotic blend of ethereal atmosphere, industrial and organic beats, and mesmerizing female vocals. Standouts on The Sheltered Life include the goth psychedelia of “Among Ghosts”, the dramatic shift from feminine to growling vocals on “Blind”, and the delicate piano and Eastern rhythms of “Release”.
- Octavia

"Offbeat Magazine (Feb 2003)"

Album Review:
“The Sheltered Life”

It's hard to say what is really new these days given the ever expanding lexicon of "post" this and "experimental" that. One thing's for certain, though: the sonic ramblings of avant-avengers Hadji are hardly old hat for that matter. It's so new that the perplexed trio petitioned their fans what to label it, which they did, christening the Hadji hallmark as "ambient industrial." And in a way, it makes sense. The subtle grooves comprise the ambient side of the equation while industrial refers to the percussive thrashing that pounds the senses silly. It's performance art, led by mystifying vocalist Wesley De Vore who noodles away on keys, strikes an occasional guitar string and programs the predominating synth sound and Middle Eastern rhythms. Bassist Chris Babin and drum-meister Kyle Meades round out this unnerving array of unsettled eeriness, foreboding mystery and everything else from this side of the netherworld.
Many of De Vore's characters project like tortured souls, carcasses contorting away as if attempting to flee from an unfriendly force. Hence, such imagery is never lost as the lyrics are abundant with darkish testaments like "Living on the verge of desecration / remnants on the roadside / blood on the borders from my empire nation" from "Without." On "Blind," she samples some demonic screaming from Brazilian metal heads Sepultura while on "Build Me Man," De Vore creates an effect that's like electronic droplets of water. The album's overall sentiment is summarized with "Release Me" where ethereal vocals plead for freedom as if gasping for life's last breath. Whether or not any of De Vore's creatures ever obtain spiritual bliss is indeterminable but you may want to leave your nightlight on, just in case.

- Dan Willging

"Collected Sounds (Dec 2002)"

Album Review:
“The Sheltered Life”

Hadji is a trio fronted by Wesley De Vore. Their industrial sound owes a little to Nine Inch Nails, so it's hardly surprising De Vore has worked with them. Vocally she's as likely to croon sweetly as she is unleash a fierce growl. "Build Me a Man" is a slowly building, lushly orchestrated ode to lost love. "Among Ghosts" has a dense, electronic sound and a vocal ferocity to rival Courtney Love. The eastern flavoured "Inside" is sensuous and driving. De Vore sounds like a woman possessed by demons. "Dry Land" is a dramatic song. De Vore sings the haunting melody beautifully. Hadji are an unusual band and their sound should win them many fans.
- Anna Maria Stjarnell


Tales From The Boneyard, e.p.
Little Girl Lost, l.p.
The Sheltered Life, l.p.
"Dry Land", single


Feeling a bit camera shy


This New Orleans based trio throws down an exotic brand of ambient industrial that ignites the tribal core of a cyber society. Hypnotic synths entwined with melodic bass lines and thundering drums lay the framework for sensual and aggressive female vocals. By uniting world percussion with discopop sensibility and a dash of Louisiana swamp metal, Hadji creates a texture that defies the boundaries of the industrial genre.

Founded in 1999 by Wesley DeVore, Hadji began as a solo studio project. At the time, Wesley was working at Nothing Studios during the final stages of Nine Inch Nails' The Fragile. She continued her work with Trent Reznor throughout the Fragility tour to follow. After two years at Nothing Studios, she left to take over as programmer and engineer in residence for the next three years at Viva Luna Studios, owned by producer and platinum songwriter Toni C (Deborah Harry, Whitney Houston). In addition to Nine Inch Nails, Wesley has worked with such artists as Satiricon, Page Hamilton, Phil Anselmo, Jon Cleary, Pink, Terence Blanchard, Clint Mansell, and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

In May 2000, Wesley recorded Hadji's debut e.p., Tales from the Boneyard in the then vacant Nothing Studios. This work became the inspiration for a full-length concept album, Little Girl Lost (July 2001). Upon completion of Little Girl Lost, Wesley set about turning Hadji into a live band. Long time veterans of the Southeast Louisiana rock scene, Chris Babin (bass) and Kyle Meades (drums) were recruited to bring Hadji's exotic rhythms to life.

Inspired by the openness of the trio format and Chris’s melodic style, Wesley began writing a new album. Abandoning rock conventions, she explored tribal rhythms and a more synth based style. Hadji's new studio sound would mimic their powerful live performances. The Sheltered Life was released June 2002 and has received attention from local and national publications.

In January 2003, Kyle left Hadji to travel New Zealand. Versatile instrumentalist, Nathan Lomonaco, joined to take over on drums. Nathan’s tight drumming style solidified the group’s sound. The trio is now hard at work on a new album. Clockwork Deity is set for release in December 2003 and promises to be their most dynamic work to date.

Hadji’s unique sound will be featured in an upcoming film by Devin Mohr. Composed and performed by Hadji, the original soundtrack will predate the film’s release and will be available September 2003. In the meantime, Hadji continues to perform regularly throughout Southeast Louisiana for ever-growing audiences. Their song "Dry Land" will be included on Kid Antrim's 2002 Industrial compilation. The Sheltered Life is an editor's pick on CDBABY.com and has been featured in Outburn Magazine’s Alcove.