Friday, 13 October 2017

Chelsea Wolfe "Hiss Spun" (2017)

American singer songwriter Chelsea Wolfe has had my ear for a while now. Her stunning Pain Is Beauty has been a standout record in recent memory but like all great artists, she continues moving forward and evolving with each record, which doesn't always yield success. Her feature on the title track of Russian Circle's Memorial seemed like a perfect match, something I craved to hear more of and her last release Abyss gave us that collaboration. Oddly it didn't resonate with me and this newest release, Hiss Spun, sounds exactly like what I hoped that pairing could accomplish. This time Chelsea features Troy Van Leeuwen from Queens of the Stone Age who composes monstrous Post-Metal guitars to bring weight and atmosphere to Chelsea's haunting presence.

With calms before storms we tepidly breathe, recover and anxiously await the lurking dread that's always present. One song after another has us in its grasp of haunting sorrow, and unsettling unease before unleashing the ugly, disturbed, mammoth walls of sound that drown us in its thick, dense and meaty persuasion of sludgy, wailing guitar noise. They bleed at the seems, burgeoning with gritty texture, turning eerie atmospheres to nightmares in there wake. With a swarming intensity the layers of sound flesh out dizzying moods as floods of Post-Metal guitars descend upon the listener in sudden, violent eruptions, sometimes with a little build up.

Chelsea's soft and pain felt voice finds its setting here with familiarly dark and harrowing instrumentals of baron percussion, eerie reverberated acustic instruments and piano chords of dread. Its set to new extremes with truly massive guitar distortions as most the songs find a pace to proceed to an unleashing of dense Post-Metal guitars stacked with sludging rumblings of guitar noise that occasionally have a semblance of groove but mostly thunder away a monotone driving of momentum.

 The chemistry is sublime, when it roars Chelsea's voice transforms from the weak, vulnerable, tortured soul to a fierce, empowered beacon of bitter strength. It comes in measures and always with an ear for aesthetics, her voice often discernible in a ghostly wash of reverberation. The compositions all feel linear, expanding and growing in one direction, taking us on a journey through her pain and inner darkness. A couple of tracks don't feel to dissimilar to previous work, her vocal style showing some boundaries in places as they echo old songs.

Hiss Spun is a maelstrom of noise, numbing you with its bludgeoning rumble of sludge guitars that decimate in the eye of its storm. The shadowy calms between hold us captive as the inescapable approaches. A fine record with vision, stunning execution and little to flaw, possibly her best to date? Id say it comes down to taste, I personally love the electronic variety on Pain Is Beauty but adore the overwhelming experience these forty eight minutes of smothering whisk you into.

Favorite Tracks: Spun, 16 Psyche, Vex, Offering, Static Hum
Rating: 8/10