Tuesday 12 September 2017

Review: Chelsea Wolfe – 'Hiss Spun'

'Hiss Spun'

There is no doubt that Chelsea Wolfe is one of the coolest artists around at the moment. Her blend of gothic rock, folk and hints of doom metal, black metal and industrial channels everything great about those genres and gives her quite a wide appeal. Ever since her 2011 breakthrough album 'Apokalypsis', Wolfe has been riding a fine wave of momentum with both cult following and critical acclaim in her wake.

2017 sees a new outing in the form of 'Hiss Spun' and album that maintains a heavier stance than 2015's diverse and exploratory 'Abyss'. While Wolfe doesn't abandon the mastery of the forms she visited on 'Abyss', the new album revels in noisy-fuzzed out guitars, doomy bass and stoner rock pacing for her most monolithic and heavy outing yet.

Wolfe's instantly identifiable voice cuts through the tracks like a razor whether the form is melodic, whispering or roaring it is always a perfect centrepiece to the fuzzy guitars and reverberating bass that otherwise dominate the track list.

Songs such as 'Spun', '16 Psyche', 'Vex', 'The Culling', 'Twin Fawn', 'Static Hum', and 'Scrape' show off the true scope of the album. Yes the presence is always rooted in heaviness, but the gothic and folk elements come shining through in the atmosphere and vocalisation projected in each track. The end result is a steadfast merging of Wolfe's core sound with a self-assured heaviness while tracks such as 'Strain' and 'Welt' see her more avant-garde machinations take the album's heavy doom slant and completely re-route them through a noise/industrial filter.

In terms of production the album perfectly balances the gothic/folk form of Wolfe's voice and more melodic inclinations with the harder guitars and rhythms, keeping things focussed and interesting throughout. The album remains dark and atmospheric, even when the fuzz and noise is at it's most dominant, keeping the overall sound accessible for those who have followed Wolfe since her earlier albums.

This is another great outing from Chelsea Wolfe. She has more than proved over the last few albums she has what it takes to be a major artist. Her experimentation with styles and genres always yields strong results and 'Hiss Spun' is no different. Dark, heavy, but hauntingly beautiful, this is the sound of an artist at the top of their game.  

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