Thursday, June 4, 2015

Chelsea Wolfe : "Abyss" Review & "Carrion Flowers" video

Did you really think I was going to be able to wait until August for this? A smile crosses my face when the industrial pound of the opener "Carrion Flowers" brings it's pounding beauty. This is way heavier than I had even hoped. She stays true to her ethereal vocal style which works well over the hammering beat. Though "Iron Moon" seemed surprisingly heavy when the song was first released in the context of the album she is giving you are breather. Even more experimental than "Pain is Beauty" the fuzzed out bass to "Dragged Out" rumbles over her ghostly plea that sits back into the dark background. The chorus builds into a more industrial din as the song expands and contracts. One the second verse she flexes her pipes more and sings out over the bass line that she is losing her mind and she is so tired.

 The goth folk has not been thrown out of the window. "Maw" is a more dreamy take on it. Almost a ballad, it's equally haunted as it is tender. She harmonizes with herself with angelic grace. The song eventually builds into a more plodding rock. "Gray Days" hits a groove in this pained ode to lost love that compare it to opiate withdrawal. She never ceases to astound with her keen sense of how to place each note she sings so perfectly into the sonic pictures she paints. The beat to "After the Fall" sounds like its being pump through a blown out speaker, while the rest of the song spirals around it with a spectral purity. Then the song falls somewhere in-between trip-hop and industrial for a bridge to her hushed vocal and winds around into another stab at electronica.

She delves back into more "Unknown Room" territory on "Crazy Love". What would be the chorus if she felt the need to adhere to formula is a descent phantoms wails and viola. While the hordes of singer songwriters out there will re-tread similar chord progressions and melodies , even on the more stripped down folk, Ms Wolfe never copies herself. She tries a little tenderness on "Simple Death. She sweetly sings lyrics like "We looked around / and all was dead / our rotting bodies so deeply in love".  Lyrics that only her voice is the perfect fit to sing. This album not only has some of her most abrasive work , but also her most accessible. There is an even darker stab at shadow side of folk on "Survive". Lyrically this is reluctantly Wolfe at her most hopeful. Don't think I am not listening to this thinking ..."Hmmm, which one of these songs can I work into my wedding mix", because obviously I am. "Survive" is not content with just being another grim folk song as the drums build up around it .

The vocals on "Color of Blood" are layered with the octave shifted voice in the back ground that takes me back to 2010 when I first stumbled across her scouring the inner webs of "Witch-House". Half way into the songs it's pulse accelerates into double time. While there is a more metal element to many of the songs, this is generally coming from the bass not the guitar.  The title track closes out this monster piece. A toy piano ringing out, before it's enveloped. While one of the more sedate songs on the album the lyrics are more biting when she sings lines like " it hurts to love when I remember / we were born unto chaos". She has not disappointed, in fact exceeded expectations  and the bar was raised really high. I didn't think she could beat "Pain is Beauty" , but that is what has happened. Normally I rate albums 1 to 10 with 10 being perfection, I need to pull out the rare 11 for this .


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  2. And a copy of this slips out to select devotees of your blog??

  3. haha, I would if I could, but it's water-marked and I'm working on an interview with her so I can't screw up that contact with her management