Monday, July 31, 2017

Chelsea Wolfe : "Hiss Spun"

If "Abyss" wasn't heavy enough for you then that is remedied when the opener to her new album "Hiss Spun" kicks in. The guitar is more overtly metal where, on her last album the fuzzed out bass delivered most of the pounding. Her voice is mixed against the guitar a little more.Tempo wise it is very much in a doom/sludge direction. The thicker guitar tone and more rock oriented hangs around for "16 Psyche" which finds the guitars kicking the door down when it builds. This allows room for her to sing when it comes back around to the verses. The beat to "Vex" is pretty awesome as she coos over it in a more ghostly manner. Production wise her vocals are not as up front as the last album and have returned to they shadowy re-verb sounds of her earlier work. Even this song has a lot of drive to it.Growled vocals come into the background towards the end of the song.

"Strain" is an atmospheric interlude that sounds like it should be playing on an episode of Twin Peaks. "the Culling" is more fragile in the creep of it's breathy melody. The bass becomes over driven to build the tension. The release comes with a metallic sounding that succeeds at being just as heavy sonically as it is heavy as in metal, though maybe leaning more toward the sonic side. While four songs in it seems she can do no wrong, this return to her old sound vocally is just what my ex-wife would not like, so it's ironically fitting that with her out of the way things have returned to normal. The bass line drives " Particle Flux" which for the first two minutes has minimal percussion. This is remedied and it kicks in like a rock song. This is the first song where it feels like it is going to need to grow on me. "Twin Fawn" almost breaks your fucking neck when it jerks you out of a haunting lullaby into it's aggressive accents.

There is an almost industrial beat to "Offering". It's militant against dreamy Cure like guitar. So her goth fan base has something to sink their fangs into on this one. Though over all this is dark , but in a different way from her other albums. This might be my favorite song on the album so far though it doesn't have any of the heavy metal balls the other songs possess. "Static Hum" starts off dark and ominous with a floor tom tribal beat. Her voice comes more forward in the mix on the verse. The drone of this song  found me spacing out on it as I worked on writing other than this review, so I had to go back and listen to it again. One the second listen I heard other bits of ambiance in the corners of the song. It does kick into a more pounding dynamic which is the formula for this album. It works so I am not complaining. "Welt" is also more like an interlude with it's rainy piano refrain and chanted vocal.

She returns to the kind of spacey folk she built her career on at first with "Two Spirit". She has become a much better guitar player over the years and this songs has a more intricate chord progression than when she did this sort of thing in the past. The song does build , but it's the darker mood that is the heaviness. Her lyrics stand out here, which aside from "Offering" is the first song where I have been able to make note of them. "Scrape" is darker and noisy, it creates an almost suffocating mood. She sings in her upper register to provide more of a contrast. This album gets a 10. This means it's going to grow on me rather than click with me, though I slept in an hour and a half more than intended today, so I can't tell if it's Chelsea who is detached or me. But fans have nothing to fear as this is even less of a commercial attempt than "Abyss" and finds her adding the heavy she explored on the last album and going a step further with it while returning to her older sound.

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